The demand for food is gradually increasing due to an increased population. People are venturing into different types of food production businesses to fulfill this demand and to also make profits.
One of the most profitable livestock farming businesses is duck farming in Ghana. Duck farming is not very popular in Ghana because of the several myths associated with ducks. A lot of people consider ducks as dirty birds, this is why it is not consumed in many parts of Ghana.
However, recently a lot of people are now seeing an opportunity to start a duck farming business. Duck meat is an excellent and affordable source of protein and duck eggs can serve as a good protein source. Starting a duck farming business in Ghana requires a small amount of capital. If you already have a crop farm you can rear your ducks in the same place because they do not destroy flowers or vegetables. Ducks live longer compared to chickens and they can layer eggs for a longer period of time.
You can start your duck farming business with a minimum of 12 ducks. Ducks do not require large housing and expensive feeds. They are not easily affected by the avian diseases that affect other poultry birds. You can leave the ducks unsupervised because they can fend for themselves. Ducks can eat insects like termites, cockroaches and grasshoppers, they can also eat fish eggs and snails. You do not necessarily need a pond to be able to rear your ducks but if you want fertile eggs, you should consider putting a pond for your ducks.
Duck farming has a lot of advantages, some of them are:
- Duck housing facility does not have to be expensive and elaborate. Their housing facility should be cheap.
- Ducks do not require a lot of care and management. Ducks can easily adapt to any new environment.
- They lay eggs in the morning or at night which means that you can collect fresh eggs every morning. After collecting the eggs you are free to do other tasks for the rest of the day.
- Ducks can be resistant to some common avian diseases.
- You do not have to spend a lot of money on duck feed. Ducks normally eat rice, corn, cassava and other easily available food. Ducks tend to forage on algae, aquatic weeds, fungi, snails, insects, etc.
- You can use your ducks for pest control in your garden.
A duck’s body is covered with oily feathers which means that water can not easily enter their body. They also have a layer of fat under their skin and this keeps them from getting wet. If a duck spends a few hours in water their body will still be dry.
Ducks have webbed feet. This allows them to move around in water. Some ducks use the sharp nails on their feet to defend themselves.
When you start a duck farming business, you have to take good care of your ducks to ensure that they are healthy. You should vaccinate your ducks and keep good contact with a reliable vet in your area.
Duck Production in Ghana
The minimum average amount of eggs a duck can produce in a year is 100 eggs and in some cases a well fed duck can produce up to 200 eggs a year and their eggs are usually big. The weight of an adult duck depends on the sex. The average weight of most ducks ranges between 1 kg to 3 kg
The most popular duck breed in Ghana is the Muscovy duck which is excellent for meat production. The Muscovy ducks are a very old and popular duck breed. They are normally large in size. The Muscovy duck is popular for its meat and eggs. They tend to grow faster than other duck breeds. It is a good idea to purchase Muscovy ducks for your duck farming business. Muscovy ducks are not picky about where they stay. If their shelter is clean, safe and comfortable they will be fine. They do not require a lot of care and management. Muscovy duck meat and eggs are very valuable in the market, which means it is easier to sell Muscovy duck products in local markets.
Duck Business in Ghana
While preparing to venture into the duck farming business, you have to define your purpose for rearing ducks. You can decide to rear ducks for egg production due to the high demand for duck eggs today. Duck eggs can serve as a meal and as medicine.
You can decide to start a duck farming business for duckling production for sales and supply.
You can start your duck farming business with a few ducklings. Ducks lay more eggs than chickens within a short period of time which means that you will have a large number of ducks in no time. There should be more female ducks than Male ducks in your duck farm.
If you are starting a small scale duck farming business, it is very possible that you will not spend a lot of money on duck fee because they can feed on kitchen wastes, rice bran and snails.
