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Fisheries > Culture Fisheries > Integrated Fish Farming

Duck-Fish Culture

Duck-fish integration is the most common integration in China, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Russia and some parts of India. A fish-pond being a semi-closed biological system with several aquatic animals and plants, provide excellent disease-free environment for ducks. In return ducks consume juvenile frogs, tadpoles and dragonfly, thus making a safe environment for fish. Duck dropping goes directly in pond, which in turn provide essential nutrients to stimulate growth of natural food. This has two advantages, there is no loss of energy and fertilization is homogeneous. This integrated farming has been followed in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Tripura and Karnataka. Most commonly used breed for this system in India is the ‘Indian runners’.

It is highly profitable as it greatly enhances the animal protein production in terms of fish and duck per unit area. Ducks are known as living manuring machines. The duck dropping contain 25 per cent organic and 20 per cent inorganic substances with a number of elements such as carbon, phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, calcium, etc. Hence, it forms a very good source of fertiliser in fish ponds for the production of fish food organisms. Besides manuring, ducks eradicate the unwanted insects, snails and their larvae which may be the vectors of fish pathogenic organisms and water-borne disease-causing organisms infecting human beings. Further, ducks also help in releasing nutrients from the soil of ponds, particularly when they agitate the shore areas of the pond.

For duck-fish culture, ducks may be periodically allowed to range freely, or may be put in screened resting places above the water. Floating pens or sheds made of bamboo splits may also be suspended in the pond to allow uniform manuring. The ducks may be stocked in these sheds at the rate of 15 to 20/m2. It is better if the ducks are left in ponds only until they reach marketable size. Depending on the growth rate of ducks, they may be replaced once in two to three months. About 15-20 days old ducklings are generally selected. The number of ducks may be between 100 and 3,000/ha depending on the duration of fish culture and the manure requirements.


Duck-fish integrated system

For culturing fish with ducks, it is advisable to release fish fingerlings of more than 10 cm size, otherwise the ducks may feed on the fingerlings. The stocking density of fingerlings also depends on the size of pond and number of ducks released in it. As the nitrogen-rich duck manure enhances both phyto- and zooplankton production, phytoplankton-feeding silver carp and zooplankton-feeding catla and common carp are ideal for duck-fish culture. The fish rearing period is generally kept as one year and under a stocking density of 20,000/ha, a fish production of 3,000-4,000 kg/ha/year has been obtained in duck-fish culture. In addition to this, eggs and duck-meat are also obtained in good quantity on an annual basis.


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