Small or commercial duck farming is a highly profitable business venture. It requires moderate investment in site, equipment, feeding and purchase of birds. The practice involves the raising of ducks for meat or eggs.
Provisions for ducks are relatively different from chicken farming. The housing requirements are different because ducks are not kept in layer cage system. Instead the farmer builds a shed with basic facility, large pasture, perimeter fencing.
To succeed proper pen management, feed requirements and health checks is very important.
Things to Consider
- Type of housing
- Breed of duck
- Space requirement
- Mortality ratio
- Produce demand
- Marketing the product
- Availability of Feed
- Pest, predator control
- Egg collection method
There are three basic raising systems intensive, extensive and backyard raising. Small farmers use either the extensive system or backyard system while commercial producers use intensive farming.
Duck Housing Equipment and Layout
There are two ways to raise ducks through the semi- intensive and intensive farming system. It is essential to maintain a clean hygienic environment for the birds to thrive.
Other provisions include supply of clean drinking water, good ventilation and protection from the elements. Recommended breeding floor space per duck should be at least 0.3 meters square.
Shed environment should accommodate an average of 5 birds per space and provide litter for shed floor.
Site Selection and Layout
Avoid soggy, hard or hilly locations. Ideal sites are sloppy well drained at least 3meters high, adequate head room and covered.
You shed design should accommodate different housing units for mature birds and growers. The design should be water tight, cheap, and effective with appropriate roofing.
The house for breeding stock should have slatted and littered floor area. Place waterers/feeders on slats and include in the design ways to reduce wet litter.
Then introduction of slats and litters to protect heavy breeders from accidents while providing an area for egg laying and mating.
You can device homemade feeders or use chicken equipment. Feed your ducks twice daily and provide feeding space 12 cm. Don’t forget to use flock feeders.
Don’t provide water within the nest area or the litter shed would be wet. Use nesting materials like shell grit, sawdust and shavings.
Eggs laid in a nesting environment are usually high grade and clean. Monitor the best egg layers and production output. To encourage egg laying provide floor level nest boxes for the birds.
Make sure you provide lots of clean drinking water. Although they love to swim, providing swimming facility is not essential.
You can build a block pond 1-2 meter wide, 0.25m deep. The pool area should be situated outside the shed area to keep the pen dry. Make sure the drinking vessels are also placed outside the shed.
There are things to consider in duck farming equipment and layout. Others are type of shed or housing. Two common types of housing are either intensive or semi-intensive housing.
To develop the shed you need appropriate site selection, design a layout, nesting. More are providing water, getting special feeder equipment.
- Type of Housing
- Site selection
- Nesting material
Adequate floor space encourages good egg production, growth and health of bird. Each stage of development has different provisions in floor space to reduce overcrowding, control the number of birds. Other determinants are geographical location, temperature, humidity and ventilation.
|Day old chicks -1 week chicks||0.5 sq.ft – 2.5 sq.ft|
|Laying Breeders||3 sq.ft|
|Developing Breeders||2.7 sq.ft|
Temperature for Ducks
Day old chicks because of the absence of dawn feathers are unable to successfully regulate body temperature. Therefore the farmer need to provide temperature of 85/86 Fahrenheit. Young adults require 66f while mature adults need 55 f.
|Age of Duck||Fahrenheit|
|1 – 14 days||86f – 73f|
|21 – 35 days||66f – 55f|
|42 – 49 days, layers/developing breeders||55f|
Many materials are ideal for duck coop or bedding. We have straw bedding, hay, wood shavings. Protect the birds from predators, provide good ventilation, wide coop door. Make sure the coop is ground level, nest boxes low down for nesting use tarp or floor tiles provide adequate water.