In Summary
  • Ducks can be reared in intensive, semi-intensive or free range systems. Under intensive system a floor space of 4 - 5 sq.ft./duck is essential, whereas in semi-intensive system, a floor space of 3 sq.ft./duck for the night shelter and 10 - 15 sq.ft. /duck as outside run would be adequate.
  • Similar feeds as chicken may be used (layers feeds and broiler feeds), however, ducks have a higher protein requirement during the growing period while during the laying period its requirement is lesser than chicken.
  • Hybrid strains such as the Hyline contain the Leghorn blood and can be obtained from the Kenbrid Ltd, Naivasha.

DUCKS REARING
I am interested in keeping ducks for both meat and eggs in kakamega area . Kindly advice me on accommodation, feeds, brooding, diseases and prevention and marketing. Thanks. 
Macrogena

Ducks can be reared in intensive, semi-intensive or free range systems. Under intensive system a floor space of 4 - 5 sq.ft./duck is essential, whereas in semi-intensive system, a floor space of 3 sq.ft./duck for the night shelter and 10 - 15 sq.ft. /duck as outside run would be adequate.

Under free range system, 1,000 ducks can be accommodated in 1 acre depending upon forage availability.

Water for swimming is not an essential feature however, continuous water flow channel with dimensions of about 20 inches wide by 6-8 inches deep should be constructed at one of the end of house.

This allows the birds to immerse their heads in the water to prevent scaly, crusty or in extreme cases blindness of eyes. Brooding period takes 3 to 4 weeks and requires a temperature of 29 degrees celsius to 32 degrees celsius maintained during the first week and thereafter reduced by about 3 degrees Celsius per week until it reaches 24 degrees celsius during the fourth week.

A hoover may be used to provide the supplemental heat, allow 0.10 sq.ft./duckling. Pellets or combination of dry and wet mash is used for feeding. Wet mash feeding is preferred due to difficulty is swallowing of dry mash.

Therefore, ducks should not have access to feed without water. During the brooding period (0 – 8 weeks) the birds should always have access to feed by providing 50g to 110 gradually increased throughout this period.

Afterwards, feed may be offered only twice in a day morning (8 am) and late afternoon (4-5 pm). From 9 weeks onwards feed consumption varies from 120-160g and above per bird per day, depending upon the rate of production, age and availability of greens.

Similar feeds as chicken may be used (layers feeds and broiler feeds), however, ducks have a higher protein requirement during the growing period while during the laying period its requirement is lesser than chicken.

Ducks are resistant to common poultry diseases however, vaccination should be carried out for the duck cholera at 3 – 4 weeks and duck plague at 8 – 12 weeks as these tend to largely affect them.

Sophie Miyumo, Department of Animal Science, Egerton University

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CHICKEN CAGES
I would like to know how and where I can get good quality chicken cages. I want to start chicken farming as soon as I can get this information.

I have also noted in your article that the Leghorn breed of chicken is good for egg laying over a period of a year. Is this the case? Where can I buy the chicks?  I leave in Kiambu town.  Please advise.

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