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Parent Stock Developer Management Tips

POSTED: Oct 16, 2020

Tips

When developing parent stock through the first 20 weeks, it is critical to manage body weight and reach target weights in order to achieve good uniformity. This will set a good foundation for uniform egg production throughout the breeder stage. A few principles for managing developers support this goal.

Feed Restriction

During the developer stage, it is important to restrict feed to developer ducks from the day of placement to allow for healthy growth and development, while maintaining controlled maturation so that the onset of egg production begins at 23 to 24 weeks of age. When managed correctly, the age of sexual maturity (defined as the age when the flock reaches 50% production) should occur around 27 to 28 weeks of age.

Target Weight Management

During the developer stage, body weight targets are attained by accurate feed restriction. The target body weights for drakes and hens are different, therefore, it is recommended that males and females not be mixed together prior to 20 weeks.

Mixing drakes and hens together at an early age does not allow for strict control of development of either sex, and uniformity of the flock will suffer. In such situations, the flock is fed as though it is all female, which limits the feed available to the males. Consequently, the males will be too light and behind in sexual maturity, while the hens will be too heavy, making them come into lay sooner than expected. The fertility will be poor in early production cycle until the male maturity catches up to the female.

Target Weight Management

During the developer stage, body weight targets are attained by accurate feed restriction. The target body weights for drakes and hens are different, therefore, it is recommended that males and females not be mixed together prior to 20 weeks.

Mixing drakes and hens together at an early age does not allow for strict control of development of either sex, and uniformity of the flock will suffer. In such situations, the flock is fed as though it is all female, which limits the feed available to the males. Consequently, the males will be too light and behind in sexual maturity, while the hens will be too heavy, making them come into lay sooner than expected. The fertility will be poor in early production cycle until the male maturity catches up to the female.

To ensure an adequate water supply to ducklings, at placement, bell drinkers should be provided at 50 ducks/drinker at placement. Supplementary drinkers should also be provided during the first week and gradually taken out as ducks are trained to use the bell drinkers. As the ducks grow, the height of bell drinkers should be continuously adjusted.

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