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A Guide to Duck Raising

By pinoyfarmer | November 1, 2007
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A male Muscovy duck

Duck Raising

Duck raising is a lucrative livestock industry in the Philippines because of its egg. Its most important product, the balut (boiled incubated duck’s egg), is sold daily throughout the archipelago for its delicious flavor and nutritive value.

Duck raising is especially recommended in baytowns like those bordering the shores of Laguna de Bay, where there are abundant supplies of fresh water snails which make good duck food.

Ducks are generally raised for eggs but when snail food gets scarce, they are sold for meat.


Native or Pateros Duck

The native or Pateros duck, commonly called itik, is the most popularly raised locally. Although smaller than imported breeds, they are good layers and non-sitters. Their eggs are large.

Its predominant colors are black and gray. Some are barred (bulek), others are brown or have white feathers mixed with black/green. Males have coarer heads and heavier bodies than females. Males emit shrill high-pitched sounds. They have curly feathers on top of their tails.

Females emit low-pitched quaking sounds. Their tail feathers lie flat or close to the bodies.

In all commercial duck hatcheries, sexing ducklings determining the sex is done at the age of 2 or 3 days.

Khaki Campbell Duck

Khaki Campbell ducks have characteristic brown color, have extremely active habits, do well in good range and show little desire for swimming.

These ducks are good layers; they lay as many as 300 or more eggs a year which are fairly large, thick-shelled and weigh 70 to 75 grams each.

Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck (Pato) is easily identified by its carunculated face or red, knobby nodules along the eyes and above the base of the bill.

Muscovy is a heavy breed. It has plump body and yellow skin. It has three varieties: the white, the colored and the blue.

Unlike other breeds, Muscovy ducks prefer to stay on land. They are good forgers, so they require less care and can subsist on what they can pick up in the field supplemented only with palay and corn.

Muscovy has low egg production but is more self-sustaining than Pateros duck. It hatches her eggs in 33 to 35 days.

The objection to this breed is its tendency to fly far away from home and get lost. It is therefore necessary to clip their flight feathers regularly. Clip only those of on wing to remove the bird’s balance in flying.

Pekin Duck

Pekin duck is a native of China belonging to the meat type of ducks. Sometimes it is mistaken for a goose because it carries its body rather upright. It is docile and well-adapted to Philippine climate.

Pekin ducks are good layers, and ducklings are ready for market at 2 or 3 months old.

Cherry valley Duck

Cherry Valley ducks originated from Singapore and grown both for meat and egg. Compared to Muscovy ducks, Cherry valley ducks are heavier and superior in size. Its average weight is 3.2 kilos.


Build your duck house in a quiet, cool place and near as possible to a stream or pond. Local materials like a bamboo, nipa and cogon are cool.

Provide each duck with at least 3 to 4 square feet of floor space. Cover the floor with rice hulls, corn cobs, peanut hulls or similar materials to keep it dry and clean and help prevent spread of pests and diseases. A house of 100 ducks measures 4×4 meters and 3 meters high or high enough to let a man stand inside.

You may provide a swimming pond 10 feet wide and 20 feed long for 50 birds. However, the pond is not necessary in duck raising as they lay just as many eggs without it.

House ducks in groups according to size or age to facilities management and to avoid quarrels common among ducks of different ages. Older ducks tend to push out younger ones from feeding troughs.

Separate duck houses from one another by bamboo fences low enough to go over them from one pen to another. Fence should extend down to the shallow edge of the water to prevent ducks from staying away too far.


Select vigorous breeding stock. Select breeders when birds are about 8 weeks old, and again at 4 to 5 months old before they are placed in breeding pens.

Eggs for hatching purposes should come ducks not less than 7 months old to insure better fertility, hatchability and livability of offspring.

Drakes (Male duck) should have the same age as ducks or even a month older. They should be raised separately from ducks. They are put together only when ready for mating.

One drake may be mated to 6 to 10 ducks. Heavier breedings, however, should have a closer ratio of males to females than light breeds.

Pateros ducks start laying when they are 4 to 6 months old. Muscovy and Pekin ducks start laying et 6 to 7 months sold.