Some popular duck breeds are:
- Khaki Campbell duck
- Ancona duck
- Swedish blue duck
- Indian runner duck
- Muscovy duck
- Saxony duck
When choosing your duck breed for your duck farm you should choose your duck from the stock on the eighth week. When choosing your duck, there are some important features that you need to look out for. Your ducks should have good eyesight, healthy feathers and the ducks’ movement should be normal, their movements should be balanced. There should be no obvious physical defects. The duck breed you choose depends on your purpose for rearing ducks. The most popular duck breed in Ghana is the Muscovy duck. These Muscovy ducks are excellent for meat production. Duck breeds like the Khaki Campbell and Indian runners are good for both meat and egg production. You need to choose your duck breed based on the breed that is in high demand in your business location.
When hatching duck eggs it is important to sprinkle water on the eggs during the hatching period at least three times a week. Well fed ducks will produce good quality eggs and in large amounts. Duck feed needs to be supplemented with maize bran, duck marsh, chopped tomatoes, etc.
Ducks play eggs for a longer time period than chickens. They usually lay eggs in the morning or at night so it is important to check the farm every morning and collect the eggs so that the adult ducks do not step on them.
When you are collecting the duck eggs, you have to check for the fertilized eggs. The fertilized eggs will be left to be hatched by the female ducks, while the unfertilized eggs will be taken for commercial purposes.
Using incubators in a large scale duck farming business is important. Incubators improve the duck egg hatching process. Duck eggs normally take 4 weeks to hatch. The weight of an average duck is 50g-60g.
Brooding is the process that improves the growth of ducklings. This is an important process. During this process, ducklings are provided with the necessary heat that is needed to regulate their body temperature. The mother duck can serve as the brooder for a small scale duck farm. In the natural brooding process, the mother duck can only brood 10 to 15 ducklings at a time.
Using an artificial brooder for a commercial duck farm allows you to brood hundreds of ducklings at a time. The brooding temperature depends on the age of the duckling. As the ducklings get older, the brooding temperature reduces. The brooding temperature also depends on the response of the ducklings.
Ducks can live in either a wet or dry area. They do not need too much extra care to survive, however, your ducks still need optimal care in order for your duck business to make profits.
For your ducks to thrive, it is advisable to keep them in a place with ponds of water. If you rear ducks on dry land, they will still be fine but they will produce unfertilized eggs that will not hatch into ducklings. Ducks require water to be able to mate.
You can rear ducks for both small scale and commercial meat or egg production. You can even start your duck farming business at home using your backyard.
The house for your ducks should be made low because ducks do not climb and there should be a small ramp at the entrance door. There should be enough ventilation for your ducks and the floor of the house should have 6 inches liter depth to allow the ducks to lay eggs. The house for your ducks should serve as a protection against wild animals. When building a housing facility for your ducks, you should make sure there is enough moisture and air flow because this is what allows them to remain healthy.
It is advisable that you make use of pallets when building the housing facility for your ducks because this allows them to have enough airflow and moisture to survive.
Ducks need fresh water for drinking and for washing themselves regularly. Ducks can go blind if they lack water to wash their eyes often.
Ducks are waterproof domesticated birds which means that they always want to be wet often.
While your ducks move around the yard, they go into gardens and find bugs from the plants to eat, while they are doing this they step on small plants that just started growing. This is why you should consider getting a garden keeper that will watch the ducks while they are in a garden.
Along with other poultry birds, ducks are sold in local markets. The demand for ducks is usually high during festive periods. Duck eggs can be sold by placing them in cartons and then supplying them to your customers.
You can also sell your duck products at international markets and you can supply your duck products to stores and restaurants.
Your duck eggs have to be stored properly. You can store them in a refrigerator. Lime water can be used to store your duck eggs.
Before selling your duck eggs, you should clean them properly but do not wash them with water. You can use a knife, soiled paper or towel to clean the duck eggs. In order to move the duck eggs from one place to another, use an egg basket or a carton.
Your duck business can be started in your backyard and you can still have a profitable duck business. The more ducks you rear the higher your profit.
Ducks are not as popular as other poultry birds but people are becoming aware of the benefits of ducks, especially their eggs. Ducks are known to have more nutrients than chickens.
The duck farming business is a profitable business which requires a lot of hard work and patience.