- Volume 5 Issue 1
Duck is an important domestic animal, especially in Asia. Eighty five percent of ducks in the world are kept in Asia, especially in the East and South Asia regions. The ancestor of domesticated ducks was mallard (Anas platylhynchos), which are still migrating between north and southern parts in Eurasia. Ducks have been domesticated in China for at least 3000 years ago. Phylogenetic studies on ducks, employing electrophoresis of blood proteins, indicate a marked difference of genetic constitution between duck breeds in southeast Asia and those in northeast Asia. Duck embryonic ovary is much more active in secretion of sex steroid hormones especially estradiol than the embryonic testes. Estradiol secreted by the embryonic left ovary has an important role in female sexual differentiation in ducks. In the female ducks, plasma LH, estradiol and testosterone levels increase and reach peaks shortly before the first egg, while progesterone level reach a peak shortly after the first egg. In laying ducks oviposition mostly occurs in the last 3 hr of darkness and first hr of light ranging 02:00-06:00 under 14 hr light (05:00-19:00) and 10 hr darkness photoperiodic condition. Measurements of plasma hormone levels reveal that onset of darkness is a major signal for LH release from the pituitary and the subsequent release of progesterone from ovary, and for induction of ovulation in the female duck.