An ongoing project on Philippine Mallard Duck, is expected to increase its average production of 201 eggs annually to 256 eggs annually.
The selection and breeding project is under the Duck Industry Strategic S&T Program (ISP) initiated by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
The National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center- Bureau of Animal Industry (NSPRDC-BAI), implements the study through project leader Dr. Rene C. Santiago.
About 427,000 families nationwide depend on the duck industry from egg production to egg processing such as balut making and salted eggs production.
PMD production cycle as practiced by local duck raisers includes egg setting, incubation and hatching of eggs for 28 days. Brooding of ducklings for another 28 days, rearing and growing for 16 weeks, and egg laying for 52 weeks.
One practice which is critical in increasing egg production is the identification of sex or “sexing” of day-old ducklings (DODs) prior to rearing. In this practice, only the female ducklings are picked from the flock while male ducklings are usually discarded maintaining only one tenth of the total flock population. In this way, the cost of production would be minimized, thus improving production efficiency.
Under the study, egg production potential of different lines was determined through purebred mating and test crossing of purebred lines of black and brown PMD. Initial data on egg production indicate that offspring from mating different purebred lines obtained a slight advantage.
It was also documented that offspring from mating different purebred lines shows distinct difference in terms of color between sexes. Initial data on breeding purebred black female PMD and purebred brown male PMD produced 90% ducklings with distinct feather color difference between sexes. In biology, this physical attribution in breeding is termed as sexual dimorphism. In birds, this type of dimorphism is called ornamentation.
Sexual dimorphism in PMD would reduce labor cost and reduce stress to ducklings due to strenuous vent sexing activity.
Sexual dimorphism, which is not originally included in the planned output of the Duck ISP on breeding and selection, is an added output in progress that will benefit duck raisers. Further breeding analysis such as reciprocal crossing will be conducted to validate initial information.
The selection and breeding project is initially conducted in partnership with private duck raisers of Regions 3 (Pampanga and Nueva Ecija) and 4A (Batangas, Laguna, and Quezon). Roll-out technology will commence in 2016 in other regions nationwide.
The Duck ISP is one of the Council’s initiatives to improve the state of R&D in the agriculture, aquatic and natural resources sectors. This is in keeping with its commitment under DOST’s Outcome One: to provide science-based know-how and tools that will enable the agricultural sector to raise productivity to world-class standards.
Alfredo Ryenel M. Parungao , DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Service