Duck Production Farming
Duck farming is one of profitable poultry farming business due to the fact that duck breeds are known to be disease resistant and are able to lay a range of 160 to 180 eggs annually, which can be incubated or sold. Ducks can be kept under free range, semi-intensive and intensive system, depending on the purpose and capital availability, but they are able to perform better on a wide range of conditions compared to other poultry birds. Regardless of the type of system under which ducks can be kept, there are some basic management skills which a farmer who is in commercial duck production or small scale duck farming must aware or consider. This article will provide in detail on how to get started in duck farming as well as some management information.
Common Duck Breeds
Khaki campbell duck
This breed originated in England and is known due to its khaki colour. This breed performs better in tropical regions and has egg laying capacity of 250 to 300 per year and is known to be best duck egg producer. Each egg weighs an average of 75 grams. It's body weighs an average of 2.1 kg.
This breed is very common in different countries for its table purpose and is known to be a fast growing Duck breed and has low feed consumption compared to other breeds. It's body weighs an average of 2.4 kg in 42 days.
This breed is mainly used for meat purposes and originated from England. It weighs and average of 4.5 Kg for Drake and for Duck it weighs 4.0 Kg.
This breed weighs a range of 4.5 to 6.4 kg for both duck and Drake and is known to have originated from South America. The breed has egg incubation period of 35 days.
Ducks can be kept on a free range where they can be able to search for their feeds themselves and they can be left to sleep outsides. Much as this is the case, the Ducks are able to give better results if you provide them with a simple house which is able to provide a shelter and as well as protecting it from predators. Ducks like to drink more water so make sure clean water is available all the time. It is not recommended to keep Ducks under litter system since Duck faeces contain more water and this makes them not suitable for litter system of Duck keeping. Make sure your Duck house is slated for easy cleaning and always make sure the house used for Duck keeping, is kept clean and well ventilated all the time.
Incubation and hatching
Ducks have an incubation period of 28 days and hatching system is similar to that of chickens.
Provide supplemental feeds in the form of pellets and this can be in the category of starter, grower and finisher mash depending on the type and purpose of the breed you are keeping. The starter mash can be in a size of 0.3 to 0.5 cm and it's usually given to Ducklings. Make sure the feeds does not contain aflatoxin since Ducklings are prone to Aflatoxicosis.
Brooding (0 - 4 weeks)
Ducklings require a similar brooding system of management to that of chickens and they do not require to be provided with swimming water. Ducklings can be under brooding for 3 to 4 weeks after that they may be transferred to a separate section. Make sure you maintain a temperature range of 28 to 31 °C during the first week of brooding your Ducklings and be reducing it by 3 °C each week for 4 weeks.
Ducks require more water compared to other poultry birds as they release watery faeces. Make sure you provide a simple swimming pool as they prefer to swim as well. Make sure fresh water is available all the time for them to drink. During egg laying, make sure you reduces Duck swimming access.
Ducks likes to wander and peck, however, as other poultry birds, they are susceptible to same diseases which attack other poultry birds so make sure they are of good health all the time. Whenever you notice strange behaviors, call your local veterinary officer immediately.