Duck Farming, Proper Feeding & Balut Making

Feed duckling with wet starter mash for 8 weeks. Native ducklings raised the native way are fed moistened boiled rice for the first 33 weeks, 4 to 5 times a day. During the first few days, give feed at night. Start giving water in drinking troughs or fountains on the 2nd day. On the fifth day, add finely chopped small shrimps to boiled rice. Increase their feed as ducklings grow older.

At the age of one month, feed ducklings with tiny fresh water snails and boiled unhulled rice or palay. Give only enough feed to be consumed as they tend to spoil when left long in the troughs.

Mash feed for ducklings is composed of corn, soybean meal, fish meal, dried whey, rice bran with oyster shell and bone meal with vitamin-mineral supplements. Feed one day to 6-week old ducklings with starter mash with 10-21% crude protein; for 6-week old to 4-month old duckling with grower mash with 16% crude protein; and 4-month old ducks and above with layer mash or ratio with 16% crude protein.

If mash feed is preferred, give only enough to be consumed quickly at one time for 10 to 15 minutes. Wet mash tends to spoil when left long in hoppers. If feed is given at intervals, ducklings learn to eat more readily and their appetites are developed to stuff themselves in between drinks, digest food quickly and be ready to eat their fill for the next feeding time.

Four to five feedings a day are sufficient for ducklings over 2 weeks old. Provide plenty of clean, fresh water as ducks drink after every mouthful of food.

Ducks are wasteful and slovenly while feeding. Provide proper adequate feeding hoppers to prevent much waste of food.

Fine gravel or grit is necessary to growing ducks to help them grind their feed. After the 5d1 week, give green feed such as chopped leaves of kangkong, camote, ipil-ipil and legumes at least 3 times a day 10 grams of chopped green leaves per duck per day.

As a feed-saving device, the pellet system of feeding has been introduced in duck nutrition. Pellets of each kind of feed are recommended for duck feeding but the size of particles must be suitable to duck’s age.

Sample Ration Table below for different growth stages of ducks using local indigenous feedstuffs:

Starter ration is given when ducks are I day to 6 weeks only. Grower ration is given when ducks are 6 weeks old. Developer or fattening ration is given when birds are above 6 weeks old.

Balut Making

Select duck eggs using the pitik system-tap eggs with the fingers to cull out eggs with cracks or thin-shelled. Eggs with cracks have hollow sound; thin-shelled eggs have brittle sound.

Only thick-shelled eggs are used for balut making because these can withstand stresses of egg placement and removal in cylindrical baskets called “toong”. These are open on both ends, 34 inches high and 21 inches in diameter; spaces around are filed with rice hull up to 4 inches from the brim. Ideally, eggs made into balut should not be older than 5 days from the time these phase are laid by ducks.

Heat is needed to develop the embryos. Roast or heat palay to a temperature of 107oF or 43oC in an iron vat or cauldron. Remove palay when you can still hold the palay in your hand when you remove it.

Egg bags are then placed in the toong; these are alternated with heated palay bags. The number of heated palay bags is one for every egg bag. However, place two heated palay bags on the bottom and two on the top level of the toong to ensure heat conservation.

For every toong containing 10 layers of eggs, you would need 13 bags of roasted palay. Each toong can hold 10 bags to tikbo. Cover with jusi sacks to conserve heat further .

Candling is the process of holding egg against the hole of a lighted box in a dark room to separate infertile eggs from fertile one. Infertile eggs are called penoy; these are also boiled like balut but fetch a lower price.

First candling is done on the 11 th day after eggs are placed in toong. Candling is again done on the 17th day to separate eggs with dead embryos (abnoy) and those that are ready to be sold as balut.

Eggs with weak embryos take 18 to 20 days to be released; these are hard-boiled and sold.

Eggs intended for hatching are left in the balutan for 28 days when duckling will hatch. After 20 days, palay bags are not heated anymore since embryos can generate enough heat to keep them warm.

When using kerosene or electric incubators for hatching duck eggs, maintain a temperature of 100°F and humidity from 55°F to 60°F.

Do not hatch duck and hen’s eggs together in one incubator as duck eggs require a temperature of 100°F but a higher rate of humidity. A pan of water kept in the bottom of the incubator helps maintain humidity level.

During incubation period, turn eggs at least 3 to 4 times a day to obtain better percentage of hatchability. Clean hatching eggs with slightly moist, clean rag before storing to prevent contamination of the developing embryo, or newly hatched chicks.

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  1. By Charlie velarde


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