In many countries, chickens are poultry par excellence. However, duck farming is considered an activity with prospects. The advantages are obvious when the ability to live in unfavorable environmental conditions, to resist diseases and parasites, and to produce excellent meat is recognized in these birds.Intensive breeding of certain types of ducks has increased in various regions of the world. For centuries Europeans and Asians have known that duck is one of the most useful and versatile pets.
A common mistake made with ducks is to raise them as if they were chickens, when, unlike them, they prefer to remain most of the time in the open. In temperate climates, they are raised without artificial shelters. Most breeders own a corral with defense where they lock the animals at night, or continuously if space is limited.In areas where the temperature is low (less than 15 ° C) it is necessary to build or refurbish an establishment.
In modern facilities for ducks, the Bolts housing system is recommended. They are low (2 meters), elongated and semi-flat roof constructions (rural veneer, aluminum or tarred cardboard). Its interior (12 meters wide) consists of a central corridor (1.5 meters) which, from the point of view of labor, facilitates the feeding, laying of straw floors and the extraction of manure. If the soil, preferably of land, has a poor drainage, the corral should be covered with sand, straw or wood chips, with the ends at a higher level than the middle (corridor).
Through traps located on the side walls, the birds leave the parks (12 meters with a small slope). Soils are a solution to prevent the accumulation of excrement and food waste. Contrary to what is generally believed, ducks can be bred perfectly without a swimming pond. On the contrary, the existence of stagnant water gaps often leads to health problems. However, there is a need for a constant supply of clean water for drinking and washing the beak.
It is imperative to design drinkers at least ten centimeters deep, to prevent mud puddles from forming should be placed on platforms constructed with wire cloth.However, a minimum stock consists of a male and 4 females (a hatchery with industrial characteristics would have to start with no less than 700 animals). For each breeding, duck is 0.5 meters of surface, to which must be added 1.5 meters of park and feeders.An open nest is required for three females or nidales trap (35 centimeters wide and 50 centimeters long and 40 centimeters high for each bird).
A season of laying (in the wild) begins in September and extends until mid-December.In captivity, the laying begins around week 23 and the normal laying cycle is 40 weeks with a production ranging between 160 and 200 eggs, depending on the strains. The egg weighs about seventy grams and incubation lasts twenty-eight days.Since females lack maternal ability, special care should be taken to rapidly bring the newly hatched eggs to the incubators. Not all fertile eggs are suitable for incubation.
The idea is to select those of medium size and without irregularities in the shell (cracks, spots or malformations).Caring for eggs before they are placed in the appliance is as important as proper incubation procedures.Many owners of small poultry flocks neglect this aspect without realizing that it is the main cause of a bad hatch. Some lesions of the embryo may also occur in the washing of eggs.
In spite of this, it is preferable to wash them to place them dirty, because of filtering germs or bacteria in the process of incubation can mean the failure of all the production. Storage, away from direct sunlight, should be done in basements or in cool, damp rooms (refrigerators are generally very cold). The set up of the incubator (soft air) should be done between 48 and 72 hours before laying the eggs. However, when placed in it is necessary to warm the eggs for 5 or 6 hours at an ambient temperature of 21ºC.If this procedure is not performed condenses the water in the shells and it is possible that the buds will break. Many breeders tend to adjust the machine with the eggs inside.
This practice is a very serious mistake since one of the most critical periods for the development of the embryo is the first 4 or 5 days of incubation.For a higher percentage of hatching, it is essential that the eggs are incubated in the correct position, always on their sides with the larger end (air chamber) slightly raised. It is convenient to accommodate a number of eggs according to the capacity of the tray and in no way to stack or top them.The care of the humidity inside the incubator is paramount to achieve a large number of strong ducklings. The rate at which the contents of the eggs are dehydrated is regulated by the amount of moisture in the air of the incubator.
This is generally provided by the evaporation of water from the containers. The ideal is to reach a relative humidity of 55% and during hatching (last 3 days of incubation) should increase to 75%. Eggs should be turned over to exercise the embryo and reduce stress. Some will hatch if you turn them once every 24 hours, but it is advisable to rotate them 3 times a day with intervals of 8 hours, thus obtaining a high percentage of births (from 50 to 60%). But for best results, eggs should be sprayed with warm water once a day (except for the first week and the final three days of incubation). If the room temperature is 20 to 21 ° C, the egg trays have to be removed from the incubator and refreshed 5 minutes a day during the second week, 8 ‘the third and 12’ the first 4 days of the fourth week.After a period of 28 days, the ducklings are born.
These go immediately to the trough and begin to eat food in large quantity. They do not have higher climatic demands. Proper heating must be provided for three weeks, during which time the temperature of 30 ° C should drop to 24 ° C.Space requirements are 1 square meter for every 20 birds in the first two weeks. Then this figure increases.Young ducks are the equivalent of chicken broiled. Over time it has been possible to manage these birds in such a way that they achieve greater growth in the shortest time and with the least amount of food.They reach a weight of 2.2 to 2.5 kg at 7 weeks, with a feed conversion of 1 kg of meat every 3.5 or 4 kg of food. To encourage fat development, ducks should exercise limited exercise with a continuous supply of high energy.
The rapid growth of the birds is directly linked to the amount (240 g / day) and quality of the feed supplied to them. You will get good performance with a diet containing 20 to 22% protein until 2 weeks of age and 16 to 18% from the second to the seventh week.The duck has the advantage of being a little demanding animal in terms of food and space where it is raised, so its maintenance is relatively economical.On the other hand, it produces large and nutritious eggs and tasty meat. Duck liver is made foie gras, a product very quoted.So if your idea is to venture into raising ducks, go ahead, go for it and take advantage of all the benefits of eggs and duck meat.