Effect of the stocking rate on growth performance, carcass traits and meat quality of male Peking ducks

A.M.A. Osman


At two weeks of age, two hundred and forty male Peking ducklings were allocated at ramdom to provide stocking densities of 2, 4, 6 and 8 birds/m² on the floor and 4, 8, 12 and 16 birds/m² in cages. At 10 weeks old, eight birds from each treatment were slaughtered for measuring carcass traits and meat quality. The study revealed the  following results. On the basis of body weight, the optimum stocking rate of ducklings is 8 birds/m² during the period from 2 to 4 weeks old and thereafter it should be reduced to 4 birds/m² up to 10 weeks of age on both floor or in cages. Feed intake was decreased (P < 0.05)  with increasing stocking rate at all growing age intervals. Cumulative feed conversion was improved, when the stocking rate exceeded 2 birds/m² on floor at all studied ages. Lower improvements in feed conversion related to the stocking rate were also observed  for ducklings reared in cages. Mortality rate was not affected by birds‘ density.  Dressing % was decreased (P < 0.05) with increasing density above 4 birds/m² on floor and in cages respectively.
There was a tendency for increasing pH-value of breast and deterioration of the juice holding capacity in thigh meat with increasing birds‘ density reared on floor. With the exception of the previous mentioned criteria, stocking rate had no effect on the other physical characters of breast and thigh meat.

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