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Ducks Lay Fewer Eggs in Rainy Season

by 5m Editor
8 November 2010, at 9:00am

MALAYSIA - Heavy rains and poor fed quality during the curent wet season are combining to cut duck egg production to little more than half the usual laying rate.

Unlike other birds in the poultry industry, ducks like water but the current rainy season is a bane rather than a boon for duck farmers because their egg-laying capacity drops as much as 40 per cent, reports New Straits Times. Instead of laying eggs, ducks use the bulk of their food to grow an additional layer of feathers to keep their body warm and dry as they frolic in the rain.

Duck farmer, Mohd Sukri Mat Zain, who has 1,000 ducks on his farm in Kampung Nerang, Jerangau, said there was nothing much he could do as it was the ducks' natural reaction to the weather.

He said his ducks only lay about 200 eggs a day during the rainy season, a significant drop compared with the usual 350 eggs on hot and sunny days.

He said: "There is no change in their feeding pattern and I still have to spend the same amount of money to feed them."

Mr Sukri said it was a common misconception among people outside the industry that the rain would spur ducks to lay more eggs.

"Yes, they like rain but all they do is frolic noisily and enjoy the puddles of rainwater."

However, he said the cycle would reverse once the rainy season stops.

Meanwhile, Terengganu Veterinary Services Department acting director, Dr Ahmad Shafri Hassan, said feed composition was also a factor that could inhibit ducks capacity to lay eggs during the rainy season.

He told New Straits Times that most small- and medium-scale farmers could not afford to feed their ducks commercial feed as the cost would outstrip the gains.

"Normally the commercial feed will form only a small part of their diet, with human food scraps and leftovers forming the bulk because of the cost factor."

He noted that as the flood situation worsened, the supply of commercial feed could also be cut off.

"This will leave the farmers with no other choice but to feed their ducks with whatever is available at a time when the birds need extra energy to grow additional insulating feathers and to frolic in the rain," he said.