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Animal Husbandry > Duck

Care of breeders

Breeder males and females are selected when they are around 6-8 weeks of age. For maximum fertility drakes should be older by 4-5 weeks than females. In flock mating a male female ratio of 1:6 to 1:8 is satisfactory with layer types of ducks while ratio should be narrower for meat type of ducks.

Incubation of duck eggs

The incubation period of ducks is 28 days. Eggs for hatching should be collected only from those flocks that are in lay for about 6-8 weeks. Collection of eggs should be started 10 days after introduction of male. Washing of dirty eggs improves hatchability. Dirty eggs can be washed using warm water at 27oC to which a detergent sanitizer and disinfectant are added. The dip water has to be changed frequently. Washed eggs should be dried and fumigated immediately to prevent rotting. Hatching eggs should be stored in an atmosphere having a temperature of 14oC to 16oC with a relative humidity of 80%. Eggs can be incubated in forced draft incubator with the same temperature for chicken. However, the humidity requirement is higher. This can be achieved by sprinkling lukewarm water from the second day to 23rd day of incubation. Eggs should be turned at least 4 times daily up to the 24th day of incubation. On 24th day of incubation the eggs should be transferred to hatchery.

In forced draft incubators satisfactory results are attained at a temperature of 37.5 to 37.2oC (99.5 to 99oF). The wet-bulb reading on the thermometer should be 30 to 31oC (86 to 88oF) during incubation for the first 25 days and 32.7 to 33.8oC (90 to 92oF) for the last three days of hatching. Eggs are sprinkled with lukewarm water having sanitizer once a day from 2nd day to 25th day and cooled for a maximum period of half an hour. Candling is done on 7th day. The eggs are turned hourly. Eggs are transferred to hatchery on 25th day.

Brooding (0-4 Weeks)

The brooding period of Khaki Campbell ducklings is 3 to 4 weeks. For meat type ducklings such as Pekin, brooding for 2 to 3 weeks is sufficient. Provide hover space of 90 to 100 sq.cms. per ducklings under the brooder. A temperature of 29 to 32oC (85 to 90oC) is maintained during the first week. It is reduced by about 3oC per week till it reaches 24oC (75oF) during the fourth week.
Ducklings may be brooded in wire floor, litter or batteries. A wire floor space of 0.046m2 per bird or solid floor space of 0.093 m2 per bird would be sufficient up to 3 weeks of age. Water in the drinkers should be 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3'') deep just sufficient to drink and not dip themselves.

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