Integrated fish farming has received attention in recent years in the North East India. Among the different livestock based system, fish duck integration is one of the most popular farming practices among woman fishers.
Advantages of Fish Duck Integration
Duck dropping act as feed and fertilizer for cultured fish in the pond.
Duck collect 50% of their food naturally from the pond.
Ducks keep the water body clean and increase dissolved oxygen by doubling action.
Duck house can be constructed at the embankment or over the water surface, hence no need of extra place for it.
Left over feed of duck used as supplementary feed for fish.
Production of duck eggs, meat, fish and horticulture from the same unit area.
Selection of fish species
In this integration, fish species selection is one of the important point, where plankton feeder should be 60% and omnivorous should be 40%.
A combination of six species viz, Catla (20%), Silver carp (20%), Rohu (20%), Mrigal (15%), Grass carp (10%) and Common carp (15%) should be stocked at density of 8000 to 8500 fingerlings/ha for the targeted production level of more than 3500 kg/ha. Such integration is suitable only for rearing and stocking ponds where fishes are above 12 gm.
Selection of duck and their maintenance
Some important varieties of ducks are Nageswari, Sylhet Meat, Indian Runner, Serachameli and Khaki Campbell. Out of this varieties, Khaki Campbell crossed with local pati variety is the best in Assam condition.
It should be collected from the Government Farm and then consult with the veterinary Doctor for treatment and preventive measure of some epidemic disease like Duck Plague, Cholera etc.
Ducks are stocked @200-300 ducklings/ha of fish pond. From duck excreta annual manure production is 45-55 kg/duck/yr, which besides fertilizing the fishponds and can be directly utilized as fish food. Apart from this, 10-20% feed/day/duck is wasted which is utilized in ponds. Duck dropping contains 81% moisture and 0.91% N and 0.38% P2O5.
Duck house should be made on the pond dyke or over the pond surface with the help of locally available material such as bamboo cane, thatches etc.
In case of duck house over the pond surface, a small bamboo bridge is constructed from the duck house for feeding the ducks as well as for collecting eggs and duck from the house. Another bridge is constructed from the duck house to the pond surface for helping the ducks ascend or descend to pond water.
Again duck house should be well ventilated for air circulation and exposed to direct sunlight. Periphery of the pond should be fenced for protection of ducks.
Ducks are kept in duck house providing about 0.3-0.5 m2/bird. Again one male duck should be kept in every 5-6 female ducks. Ducklet especially up to 3-4 weeks old are very susceptible to disease, hence, care should be taken within this period.
Mostly fine rice bran and poultry feed (layers mash etc.) are used as duck feed at the rate of 100 gm feed/day/duck.
Duck feed should be stored at cool and dry environment. If possible, manganese sulphate mixed with feed gives the better result at the rate of 10gms/100kg of feed. Apart from that Duck weeds (Lemna, Wolfia, Azolla etc.) are also fed to the ducks.
Duck also consume tadpoles, juvenile of frogs and dragon fly larvae. Further protein content in natural food organisms of the ponds consumed by duck is high. Therefore, the duck reared in fishponds save the cost on protein substantially in duck feeds and gives more eggs in comparison to duck which are not allowed in fishponds. The left over feed given to the ducks and duck dropping fulfill more than 59% of food requirements of farm fishes.
Sometime algal bloom may increase, then duck dropping should be stopped periodically by using plastic at the bottom of the duck house and removed.
In this integration except basal manure there is no need to apply inorganic and organic manure from the outside during the culture period. Only lime is applied at the rate of 250-300 kg/ha/year at suitable intervals.
By this integration a production of 3500-4000 kg of fish, 18000-18500 eggs and 500-600 kg duck meat from 1 ha of pond area in 1 year without any supplementary feed and fertilizers can be obtained and the cost is turned down to 60% lesser than normal.