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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Muscovy Duck Farming (English)

Muscovy Duck Farming

Management of Muscovy Duck is divided into 3 stages:-
Brooding Stage - 1 to 2 weeks
The brooding stage from day old to 2 weeks old is very important and requires proper care. From the time they arrive, the ducklings are counted, weighed and then immediately placed into the brooder enclosure. Vitamin-added drink is provided immediately. The temperature of the brooder in the first week is set at 340C and slowly decreased daily until 270 - 300 Celcius. Feed is given after the ducklings had their drink and are moving actively again. It is best to place trays under the water troughs to catch spillage and thus minimise wetting of the bedding. The feed troughs are placed alternating with the water troughs around the enclosure.
Screens are placed around the periphery of the enclosure to protect the ducklings from cold and to control the brooder temperature. The comfort level of the brooder temperature can be observed from the ducklings' behaviour. If it is too cold, the ducklings will be huddling together. If it is too hot, the ducklings will be spread apart, panting and keeping their wings open. Heat need to be provided in the morning and night or when it is raining. The screens are slowly rolled up after 2 weeks.
3 to 4 weeks old
The screens are fully rolled up except during heavy rains. Heaters are removed. The feed troughs are changed to longer troughs. Pelleted grower feed is gradually mixed into the feed until it fully replaced the brooder feed. The small drinkers are replaced by automatic drinkers because the ducks begin to consume more water.
Growing Stage - 5 to 13 weeks
At this stage, food and drink need to be constantly available as the ducks are beginning to grow rapidly and feed consumption is increased. In order to maintain sufficient feed, feed are introduced into feeding boxes. On hot days, the doors of the duck house are opened to allow the ducks to move out to the open space in front of the duck house. The ducks are not disturbed by the management activities and protected from climatic stress until they are ready for the market. Good management will ensure good growth of the ducks.
Pollution Control
Duck farming must be managed properly and be environmentally friendly. Duck pens' washings should be directed to an oxidation pond built by the farm. Dead ducks should not be thrown indiscriminately to avoid smell pollution and diseases. A hole of 4-6 feet deep provided with a tight cover should be used to discard dead ducks.
Recording Practice
Farms must have and maintain a good recording system. Data can assist in management analysis to improve weaknesses and carry on with successful achievements to ensure continuous profitability.

Area Selection
Selection of the perfect area is important and requires good planning for a suitable and conducive environment for duck growth and to facilitate daily management. Water for livestock and washing and electricity supply should be available. Disused mining land, dry elevated land and oil palm plantations are perfect for intensive or semi-intensive "deep litter" system management.
Under the hot and humid Malaysian climate, housing should be built to reduce climatic stress, providing shelter to the ducks during growth till the market stage.
Duck housing is built from wood with palm frond or zinc roofing. Double ridge roofing and open walls give good ventilation. Minimum heights of 14 feet at the center, 8 feet at the side and 5 feet for the periphery provides conducive surroundings, good ventilation and shelter from the rain. Housing of 300 feet length and 24 feet width may house 5,000 ducks till marketing stage. Aside from the duck pen housing, a fenced yard is required especially for hot weather. Cement flooring prevents dampness and facilitates cleaning after each duck rearing cycle.
Road access and proper drainage is required
Electricity and clean water supply for drinking and washing are required.
1.5 foot high smooth zinc connected with wooden clips/support encircling an area of radius of 8 meters to hold 1,000 ducklings
Paddy husk or wood shavings are to be used for beddings on cement floors. Beddings must be managed well. When wet, it needs to be changed or topped up to ensure that the flooring is always dry.
A liquid petroleum gas (LPG) heater is appropriate for use. This is hung in the middle of the enclosure and is set 1-2 hours before the arrival of new ducklings to prepare a warm environment for brooding.
A screen or plastic sheet is essential for brooding (1-3 week old) to protect ducklings from cold winds at night and during rainy weather.
Feeding troughs and drinkers
The shapes and sizes of feeding troughs and drinkers differ for different stages. The numbers need to be increased from time to time to ensure the ducks get sufficient feed and water. Water reservoirs of 1-2 gallons and automatic drinkers are used. Feed trays, long wooden troughs and box feeders are suitable for broiler ducks.

A good production depends on quality animal feeds. Starter crumble contains 19-22% crude protein and finisher pellet contain 16-18% crude protein. Starter crumbles are for day-old ducklings to 3 weeks of age while finisher pellets are for ducklings from 4-weeks old till marketting age.

Health and Good Husbandry
Healthy ducks ensure good returns. Good management can maintain a mortality rate of 3% in each age group.
Vaccination programme should be followed to prevent viral diseases. Daily management practices should follow the guidelines of the Veterinary Services Department.
Debeaking should be done because Muscovy ducks have pointed beaks. Under stress, especially during 2-3 weeks of age, ducks tend to peck their posterior areas and areas with new feathers.
Control diseases by controlling the movement of visitors, workers, and vehicles in the farm. Prepare foot-baths for each entry point of the farm/duck pen. Eradicate rats and prevent birds from entering the pens because they carry diseases.

The market for Muscovy duck meat is still small compared to the market for Peking Duck. Its market is still limited and is restricted to festival seasons. It is sold at the farm level, processed at abattoirs and sold in fresh markets throughout Malaysia.

Marketting System
The Peking Duck integrated farming was started by a number of companies. Duck farmers were selected by the companies with the condition that the duck farmer must bear the costs of building its own farm. The companies were responsible to provide ducklings and feed to the contract farmers and then buy back the ducks that have attained slaughter age under an pre-arranged price. It is hoped that the Muscovy duck industry is managed under similar consolidated methods.

Local Markets and Export
Local markets prefer smaller sized female ducks and male ducks in the age group of 11 weeks weighing 3.8 Kg. The Singapore market, especially in the festive season, require large male ducks in the 4.5 Kg category.

Handling Systems and Transport
Small farmers market their ducks to wholesellers or middle-men. Ducks are transported to abattoirs by lorries, in baskets similar to chicken baskets which hold 8 to 10 ducks. Processed and chilled ducks are distributed to Chinese restaurants and hotels.

Market Price
The market price in Peninsular Malaysia is between RM3.80 to RM4.20 and rises to RM6.50 at festive seasons. Processed duck prces are between RM6 to RM9 and rises to RM12 at festive seasons.

Promotion is an important element to increase sales where it will promote awareness and educates the community of the tastiness and goodness of Muscovy Duck, especially to the Malay and Indian communities. Promotions should be carried out continuously through the mass and electronic media such as educational programmes at school, product and cooking promotions throughout the country. Muscovy duck meat is best cooked by stewing and is very popular in Penang, Sarawak and Singapore. It is also suitable for Malay and Indian cuisines like rendang and curries.

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