Differences in bedding material type could alter the growth performance of White Pekin ducks raised over 42 days
The effect of different commercially available bedding materials on the growth performance and carcass characteristics of ducks for 42 days was investigated. 336 one-day-old White-Pekin ducklings (60.48 ± 0.16 g) were randomly allocated into 24-floor pens with one of the three beddings namely i) coco peat, ii) rice husks, or iii) sawdust. 14 ducklings per pen and 8 replicate pens per bedding material were used. Birds were fed a starter diet from day 1-21 and a grower diet from day 22-42. Weekly growth performance evaluation was conducted for the average body weight, weight gains, daily feed intake, and feed conversion efficiency. One bird per pen was sacrificed on d 42 for the evaluation of carcass characteristics including the carcass, breast, and leg muscle percentages. Breast and leg muscle samples were then collected and analyzed for their proximate and pH values. Higher body weights (P < 0.05) were noticed with rice husks on day 42 only. Improved daily gains (P< 0.05) were also noticed for birds raised with rice husks over the entire period (days 1-42). Concerning feed intake, higher values (P< 0.05) were similarly noted with rice husks for the grower phase (day 22-42), and the entire experimental period (d1-42). Marginally improved feed intake values were also noted with the use of rice husks as the bedding materials on d 42 (P= 0.092). Improved feed efficiency (P< 0.05) was noticed with rice husks on d 35, the grower period, and the entire 42-day period. However, no significant differences were noticed for most of the carcass characteristics that were evaluated. Nevertheless, higher (P < 0.05) pH values for the breast muscle were noticed with the use of coco peat and sawdust as the bedding. Conclusively, the bedding type could have a significant impact on the growth performance of ducks without adverse effects on carcass characteristics. The use of rice husks as bedding might be advantageous and is therefore recommended.