Livestock Research for Rural Development 17 (10) 2005 Guidelines to authors LRRD News

Citation of this paper

Study on rural duck production systems in selected areas of Bangladesh

J Khanum, A Chwalibog* and K S Huque**

*Department of Livestock Services Krishi Khamar Sarak, Farmgate, Dhaka-1215, Bangladesh
* Department of Animal Science and Animal Health. The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University.
Bulowsvej 13, 1870 Frederiksberg C., Copenhagen, Denmark
** Animal Production Division Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute. Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh


The present study was carried out to investigate scavenging duck production systems in two regions (Netrokona Sadar Upazila and Sundargonj Upazila) of Bangladesh. Feeding systems and availability of feed for raising ducks, production performance of scavenging ducks and profitability of raising ducks were evaluated. Information was collected from the farmers through a questionnaire.

All the farmers of Sundargonj Upazila used mixed feed compound, but in Netrokona only 14% of farmers fed mixed feed to their ducks. The rest was either paddy or wheat alone or a mixture of both. Deshi (local) ducks were mostly used in Netrokona but in Sundargonj, farmers mostly raise exotic ducks. The farmers of Sundargonj area increased the amount of feed with the increase of age of their ducks, but the farmers of Netrokona decreased the amount of feed. The mortality rate in Netrokona was 27.1% but in Sundargonj it was only 2.12%. The percentage of egg production in Sundargonj was 68.8 and in Netrokona 47.9. The differences in mortality and egg production between the two areas were significant. The total annual expenditure and annual income per duck /year were significantly higher in Sundargonj (Tk.221 and 393) than in Netrokona (Tk. 152 and 318).

Key words: Bangladesh, duck production, feeding system, profitability, scavenging


Bangladesh, a country of 14,769.55 sq. kilometers area with about 130 million people, is blessed with a variety of agricultural resources of which scavenging duck rearing is considered to have potential both for poverty alleviation and food production, especially for the rural poor women. Huque and Sultana (2002) reported that a farmer with 200 layer ducks with or without rice husk hatchery may earn an annual profit of USD 1945 or USD 922. The authors stated that the eggs and meat produced from scavenging ducks are considered to be organic products and are completely free from hormones and antibiotics. Fluctuations in feed availability from natural sources often affect production costs and vary from 72% to 87% of the total production costs (Huque and Sultana 2002). Huque et al (2001) stated that average feed supplement (g/day/bird) is reduced from 105 g in the dry period (October to December) to 34 g in the scavenging period (January to September). However, the average egg production increased from 30% in the dry period to 62% in the scavenging period. Scavenging ducks are used to forage different types of faunas such as snails, fish, earthworms and flora such as duckweed and algae. All these feeds are rich sources of protein, minerals and vitamins that help meeting different types of nutrient requirements needed by ducks and increasing their productivity. Nevertheless, the availability of natural feed resources is affected by their habitats, the waterlogged areas that vary according to seasons of the year and regions of the country. Huque and Sultana (2002) reported that natural water areas in different districts of Bangladesh vary from 151 to 12731 hectares.

Netrokona and Gaibandha are two important duck growing areas in Bangladesh. Netrokona, a northeastern district, belongs to the old Brahmaputra floodplain agro-ecological zone (AEZ-9). It has about 98 ducks per raiser and about 924 hectares of natural water area (Huque and Sultana 2002). Gaibandha, a northern district belongs to Tista Meander Floodplain agro-ecological zone (AEZ-3), has about 91 ducks per raiser and 151 hectares of natural water area (Huque and Sultana 2002).

The present study was carried out in the two areas (Sundargonj and Netrokona Sadar Upazila) with the following objectives:

Materials and methods

A survey was carried out in two different duck raising areas in Bangladesh (Sundargonj and Netrokona Sadar under Gaibandha and Netrokona districts) using a questionnaire developed mainly for collection of information on rearing practices, especially on feeds and feeding systems of ducks at farm level. The survey was designed to collect data from farmers of different land categories reported by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in1998 (Huque et al 2001). From each of five land categories (landless, marginal, small, medium and large), ten farmers were planned to be interviewed. Farmers having acres of land of <0.049, 0.05-0.09, 1.0-2.49, 2.50- 7.49 and >7.50 were characterized as landless, marginal, small, medium and large farms, respectively. After analyzing data information from marginal and small farmers, they were grouped together into one group of small and marginal farms, as the differences in land area were minimum.

As the number of ducks per farm affects farmers' income (Huque et al 2001), the farmers in the survey were further categorized according to duck herd sizes in the analyses of data. According to distribution of ducks, the total farmers (100) in the two regions were divided into four duck categories having 100-200, 201-300, 301-400, > 400 ducks per farm.

