Use of Duckweed as a Protein Supplement for Breeding Ducks

  • Men, Bui Xuan (Department of Animal Husbandry, Faculty of Agriculture, Cantho University) ;
  • Ogle, Brian (Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) ;
  • Lindberg, Jan Erik (Department of Animal Husbandry, Faculty of Agriculture, Cantho University)
  • Received : 2001.05.23
  • Accepted : 2001.12.26
  • Published : 2002.06.01


An experiment was conducted at the experimental duck farm of Cantho University to determine the effects of feeding duckweed (Lemna minor) that replaced commercial protein supplements in diets for local and Cherry Valley breeding ducks. The experiment included a total of 180 ducks, with five treatments and three replicates and six breeding ducks (one male plus five females together) per replicate, for both local and exotic Cherry Valley ducks. The five diets were fed ad libitum and were based on rice byproducts supplemented with roasted soya bean meal plus dried fishmeal at levels of 100% (SF100, control), 75 (SF75), 50 (SF50), 25 (SF25) or zero (SF0) % of the protein in the control diet, corresponding to 18, 15, 13, 10 and 8% CP in the diets for both breeds, respectively. Fresh duckweed was supplied ad libitum for all treatments. These diets were fed to local breeding ducks from 7 to 12 months of age, and to exotic breeding ducks (Cherry Valley) from 8 to 13 months of age. Total mean daily dry matter (DM) intakes were 183, 178, 176, 177 and 174 g (p<0.05) for the local ducks, and 221, 208, 215, 219 and 210 g (p<0.01) for the exotic ducks for the SF100 (control), SF75, SF50, SF25 and SF0 diets, respectively. Laying rates of the local ducks were 66.5, 65.2, 62.9, 63.1 and 62.3%, and of the Cherry Valley ducks 61.9, 58.4, 58.9, 59.1 and 53.5% (p<0.001) for the control (SF100), SF75, SF50, SF25 and SF0 treatments, respectively. Fertile egg rates were 95.6, 95.6, 97.8, 97.8 and 92.2%, and hatchabilities 89.4, 80.6, 87.2, 88.6 and 77.8% (p<0.05) for the local breed, and 97.8, 97.8, 91.1, 92.2 and 90.0% (p<0.05) and 72.8, 74.7, 75.0, 74.3 and 76.7% for the Cherry Valley ducks for diets SF100, SF75, SF50, SF25 and SF0, respectively. Corresponding feed conversion ratios (dry matter basis) were 3.83, 3.82, 3.89, 4.01 and 3.96 kg feed per kg egg mass for the local ducks and 4.52, 4.56, 4.58, 4.73 and 5.02 kg feed per kg egg mass for the Cherry Valley ducks for the SF100, SF75, SF50, SF25 and SF0 treatments, respectively. Replacement of 100% of the protein supplement by fresh duckweed in the diets of the local laying ducks decreased the feed costs by 25% compared to the control diet.


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