The period of incubation for duck eggs is 28 days, except Muscovy which is 33 to 35 days. Breeds of ducks that have high degree of laying are non-stters and their eggs are hatched through artificial incubation.

The Muscovy is a natural mother. She hatches and breeds her own ducklings with none or little assistance from man. Native or Pateros duck is a non-sitter, so her eggs are incubated under the native method of incubation called balutan.

The balutan or hatchery is a simple one-room house made of bamboo, wood or hollow blocks and roofed with nipa or galvanized iron. Or some convert the first floor of their house into balutan, commonly called kamalig or barn. It is provided with only one door to avoid drafts; some have windows that are opened only during hot months. Its floor is of hard earth or concrete and covered with 3-inch layer of rice hull.

Egg containers are wooden boxes (kahon) measuring 3 x 4 x 4 feet.


Ducklings need to be brooded or warmed either by natural or artificial method until they are one month old. Most ducks are non-sitters and are not expected to brood. Hens may be made to sit on duck eggs and brood ducklings.

After removing ducklings from incubator, transfer them to hardening boxes. Place these boxes in the brooding room that is draft-free and rat-proof. Woven bamboo mats or sawali may be used as floor mat.

Heat is necessary when brooding ducklings at least during the first week. When nights become cooler, especially during the months of January and February, artificial heat may be necessary for at least 10 days. Kerosene lamps or electric bulbs may be used for brooding.

The brooder should have a temperature of 950F for the last week; 85-900 F for the second week; 70-85 0F for the third week; and 700 F for the last week.

The behavior of ducklings is a good indicator whether brooding temperature is correct. Ducklings huddle close together toward the source of heat when temperature is correct; but panting and moving away from the source of heat when temperature is too hot.

A good brooding area is at least 1 square foot per duckling during the first week. Increase the area by about 1/2 square foot every week until the fourth week.

When ducklings show signs of sickness, add 3 tablespoons of nexal for every gallon of water for 2-3 days. Skip or withdraw after 3 days. Then continue for another 3 days. Terramycin poultry formula can also be used. Follow instructions on the package carefully.

To prevent Avian Pest disease, immunize your ducks with Avian Pest vaccine which can be obtained from the bureau of Animal Industry.


Ducklings are sexed before placing in the brooder. This is done by pressing the region of the crop inward, and with two fingers, press the vent slightly outward. By this process, the male organ protrudes and is exposed to view, while in the female, this remains flat.

If you desire to fatten extra males or meat purpose, raise them separately from females. When ducklings are 6 weeks old, they can be transferred from brooder to growing house. Transfer the layers to laying house when they are 4 months old.


Feed ducklings 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 feeds 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 ducklings with grower mash with 16 % crude protein; and 4-month old ducks and above with layer mash or ration 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 5th week, given green feed such as chopped leaves of kangkong, camote, ipil-ipil and legumes at least 3 times a day or 10 grams of chopped green leaves perduck 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 Rations for different growth stages of ducks using local indigenous feedstuffs:


Starter Ration

Grower Ration


Ground yellow corn




Rice bran




Grated coconut




Ipil-ipil leaf meal




Shrimp meal








Vitamin-mineral premix













Starter ration is given when ducks are 1 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.

Formula for a practical general purpose ration:

First class rice bran (darak)55 kg (kilograms)
Ground corn or binlid20 kg
Shrimps or snails25 kg
Wood ash or ground charcoal1.5 kg
Ordinary table salt250 grams
Ground limestone or shells250 grams
Afsillin or Aurofac250 gram