From each area 50 duck farmers were interviewed with visit to their farms individually. The village farmers of Bangladesh do not keep any written record. All the information was oral. Feed and duckweed samples were collected from the farms and analyzed for proximate components. The data collected through individual interviews were analyzed using GLM procedure of SAS (Version 8.2).

Results and discussion

Duck distribution

The distribution of duck raisers in relation to their land size in the two different regions is shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2.

Figure 1. Number of ducks per farm and the land size of the farms in Sundargonj

Both figures show a similar distribution pattern characterized by a higher number of duck farms with a smaller area of land. But the numbers of ducks per farm is increasing with the increase of land size.

Figure 2. Number of ducks per farm and the land size of the farms in Netrokona

Table 1 shows that 28, 46, 22, and 4% of the total farmers in the survey were in the landless, marginal and small, medium and large land categories, respectively. On the other hand, the number of farmers decreased with the increase of ducks per farm. From the total of 100 duck raisers, 61, 24, 6 and 9 were in 100-200, 201-300, 301-400, and >400 duck raiser categories. The average duck number per farm in 100-200 duck farm category was 133, 156 and 162 in landless, marginal and small and medium farmers, respectively. The landless farmers had in general less than 200 ducks per farm. Most of the marginal, small and medium farmers (68%) kept 100 to 536 ducks. Huque and Sultana (2002) reported a similar result on duck numbers per farm based on their survey work. They reported 180, 203, 170, 213 and 180 average ducks per farm of 101-300 duck raiser group in the landless, marginal, small, medium and large land category of farmers, respectively. The authors also showed that duck numbers increased with the increase of land size.

Table 1. Distribution of duck raisers according to land categories (acres) and their duck numbers per farm

Duck raisers category

Farm category ( Mean values and standard deviation)

Total farm


Small and marginal (0.05-2.49)



Farm no.

Average ducks/ farm

Farm No.

Average ducks/ Farm

Farm No.

Average ducks/ farm

Farm No.

Average ducks/ farm







































1220 529


Total Farm










Differences in feeding of ducks in the two regions

The differences in the types feed and composition of mixed feed or duckweed and the amount of feed supplied to ducks are shown in Table 2 and 3 and Figure 3. Table 2 shows that all the farmers of Sundargonj Upazila used mixed feed, but in Netrokona Sadar only 14% of the farmers fed mixed feed to their ducks. The rest either fed paddy or wheat alone or a mixture of the two. The period of scavenging was April to November in Sundarganj and throughout the year except mid-October to mid-November in Netrokona Sadar Upazila.

Table 2. Differences in the types of feeds used by farmers (%) and period of scavenging in different locations

Types of feed

Sundarganj, % of farmer

Netrokona Sadar, % of farmer

Mixed feed









Wheat + paddy



Scavenging period

April to November

Year round except
mid October to mid November

The qualitative differences in the mixed feed from the two regions are presented in Table 3.

Table 3. Average composition of collected concentrate mixture and duckweed from field


Concentrate mixture






Dry matter, %





Ash, %DM










CF, % DM





EE, % DM





DM= Dry Matter, CP=Crude Protein, CF=Crude Fibre, EE=Ether Extract/ Crude Fat

It shows that except for crude protein (CP), the contents of the two feeds from the two regions were similar. The farmers of both regions reported that they fed duckweed to their ducks, if found naturally, and the ducks like it. But it was scarce in both regions because its usage for fish production affects the availability for duck feeding. The composition of duckweed samples collected from the two regions was similar, also regarding CP content (29.9 in Sundargonj and 31.3 in Netrokona).

The most important differences were found in the amount of feed supplied to different age groups of ducks. The farmers of Sundarganj area increased feed supply with the increase of age. Figure 3 shows that the average amount of feed supplied to ducklings, growing and layer ducks was 63, 118 and 154 g/d per duck, respectively. But the feed amount for the same age group in Netrokona Sadar was 58, 30 and 30 g/d, respectively.

Figure 3. Feed supply by the farmers during duckling period and dry season

During the scavenging period (January to September) egg production increased even up to 100%, but it was reduced to 25% during the dry season (October to December). The peak production was achieved during April and May. Rice harvesting and availability of grains probably helped to increase egg production in these two month. Huque et al (2001) and Islam and Sarker (1994a, 1994b) also found that duck egg production increased during the crop-harvesting season. McArdle (1972) reported that the net output from poultry raising was higher in the scavenging system than confinement. In Netrokona, farmers allowed their ducks into the haor water. They drove their ducks into the haor water in the morning and collected them in the evening. Sometimes farmers built temporary houses for their ducks near the haor area. Most of the farmers didn't supply any feed during the scavenging period. However they supplied feed during the dry season.

