ACTO, Animal Science, KVK Dimapur
Ducks are being reared all over the world and almost 75% of them are found in Asia. Domestication of wild ducks first started in china (as early as 4000 BC) and it posses the highest duck population in the world. India has a population of 107 million ducks with annual growth rate of 16.8% (FAO, 2002). The population of duck in Nagaland is 228 thousand (17th Livestock Census, 2003; Govt. of India). Duck eggs and meat are important source of nutrient in human diet. The per capita availability of eggs in India is only 43 per annum against the ICMR recommendation of 180 eggs per year.
Breeds of duck available
Sylhet Mete, Nageswari, Pati Hanh, Khaki Campbell, Sera Chameli, Muscovi (China Hanh) and Indian Runner
Advantages of duck rearing
• Rearing of duck is comparatively easier than chicken
• Growth rate is high: Hybrid duck attains up to 3 kg live weight in 50 days.
• Duck meat is uniformly dark and palatable
• Duck lay more eggs per bird per year than chicken (Avg. 250 eggs annually per khaki Campbell bird)
• Duck eggs are larger and heavier than chicken eggs, and have slightly higher nutrient value
• Duck feather can be use to manufacture high quality bedding materials
• Duck is generally hardy, resistant to wide variety of diseases
• Water for swimming is not essential; though they come under the category of water fowl
• They are suited to wide range of housing system
• Ducks play effective role in controlling of pest. They exterminate grasshopper, snails, slugs, potato beetles, mosquito larvae etc.
• Ducks are well suited in integrated farming system, e.g. duck-fish farming, duck-paddy farming, duck-fish-paddy farming.
Housing of ducks:
• Ducks may be reared in intensive, semi intensive, free ranging or backyard system.
• No elaborate housing is required for ducks. House with shed type roof with concrete floor
and an outside run is best suited. The house should be well ventilated and rodent proof.
• Ducklings are brooded at 29 to 30°C temperature for a period of 3-4 weeks in litter, wire floor or batteries during the first week. It is reduced by about 3°C per week till reaches up to 24° C during the fourth week.
• Under intensive system, a floor space of 4 to 5 sq. ft per adult bird is essential whereas, a floor space of 2.5 to 3 sq. ft. per adult bird should be provided as night shelter in case of semi intensive system of rearing.
• Water in a drinker (5” to 6” deep) should be provided to allow immersion of their head. Under range system, a flock of 1000 birds can be reared in one acre of land.
Feeding of ducks:
• Duck may be grown on wet mash. During first eight week, birds should be fed ad libitum and later they may be fed twice at morning and late afternoon. An adult duck consumes about 100 to 120 gm of feed per day.
• Duck feeds should be stored at cool and dry environment to avoid mould formation. Weeds and phytoplankton like Lemna, Wolfia and Azolla may be fed to the ducks. The use of range, ponds and supplemented green significantly reduces feed cost. Kitchen waste like broken rice, vegetable peelings etc. can be effectively utilized in backyard rearing system.
• It is always to be kept in mind that duck should never have access to feed without water.
• Ducks are resistant to common avian diseases. Duck plague is the most common viral disease and there is no treatment for it. However it can be prevented by administering Duck Plague Vaccine at 8 to 12 weeks of age
• Duck cholera is another common disease caused by bacteria Pasteurella multocida. Inappetance, fever, thirst, diarrhea and sudden death is observed in birds suffering with Duck cholera. Antibiotics like Enrofloxacin, Tetracycline, Sulpha quinoxaline, Erythromycin etc. can be used effectively to control the disease. Duck cholera vaccine should be administered for prevention of duck cholera outbreak.
• Botulism caused by Clostridium botulinum, is a serious disease in duckling and adult. The disease can be prevented by avoiding ducks to scavenge on decaying organic materials.
• Ducks are also highly susceptible to aflatoxicosis caused by a mould called Aspergillus flavus. High humidity, rain or improper drying of feed favours this mould growth. There is no treatment for aflatoxicosis. Birds usually recover when the source of aflatoxin is removed.
• Ducks are usually resistant to internal parasites.
Low input, high disease resistance and feed efficiency provides ample scope in this enterprise. Misconception that water is imperative for duck farming has discouraged people of North-East Region from this enterprise. However, Duck rearing in scientific way is advantageous and profitable like any other poultry farming particularly in Nagaland and as a whole in the North-Eastern part of India.