Feeding Tips for layer/breeder pellets

  1. Before feeding pellets, keep waterers well-supplied with fresh clean water. A good waterer enables duck to sink its head under water.
  2. Feed pellets twice a day. Give only measured amounts that ducks can conveniently consume in 15 to 20 minutes. Discarded automobile or truck tires, cut in halves, make excellent, cheap, durable and easy-to-clean feeders. Add or deduct pellets for the next feeding time according to birds’ appetite. Don’t leave uneaten feeds in feeders, they attract flies, rats and vermin.
  3. Pelleted feeds are expensive, so always have a 2-week supply in your feed stock room. Old stock pelleted duck feed may develop molds especially when stored carelessly in wet and humid surroundings. New Ducks are very susceptible to Aflatoxin coming from moldy feeds and there is no cure of antidote for aflatoxin poisoning in ducks. When in doubt about the condition of duck pellets, do not feed it to ducks. Give the feed instead to chickens or pigs, or as feed to fishes.
  4. Give layer ducks more feed in the afternoon than in the morning. Give the evening meal two hours before sundown, even if you have an extra night feeding to give a feeling of fullness.
  5. When your layer/breeder duck flock is in the peak of egg production (80-90+%), an extra night feeding of pellets is helpful. Or give extra feed during dusk. Wild Ducks are by nature night feeders.
  6. Give chopped grasses or any green plant once a week, depending on the availability of green feeds. Cut these finely (the size of corn or palay) at noontime when drinking water is refilled.
  7. When ducks are in the process of molting (“nanlulugon”), give fresh grated coconut, chopped whole coconuts or even sapal at the rate of one average – sized nut for every 10 ducks to make their feathers grow faster and shinier and their plunge water-repellent-a condition duck needs during rainy season.
  8. Avoid frightening ducks when feeding pelleted feeds. Pellets are artificial or unnatural feed so its body needs solutide and quiet to digest it. Sudden bright lights, barking stray dogs, and strange noises frighten laying ducks easily
    and upset their digestion. Egg production goes down and will take time to cover.
  9. When palay price is reasonable, give palay liberally in the afternoon and pellets in the morning. Palay can be stored in sacks for as long as one year and this means big savings. Palay will not fatten the layers, but corn will.
  10. Place a sign “Forget Me Not” over your duckery door and attend to the wants of the birds, or your substitute caretaker.

If you provide a swimming pond for your ducks, limits their playing in the water to 1 to 2 hours a day. Too much playing in the water will tire them and make them eat more feeds.

When birds isolate themselves from the flock and refuse to eat, remove them at once and keep in separate confinement under observation for diagnostic symptoms to identify the disease. Consult a veterinarian and take the birds to the clinic before any major flare-up of the disease occurs.

Aside from vaccines, give prophylactic agents against diseases when ducks are still strong and healthy to counteract infection that may suddenly attack the flock.

Pateros ducks weigh about 2 1/2 kilograms at 6 months and lay about 250 to 280 eggs in one year.

Pekin ducks weigh about 3 1/2 to 4 kilograms at 6 months and lay about 180 to 200 eggs in one year.

Star growing your replacement ducks when your layers are in their second year of laying. Dispose of your poor layers and retain the good ones.

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 filled 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 are laid by ducks.

Cloth bags in which eggs are placed in bathes are called tikbo, made of nylon measuring 2 x 2 (4sq.feet). Each tikbo can hold 125 eggs.

Heat is needed to develop the embryos. Roast or heat palay to a temperature of 1070F or 430C in an iron vat or cauldron. Remove when you can still hold the palay in your hand when you remove it.

Eggs 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 or 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 11th 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 ducklings 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 1000F and humidity from 550F to 600F.

Do not hatch duck and hen’s eggs together in one incubator as duck eggs require a temperature of 10F but a higher rate of humidity. A pan of water kept in the bottom of the incubator helps maintain humidity level.

During incubator 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 embryos, or newly hatched chicks.

How to make salted red eggs (itlog na maalat)

Eggs with fissures are sold as sariwa or fresh duck eggs. Eggs with thin shells but have no cracks are made into salted red eggs.

Dip eggs in a mixture of salt, garden soil, and water. As a starter, put 3 canfuls of salt (using common powdered milk can) to 1/2 pail of garden soli that have been strained. Add water gradually.

Stop adding water to soil when mixture sticks to your fingers when you dip these in the salty muck. Coat eggs with soil-salt mixture and store for 18 days. On the 19th day, wash and hard-boil the eggs. Finally, dip salted eggs in a solution or red dye.

