DUCKS & TURKEYS (Feeding And Houseing)


Ducks of various birds are common in West Africa, although they occur mainly in the water areas. The Muscovy duck is the most widely favoured breed since it appears to be tolerant to a very wide range of diseases. The Indian Runner and the Campbell, which has been derived from the Indian Runner, is occasionally found in West Africa. The eggs of ducks are larger than those of chickens, although they have a rather strong flavour.


Ducks require more food than chickens and they also grow to a larger size; a weight of up to 3 kg is not unusual for a mature Muscovy duck. Housing is rarely provided for ducks which are kept mainly for domestic purposes and which largely forage for themselves but they can be kept under similar systems to those outlined for chickens. The return in number of eggs is less for ducks raised under the intensive system than it is for chickens and this system is rarely applied to ducks for which the semi-intensive or free range system of management is preferable.


Buildings should be constructed on well-drained soil, and consist essentially of a thatched roof supported by concrete pillars about 2.5-3 m high. The earth floor should be raised about 15 cm above the surrounding soil level and the sides should be of wire mesh. A wire frame doorway is provided in one side of the house. About 60 ducks, up to 7 weeks old, may be kept in a house measuring 3.7 x 2.5 m and this number of ducks will require a run of about 20 m2 which may be provided with a small pond if water is available.

Adult birds each require approximately 0.28 m2 of floor area. It is usual to keep the floor covered with some form of litter such as maize stems or rice straw.

    Nesting boxes, measuring 30 x 40 cm, are provided alongside one wall of the house, allowing one box for every 5 birds.

    Ducks which are maintained under free range conditions should not exceed 500 per hectare (200per 0.4 hectare).


Ducklings require feeding about 4 times per day up to the age of 2 weeks, for the next 2 weeks the number of feeds may be reduced to 3 per day and then be adjusted to the amount of foraging carried out by the birds. One day old ducklings should be fed on a mixture of coarse milled cereals softened with milk or water. Later they are fed on a moist mash made up from ingredients such as the following.

                                                    Parts by weight

Guinea corn or maize (ground)                   35

Bran                                                                   30

Fishmeal or meat meal                                  20

Groundnut oil                                                  10

Fine grit                                                              5

Adult birds may consume up to 285 g of food per day but an average amount is 170 g. For birds kept under fairly intensive conditions a suitable layers mash may be made up as follows:


Cereals (Guinea corn or maize)                   75

Animal protein (fish meal)                           10

Cake containing oil (groundnut cake)        10

Dried hay or fodder                                      4-5

Salt                                                                   0.5

Limestone                                              0.25-0.5

Birds kept under intensive systems should also be given cod-liver oil and ground oyster shell. Ducks which are kept under less intensive systems of management should be given access to or fed on green vegetables such as sweet potato vines, Centrosema or other edible legume. Birds on free range may be given an evening meal consisting mainly of carbohydrate such as rice, sorghum, maize or peelings of sweet potato and yam.

    Feeding troughs should be shallow, with flat bottoms, and sand and grit should be made available at all times. A plentiful supply of clean drinking water is also essential; this should be up to 10-15 cm deep so that the birds can dip their heads completely under the water.

Also Read:



The lighter birds of turkey are better adapted to tropical conditions than the heavier breeds and can be reared without too much difficulty if provided with dry housing, shade from the sun and adequate runs for foraging. The main problems occur in humid, wet conditions which encourage respiratory and other diseases. The drier savanna areas of West Africa are therefore more suitable for rearing turkeys than the hot humid coastal regions. Under free range conditions one male bird or stag should be allowed to run with about 12 breeding hens per 0.4 hectares.


Where a free run is not possible, turkeys may be enclosed in a run or yard in which a thatched shelter is available as a protection against rain and strong winds. The uprights of the building should be 2.5-3.0 m high, with walls built to the eaves on at least two sides to afford protection from the weather; the remaining two sides should be covered with wire mesh, with access provided through a door in one side. Each adult bird requires about 1 m2 floor space. Perches should be provided for each bird; these should be at least 10 cm in length, 5 cm in diameter and spaced 60 cm apart. They should be raised 60 cm from the floor of the house.

   Young birds, or poults, require a floor space of 0.09 m2 up to the age of 6 weeks, they will need 0.37 m2 to the age of 12 weeks and then 0.7 m2 until they are 24 weeks old. A brooder house measuring 2.5 m with a height of 1.2 m at the front, sloping to 1 m high at the back will accommodate 20 young poults until they are 10 weeks old, An enclosed run of 18 m2 should be available for a brooder of this size.



Turkeys are very sensitive to changes in diet or in feeding routine and young poults often have poor eyesight. They have to be encouraged to drink water or milk at the one day old stage and should also be offered finely ground mash mixed with milk. Some finely chopped green vegetables should also be provided.

   Very young turkeys can be fed on rations similar to those recommended for young chicks but with the protein content increased to about 23% by the addition of fish meal or groundnut cake. This ration should be fed up to the age of 12 weeks when the protein content can be gradually reduced to 15% for an adult bird. Mature birds should be given 55-115 g per day of a cereal grain, in addition to the type of layer's mash brecommended for adult chickens.

   Supplies of green vegetables, flints or grit and lime should be made available if these have not been included in the regular daily rations and clean drinking water must always be available.


Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)

#buttons=(Accept !) #days=(20)

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. Learn More
Accept !
To Top