As there were no available production breed ducks on island, importation from a hatchery was necessary. There are few hatcheries that carry waterfowl and fewer still will ship to Guam. Once a hatchery is found, it is crucial to communicate with them in order to obtain the documents needed to apply for an import permit. Guam Department of Agriculture also has paperwork and set requirements (ducklings must come from a healthy flock and must be vaccinated prior to entry, shipping containers must be mosquito proof, ducklings must still undergo quarantine so their living quarters must be mosquito proof during the duration of the quarantine; if quarantine parameters are not met, the importer must seek an approved quarantine facility before entry may be granted). There is a fee for an import permit as well as a processing fee for customs should the ducklings be shipped through air freight (it is the quickest mode of transportation and ensures that the ducklings do not get stuck in distribution centers and die during transit). Additional fees may come from the hatchery (health certificate, vaccines, and freight costs) and customs (if the flight arrives after 1700 and depends on the rank of the officer for off-duty work).
Once an import permit is issued, the importer must prepare for the arrival of the ducklings. It is crucial that the brooder lamps be run prior to the arrival to maintain a temperature of 90F/32C. Water must be given once the ducklings have arrived. To increase survival rates, vitamins may be added to the water. It is important to give the water in sips. For the next few days, add pebbles to the waterers so the ducklings will not drink too much or drown. Carefully monitor the ducklings for the first 3 days. It is normal to have a few losses during this time. Reduce the temperature of the brooder 5-10 degrees per week until they are no longer needed. Heat from the lamps may not be needed during the day unless it is cold. 18-20% protein feed should be given for the next 3 weeks. Once the ducklings have shed their down and are feathered out (approximately one month in age), they may be allowed outdoors and will no longer need a brooder. By this age, they should be eating feed that is 14% protein.
Data to be collected: Pest population survey, duck production yield, crop production yield.
White Layer ducks do better on Guam. Total losses until this point in the project is 8, whereas the Khaki Campbell loss to date is 13 (2 of which were dead on arrival). Some of the issues that are associated with the higher death rate is that Khaki Campbell ducks is that they are less hardy and were more likely to be growth stunted. In addition to that, the Khaki Campbell is much more flighty in nature and are startled by their caretakers even if they are on a routine schedule. Keeping up with manure output is difficult. Manure is not ready to be used immediately as it will burn crops. If raw manure is not processed in a timely manner, it will begin to smell.
Feed consumption rates
Week 1: 1 sack per 7 days
Week 2: 1 sack per 3 days
Week 3-4: 1 sack per day
Week 5-17: 1.5 sacks per day
The ducks have not reached maturity and will not be expected to begin production until February-March.
Crop yield is currently lower than the previous year as animal care takes up half the time that was devoted to crops. In addition, manure is not yet ready to be used.
Educational & Outreach Activities
After egg production begins within the year, workshops and field days will be held. Workshops will include a presentation, handouts, and a farm tour.
Ducks are voracious eaters
Ducks are not less susceptible to illness
Manure output from ducks is extremely high
In its current state of infancy, the project has proven to provide an environmental benefit of manure production which would help farmers improve the productivity of their soil, especially farmers in the northern areas of the island with limestone origin soil.
In the future, the project will contribute to future sustainability in:
- Egg production: There are no other farms producing duck eggs. Currently, duck egg products are imported from the Philippines. A local producer could be preferred over importation.
- Manure production: Manure can be sold or exchanged between farmers.
- Manure production : Manure has the potential increase farm crop productivity and improve soil quality.
- New business opportunity: As there are no other farms producing duck eggs, this project has the potential to become a new business opportunity for farmers should it prove to be profitable or become an adoptable model to increase farm productivity.
- Employment opportunities: Integrated livestock and crop farms require assistance in care and management.