The next batch of eggs can be processed using the previous mixture, but add one can full of salt. Eggs are store in a box measuring 14 x 21 inches.

Department of Agriculure – Philippines

Topics: Livestock | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “A Guide to Duck Raising”

  1. Clinton O.Madarcos Says:
    May 2nd, 2008 at 6:30 pm


    Hello! I found this site very helpful because I am planning to put up uck raising bussiness which my dad has now.I want to know about this more.I just want to know how giant kuhol which can be found in ricefield can be good to itik,becaus I observed that the are not eating it if it’s big, is it ok to powderize the shell? Is it also okay if i cook the giant kuhol before i serve this to my ducks? I am actually looking for alternative for corn.I also thankful that I know now that it is necessary to let the duck swim to the water in just 2 hours,that’s why I am wonderin some of my duck are really thin.Can you give me more extra tips or study or guideline that can be a helpful to starting of this bussiness since the demand for eggs are arising.Thank you so much.


  2. pinoyfarmer Says:
    May 2nd, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Hello Clinton, big kuhol snails can be hard to swallow for the ducks. Anyway, when these big kuhol produces offsprings, they could serve as food for the smaller ducks.

    Why don’t you try to email:
    Recotrino P. Escobin, Jr.

    He’s a Filipino researcher from UPLB and a few years back, he won a competition with the World Bank on how to farm Rice and Ducks in a beneficial way.

    Good luck!

  3. oliver saswey Says:
    March 8th, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    sir, is there a effect of the flooring used for duck raising?

  4. Dominic P. Paclibar Says:
    July 28th, 2009 at 7:31 pm


    I would like to ask if there is an alternative raw material for shrimp meal? Can I also use fish meal instead of shrimp meal? What is the role of ipil-ipil meal in duck nutrition? Hope you can share your experience to me coz im a neophyte in raising ducks. thanks a lot and more power.

  5. homer madrid Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    thank u for this article. i have ducks but their eggs cannot be accomodated by means of natural hatching. where can i buy incubator or is there an improvised one? i am from balaoan, la union. thank u and more power.

  6. crisanty Says:
    June 25th, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    hi ganda ng site ninu pwd po bah mag reconquest ng picture ng duck hanging poultry ung kasi balak kung itayo Tnx GOD BLESS ! ! !^^

  7. richard Says:
    June 27th, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    with regards to the feeding of sapal,how many days should i feed the ducks with it?

  8. JoelT. Says:
    July 9th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Hi!thanks for this article..We have upcoming ducks raising with my friend..Is there any seminars pertaining with this bisnis?Thanks! and more power!

  9. jess mac Says:
    September 30th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I am interesting to join a duck raising seminar & animal feed making. Please help me.

  10. Jo Tesiorna Says:
    November 19th, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Hi! I’m Interested in Duck Raising Seminar…Any seminar upcoming?

  11. Rosemarie T. Mercene Says:
    December 9th, 2010 at 4:23 am

    Please tell me more rearding making balut by using the incubator? How many days in an incubator to be ready as balut? Thank you.

  12. grosby balancar Says:
    May 6th, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    please tell me how many years do ducks capable to lay eggs?

  13. chexerfeeds Says:
    May 10th, 2011 at 8:00 am

    pls see us @


    we give free seminars and duck raising manuals

  14. lito rosales Says:
    August 15th, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    any coming seminar on duck raising somewhere northern mindanao area?very much interested in preparing affordable foods for them because i want to keep them inside the pen than letting them out in the ricefields

  15. chexers Says:
    October 10th, 2011 at 8:51 am

    visit our website:


    you can download our duck manuals in our site…

    anything about layers…

  16. lizel jane Says:
    February 28th, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    All information you posted are very nice,it is interesting… i am Lizel Jane Chagulon from Cordon, Isabela taking up my Feability Study for this semester,,my feasibilty Study is all about Integrated Farming and one of the category is Duck Farming..I got some information regarding to this in your site.tnx a lot..god bless you.

  17. Edil T. Mobreros Says:
    June 20th, 2012 at 2:03 am

    I would like to inquire if it is possible to raise ducks on the seashore?