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Animal Husbandry > Duck

Care of growing duck

When ducklings are about 4 weeks of age they can be let out if to be reared on semi-intensive system. In semi-intensive system the stocking rate suggested is about 5000 ducks per hectare. It is preferable to rear them in smaller units of 200 ducks.

Under intensive system, growing ducks can be reared on litter or slat floor or a combination. Plenty of water should be available for drinking. The design of waterers should be such that it is sufficiently deep enough to enable the ducks to immerse their bills. A depth of about 13-15 cm will suffice for this purpose.

Under intensive system, a floor space of 4 to 5 sq.ft. per duck is essential, whereas in semi-intensive system, a floor space of 3 sq.ft. in the night shelter and 10 to 15 sq.ft. as outside run bird would be adequate. For wet mash feeding in a ‘V’ shaped feeder, allow 10 to 12.5 cm. feeding space per duck but for dry mash or pellet feeding adlib in hoppers, a feeding space of 5 to 7.5 cm. per duck would be sufficient.

High egg laying strains of ducks come into production at 16 to 18 weeks of age. About 95 to 98% of eggs are laid by 9.00 AM. One nest box of size 30x 30 x 45 cms (12 x12 x18'') to every three ducks be provided. In case of laying breeds a mating ratio of 1 drake to 6-7 ducks and in table breeds 1 drake to 4-5 ducks is allowed. Photo period of 14 to 16 hours per day is essential for optimum production. In free range, 1000 ducks are kept per 0.405 hectare (1 acre) depending upon greens.

HOUSING

Ducks do not require elaborate houses. The house should be well ventilated, dry and rat proof. The roof may be of shed type, gable or half round. It may have solid or wire floors. The wire floors are not popular with breeders. Under semi-intensive system the house should have easy access to outside run as the ducks prefer to be outdoors during the day time and even during winter or rains. Generally the proportion of night shelter to outside run is 1/4:3/4. The run should gently slope away from the houses to provide drainage. Normally a continuous water channel of size 50 cm. wide and 15-20 cms. deep is constructed at the far end, on both sides, parallel to the night shelter, in the rearing or layer house.

WATER

Though duck is a water fowl and very fond of water, water for swimming is not essential at any stage of duck farming. However, water in drinkers should be sufficiently deep to allow the immersion of their heads and not themselves. If they cannot do this, their eyes seem to get scaly and crusty and in extreme cases, blindness may follow. In addition, they also like to clean their bills periodically and wash them to clear off the feed. While in meat strains a slight increase in body weight of ducks at seven weeks of age has been noticed (weight advantage of swimming ducks to non-swimming ducks is 0.3%), but for egg laying strains, swimming is a disadvantage.

FEEDING

Ducks may be grown on dry mash, a combination of dry and wet mash or pellets. Ducks prefer wet mash due to difficulties in swallowing dry mash. The pellet feeding, though slightly costly, has distinct advantages such as saving in amount of feed, minimum wastages, saving in lobour, convenience and improvement in sanitary conditions. Ducks are good foragers. The use of range, pond or supplementary green feed, reduces the feed cost.

Ducks should never have access to feed without water. During the first eight weeks, birds should always have access to feed, but later on they may be fed twice a day i.e. first in the morning and then late afternoon. Khaki Campbell duck consumes about 12.5 Kgs. of feed upto 20 weeks of age. Afterwards the consumption varies from 120 gms and above per bird per day and depending upon the rate of production and availability of greens.

    Suggested nutrient requirements for egg and meat type duck

Characteristics

Starter duck

Grower duck

Layer duck

Broiler starter duck

Broiler finisher duck

Moisture, % (Max.)

11.00

11.00

11.00

11.00

11.00

Crude protein, % (Min.)

20.00

16.00

18.00

23.00

20.00

Crude fibre, % (Max.)

7.00

8.00

8.00

6.00

6.00

Acid insoluble ash, % (Max.)

4.00

4.00

4.00

3.00

3.00

Salt, % (Max.)

0.60

0.60

0.60

0.60

0.60

Calcium, % (Min.)

1.00

1.00

3.00

1.20

1.20

Phosphorus (Available), % (Min.)

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

Linoleic Acid, % (Min.)

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

Lysine, % (Min.)

0.90

0.60

0.65

1.20

1.00

Methionine, % (Min.)

0.30

0.25

0.30

0.50

0.35

Meth.+ cystine, %

0.60

0.50

0.55

0.90

0.70

Metabolizable energy (Kcal/kg) Min.

2600

2500

2600

2800

2900

Minerals and Vitamins

1. Manganese, mg/kg

90.00

50.00

55.00

90.00

90.00

2. Iodine, mg/kg

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

3. Iron, mg/kg

120.00

90.00

75.00

120.00

120.00

4. Zinc, mg/kg

60.00

50.00

75.00

60.00

60.00

5. Copper, mg/kg

12.00

9.00

9.00

12.00

12.00

6. Vitamin A, IU/kg

6000

6000

6000

6000

6000

7. Vitamin D3, IU/kg

600

600

1200

600

600

8. Thiamin, mg/kg

5.00

3.00

3.00

5.00

5.00

9. Riboflavin, mg/kg

6.00

5.00

5.00

6.00

6.00

10. Pantothenic acid, mg/kg

15.00

15.00

15.00

15.00

15.00

11. Nicotinic acid, mg/kg

70.00

60.00

60.00

70.00

70.00

12. Biotin, mg/kg

0.20

0.15

0.15

0.20

0.20

13. Vitamin B12, mg/kg

0.015

0.10

0.10

0.015

0.015

14. Folic acid, mg/kg

1.00

0.50

0.50

1.00

1.00

15. Choline, mg/kg

1300

900

800

1400

1000

16. Vitamin E, mg/kg

15.00

10.00

10.00

15.00

15.00

17. Vitamin K, mg/kg

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

18. Pyridoxine, mg/kg

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

(Source: Central Poultry Development Organisation, Hessarghatta )

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