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Why mallard meat is scarce

Bird flu is thought to have reduced the number of mallard shot.

There have been reports from around the game meat industry that mallard has been hard to come by this season. Last year it seemed that there was an abundance of mallard as bird flu hit the supply chain and people were unable to get hold of partridge and pheasant. 

Robert Gooch, director of The Wild Meat Company, said: “All wild ducks have been scarcer this year because of the impact of flooding, which dispersed the birds and has reduced bags generally. Other than that, mallard have been in decline for many years due to a reduction in wild bird breeding success and a massive reduction in the release of mallard following the introduction of non-toxic shot.” 

Mike Swan, senior adviser at GWCT, said: “ I think the large majority of the mallard that find their way into the game market are most likely hand-reared birds from shoots that have a duck drive or two. With avian influenza to think about, and wildfowl being known to be involved in the spread, I suspect that some shoots will have decided not to release ducks this season, just in case of spreading it to their pheasants.”