Differences in management and economy of duck production in the two regions

Most of the duck houses in the two regions were build from bamboo, straw and corrugated iron sheet, and the floors were kaccha (mud floor). In Netrokona the raisers mostly raise Deshi (local) ducks and some of them were Xinding ducks. Hamid et al (1988) stated that the Deshi ducks were more resistant to diseases than the exotic breeds. Even then, mortality rate was very high in Netrokona Sadar. It was found that the farmers were quite reluctant regarding vaccination schedules. They used vaccine, but not at the right time. They claimed that the supply of vaccine from the government office was insufficient. In Sundargonj, farmers kept mostly exotic ducks. But the farmer's consciousness on health care, like regular vaccination, shed cleaning, supplying mixed / balanced diet helped to keep mortality at a minimum level.

Tables 4 and 5 show average annual expenditures and economic returns of rearing ducks in the two regions. The farmers with 100-200 ducks usually do not hire any labour and work by themselves. Only hired labour was considered in the calculation of expenditures (Table 4). It was found from the data that the average costs for ducklings, feed, vaccination, housing and labour was 9.87, 76.0, 3.92, 1.82 and 11.2%, respectively.

Table 4. Average annual expenditure (Tk*/year) of different categories of duck raisers and % of total

Duck raisers categories

Average annual expenditure (Tk/year)

Duckling cost

Feed cost

Vaccination and Medicine





3157 (11.6%)

22228 (81.6%)

1216 (4.46%)

633 (2.32%)




3599 (8.19%)

36707 (83.5%)

1844 (4.20%)

950 (2.16%)

833 (1.89%)



5945 (9.00%)

45166 (68.5%)

2667 (4.04%)

1183 (1.79%)

11000 (16.7%)



13532 (10.7%)

88655 (70.2%)

3800 (3.00%)

1256 (0.99%)

19000 (15.0%)


*1Euro= 64Taka

Huque et al (2001) reported similar result on labour costs. Total annual expenditure increased with the increase of herd sizes and ranged from Tk. 27234 in 100-200 herd sizes to Tk. 126242 in >400 herd sizes. The average annual income in different categories of duck raisers ranged from Tk.79121 to Tk. 382667, and gross annual income from raising 100-200, 201-300,301-400 and >400 ducks was reported to be Tk. 51887 Tk. 82811 Tk. 102497 and Tk. 256424 respectively (Table 5). Huque and Sultana (2003) reported similar results with regard to annual income. They stated that a farmer with 200 layers with or without hatchery may make an annual profit of Tk. 116722 and Tk. 55353, respectively. Table 5 also shows that the average annual sale varied from 85.2 to 86.9% from eggs and 9.23 to 10.6% from culled ducks. The annual consumption of eggs by farmers increased with the increase of flock size and is reported in terms of their price in Taka and also considered as an economic return. It varied from 2.45 to 6.30% of the total annual economic return in Taka.

Table 5. Annual economic return (Tk/ year) of the duck raisers and % of total

Duck raisers category

Average annual gross economic return (Tk/year)

Egg sale

Duck sale

Egg consumption


Gross income


67433 (85.2%)

7302 (9.23%)

4386 (6.30%)




108406 (85.5%)

11756 (9.28%)

6581 (5.19%)




143425 (85.1%)

17667 (10.5%)

7367 (4.37%)




332666 (86.9%)

40611 (10.6%)

9389 (2.45%)



The better feeding, management and health care of ducks by the farmers of Sundargonj area resulted in a lower mortality rate (2.12%) and higher egg production (68.8%) than that of the ducks of Netrokona Sadar area (27.1% mortality and 47.9% egg production). The differences in mortality and egg production between the two areas were significant (P<0.01) (Table 6). The Sundarganj farmers had a higher investment in terms of feed costs (87.1%) and total annual expenditure/duck (Tk.221) than the farmer of Netrokona (69.9% and Tk. 152, respectively). The differences between the two areas were significant (P<0.01). A higher investment gave a significantly higher annual income per duck for the farmers of Sundargonj area.

Table 6. Differences in production performance between Sundargonj and Netrokona


Sundargonj (Mean)


Netrokona (Mean)



Mortality, %






Egg production, %






Feed cost, %






Expenses/ duck/ year






Net income /duck/year








The authors appreciate the provision of funding from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).


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Received 18 December 2004; Accepted 11 September 2005; Published 1 October 2005

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