Livestock Research for Rural Development

Volume 9 Number 1

Effect of level of local supplements for fattening
Muscovy ducks by poor farmers in remote
villages in Mekong delta of Vietnam

Nguyen Thi Kim Dong, B Ogle and T R Preston*

Department of Animal Husbandry, Faculty of Agriculture
Cantho University, Cantho, Vietnam

*University of Tropical Agriculture, Thu Duc, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

A trial was conducted with some of the poorest farmers in Phuong Binh village of Can Tho province to determine the performance of Muscovy duck raised with available local feed resources. Two hundred and sixty four Muscovy ducks at four weeks of age were allocated acording a 2*2 factorial arrangement in twelve farmer households as replications.The first factor was breed (the local Muscovy duck and F1 crosses of the local and French Muscovy duck). The second factor was supplementation level; duck scavenging supplemented (1-2 times/per week) with paddy rice, a little waste fish and the water plant Blyxa japenicey following the traditional habits of the farmers, and duck scavenging, supplemented with paddy rice and daily supplementation of waste fish and Blyxa japenicey.

After two months, it was found that growth rate of the F1 crosses was significantly higher (31.3 g/day) than that of the local Muscovy ducks (25.0 g/day)(P=0.001). The carcass weights were 1.71 vs 1.33 kg (P= 0.023); and the profit was 191,500 vs 133,000 VND/10 birds, respectively. For the irregular and daily supplementation the growth rates were 24.9 and 31.4 g/day (P= 0.0001); the carcass weights were 1.23 and 1.81 kg (P= 0.001); and the profit 137,900 and 186,500 VND.

It was concluded that by using efficiently the local feed resources for Muscovy duck production, the farmers could get a good profit.

Key words : Muscovy duck, growth rate, profit, paddy rice, waste fish, blyxa japenicey, poor farmers


Phuong Binh is a remote village in Phung Hiep district in Can Tho province. Most of the people are very poor and 74% are landless. They are employed by the better-off farmers as labourers and only very few of them have access to land for growing crops. Therefore, there are serious limitations to their participation in agricultural production. However, the ecological conditions of this village support abundant local feed resources such as rice by-products, water plants, and waste fish which could be used for family animal production.

In recent years, a national campaign on "Erasing Starvation and Alleviating Poverty" has been established to improve the living standard of poor people in the villages. On-farm studies with Muscovy ducks fed with local feed resources showed a great potential for improving income of poor farmers (Nguyen Thi Kim Dong 1996). During our work in rural areas, we found that poor people really need capital and appropriate technologies to help them take advantage of opportunities in livestock production. As a result of PRA studies in villages it was also indicated that the poor people have limits of education and knowledge, but they are ready to co-operate with researchers to find ways to improve their living standards.

Some recent studies indicated that the F1 crosses of Muscovy ducks (Imported crossed with Local) have a good performance when fed with cereal-based concentrates (Nguyen Thi Kim Dong and Phuoc 1994; Phuoc et al 1994); however, there is a lack of nformation concerning their performance under village conditions. Traditional systems of raising Muscovy ducks rely on scavenging with some supplementation but results have been disappointing because of slow growth rates due to the local habit of irregular and imbalanced use of available supplements. The purpose of the following studies was to demonstrate better ways of using the locally available supplements in order to take advantage of the higher growth potential of the Muscovy F1 crosses.

Materials and Methods
A trial was carried out in Phuong Lac hamlet of Phuong Binh village of Cantho province from March to May in 1996. Two hundred and sixty four Muscovy ducks (50% local and 50% F1 crosses of the French and the local Muscovy ducks) of 4 weeks of age were allocated in a 2*2 arrangement of breed (crosses vs local) and supplementation system (irregular vs daily). There were twelve farmer households as replications. Each household raised 22 Muscovy ducks in two groups; one of 11 F1 crosses and one of 11 local ducks. The supplements were paddy rice, waste fishes and a water plant (Blyxa japenicey) given one or two times per week (irregular) or daily (daily). The experimental period was 2 months.

The measurements taken were: live weights of ducks every week; feed consumed; carcass value (one male and one female in each treatment on each replicate) were slaughtered for evaluation when the experiment ended. An economic analysis was done at the end of the experiment. All data were analysed by the General Linear Model of Minitab (version 9.2. ).

Results and Discussion
The ducks supplemented daily with waste fish and water plants grew significantly faster than those supplemented once or twice weekly. The effect was almost certainly due to the higher protein intake as can be seen from the data in Table 1. The growth rate with daily supplementation (31 g/day) was higher than that reported in the same villages in 1995 (19 g/day) when the feeding system was scavenging with no supplementation (19 g/day) or confinement with paddy rice and fish meal (19 g/day) (Nguyen Thi Kim Dong 1996). Paddy rice consumption per unit gain (3.01) of the scavenging ducks supplemented daily was lower compared with that in an earlier trial for scavenging ducks without protein supplement (4.88) or in confinement with fresh water oysters (6.86).


Table 1: Mean values for performance traits of ducks supplemented daily or once-twice weekly


  1 or 2/week Daily  
Liveweight, g
Daily gain



Conversion, g/kg gain      
Paddy rice 2,500 3,010 0.22
Waste fish 121 36.1 0.001
Water plants 235 79.2 0.004
Carcass wt, kg 1.23 1.81 0.001
Fat weight, g 6.25 23.2 0.05
Profit (VND/10 ducks) 138,000 186,000  


Daily weight gain of the F1 crosses was significant higher than that of local Muscovy ducks (31.3 vs 25.0 g/day) presumably reflecting the superior genetic merit of the crosses and perhaps some heterosis. It was observed that the F1 crosses adapted well under village conditions. Paddy rice consumed per kg weight gain was not significantly different between the two breeds. This result was similar to the work done in the same village in 1995 (Nguyen Thi Kim Dong 1996). Conversion of waste fish and water plants into liveweight was significantly better for the crosses.

Due to the higher growth rate, the profit from the F1 crosses was higher compared with the local Muscovy ducks (19,100 vs 13,200 VND/duck) but profit was good for both breeds.

Conclusions and recommendations
It is concluded that:

It is recommended that raising of Muscovy ducks using local feed resources is a way in which landless farmers, lacking of capital, can improve their livelihood.

Nguyen Thi Kim Dong and Phuoc T H 1994 Haematological parameters of the local, the French and crosses of French and local Muscovy ducks in Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Conference of Animal husbandry and Veterinary Medicine in May, 1994. Faculty of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, University of Cantho.

Nguyen Thi Kim Dong 1996 A study of feeding Muscovy duck by locally available feed resources to improve income of poor farmers in the village. Science and Technology. Special publishing on agriculture production. Faculty of Agriculture, Cantho University, April 1996. P24-26.

Phuoc T H, Bui Xuan Men and Nguyen Thi Kim Dong 1994 A study of performance of local Muscovy ducks in Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Sciences and Techniques, University of Cantho, Mekong Delta of Vietnam. No 2, 1994. p22-p24.

Received 1 September 1996