All posts by Mkulima wa Ecochicks


Brooding of ducklings

Brooding is the process of providing ducklings with outside heat to assist them in maintaining their body temperature.

Egg class ducks like the Philippine duck, the Khaki Campbell, and the Indian Runner are non-sitters,
thus, it is necessary for the ducklings to be brooded artificially or to use a mother hen or Muscovy duck.

Two Systems of Artificial Brooding


Buying and Managing Ducks

Buy breeding stock from reliable duck raisers in your locality.

Start with day-old ducklings. But be sure to buy those birds which have the following characteristics:
– steady legs
– alert eyes
– healthy-looking down feathers
– no physical defects

Do not buy ducklings which seem to be “sleepy.” If you are buying ducklings for egg production, try to purchase from a farmer who has a good egg production from his flock.

Sexing Ducklings

  1. Separate the males from the females right after you get them from the seller. Male ducklings, unlike day-old chickens, possess a well-developed copulatory organ or penis.
  2. To determine the sex, place the ducklings on the palm of the left hand upside down, with the abdomen facing the sexer. Press the thumb of that hand on the abdominal region near the vent with the forefinger resting at the base of the tail.
  3. Now, with the right hand middle and forefinger press the tail backward while the thumb of the right hand is used to stretch the vent, thus everting the cloaca. In the male, a tiny projection of the sex organ (which looks the tip of a ballpoint pen) is exposed to view; in the females this is absent. The distinguishing mark will appear only when the technique is right.

Critical Periods

The most critical period in the life of ducklings is the first three weeks.The ducklings are very nervous during this period. A slight disturbance
would cause them to stampede and crowd in a corner thus resulting in the death of the weaker ones.
It is, therefore, important to approach them with care during this period. Unnecessary disturbance must be avoided.


Selecting the Right Breed of ducks

There are two classes of ducks which farmers can raise: egg class and meat class. In the Kenya most ducks are raised for eggs which are consumed by the family.

Meat class ducks, also known as green ducks, are raised commercially only on a limited scale, but with the introduction of the Peking duck in the Kenya the meat class ducks are becoming more popular.

The first thing you must do in duck raising is to select the right breed to raise. As on expert puts it: “Choosing an appropriate breed will play an important role in the success and failure of the duck project.”

The following questions will help you identify the needed features of birds for your flock:

  • Purpose. What is your main purpose for raising ducks? Is it for eggs,meat, feathers, or a combination of these factors?
  • Location. Where are you located? Some breeds are noisier than others, a fact which you should take into consideration when neighbors are nearby.Noisy breeds also attract predators.
  • Management. How are you going to manage the flock? Will you confine it to a small pen or allow it to roam in a large area?
  • Availability. What breeds are available in your locality? Some breeds are rare, making them more expensive and difficult to attain.


Breeds of Ducks

There are several breeds of ducks raised in the country. The Kenyan duck (Pateros), the Khaki Campbell, and the Indian Runner are excellent egglayers.

For meat production, raise either Peking or Muscovy. There is little purebred breeding stock available in the Kenya and most of the ducks a farmer will be able to purchase will be ducks that are crossed or upgraded.

The Kenyan Duck 

  • This is the most common breed of duck being raised in the country, thus its name.
  • This breed is a good layer but is a non-sitter. Its plumage is either black, brown, or gray or various color combinations.
  • The average weight of this duck is 1.5 kilograms; the drake, or male, is 1.75 kilgrams. Egg production rate, is 175 per laying year.

The Khaki Campbell Duck

  • Originally from England, this a cross between the Fawn and White Runner, the Roven, and Mallard ducks. It was introduced here in 1956 by the Bureau of Animal Industry.
    Khaki Campbell Ducks

    Khaki Campbell Ducks

  • The males have brownish-bronze lower backs, tail coverts, head, and neck; the rest of the plumage is dull brown. The bill is green and the legs and toes, dark-orange. The female has a seal-brown head and neck, the rest of the feathers and dull brown.
  • The adult duck weighs 1.80 kilograms, the drakes, 2.10 kilograms.
  • This breed is a good layer: it lays as many as 300 eggs per laying year.The eggs are fairly large, thick-shelled, and weigh about 70 to 75 grams each.

The Indian Runner Duck

This is from the East Indies, but its egg-producing capabilities were developed in Europe. It is classified into three recognized varieties: Pencilled,

  • White, and Fawn-and-White. However, these varieties have one thing in common: their feet and shanks are either orange or reddish orange.
    indian Ducks

    The Indian Runner Duck

  • Generally, the Indian Runner duck is a small, hard-feathered duck with an upright carriage and active habits.
  • Its body is elongated and somewhat cylindrical; the legs are set very far back. The adult duck weighs about 1.80 kilograms; the drake, 2.10 kilograms. Egg production rate is 225 per laying year.

The Peking Duck

  • A native of China, this duck was improved in North America and Europe. It has a white body and orange bill, legs and feet. The Peking duck has a large, round head; its body is broad, of medium length and without any indication of keel, except a little between the legs.
  • Peking ducks grow twice as fast as chickens. A bird can weigh 2.50 kilograms in seven to eight weeks. They are also hardy and resistant to most diseases.
  • The main problem with the Peking duck is its low hatchability. At one time this breed was very popular in the Philippines, but it lost much of its popularity because of low hatchability. Its egg production rate is only 200 per laying year.

The Moscovy Duck

  • This duck is sometimes mistaken for a goose. It is a grazer, eating grass and laying eggs just like a goose. This is a common duck in Central and South America and the West Indies. A native of Brazil, it is now very popular around  the world – even in Australia.
  • it requires minimal care and feed and can fend for itself.

    The Muscovy Duck

  • The Muscovy duck is armed with very long and sharp talon-like claws that could open up your wrist or hand.
  • The adult duck weights about 2.30 kilograms; the drake, 4.60 kilograms. Egg production is 125 per laying year.
  • Muscovy ducks should be raised in areas where the food supply is limited and where duck technology is not well developed because the Muscovy is the hardiest of all farm poultry.


Duck farming in Kenya

Duck raising has been practiced in the Kenyan  for such a long time that nobody can say exactly when it started.Ducks are now being raised in many other areas in the country, and they are second only to chickens in popularity and economic importance.

There are several reasons why Kenyan farmers should raise ducks in their farms or backyards. Consider the following:

  • Good source of protein. Duck raising provides meat and eggs for the family. Duck eggs are nutritious and provide needed protein for the family.Duck meat can be cooked in even more ways than chicken and is an excellent addition to the family diet. More economical. A farm family will have a daily supply of eggs, and you will be able to sell any surplus eggs for additional income.
  • More practical. Duck raising is more practical for a small backyard project than raising chickens. Ducks are productive for a longer period of time than chickens. You will need to replace your layers only once every 18 months in order to keep production high. This means saving on the cost of replacement stock. Generally, you have to replace your laying flock only twice every three years.
  • Don’t require elaborate pens. The birds do not require any elaborate housing with a multitude of windows, dropping-boards, perches, and nest boxes. Generally, you can keep in ducks in simple sheds at night and let them loose during the day. Rarely affected with diseases. Ducks are very rarely afflicted with coccidiosis, and when this disease strikes, its effects are not as bad as onchickens.
  • The ducks are also not as frequently affected by such fowl diseases as fowl pest and bacillary white diarrhea.
  • Require little labor. Ducks lay their eggs at night or early in the morning, so eggs can be collected in the morning before letting the ducks loose to range during the day.