Effect of different bedding depths of rice hulls on growth performance and carcass traits of White Pekin ducks

Nuwan Chamara Chathuranga1, Myunghwan Yu1, Jun Seon Hong1, Elijah Ogola Oketch1, Shan Randima Nawarathne1, Yuldashboy Vohobjonov1, Dinesh Jayasena2, Young-Joo Yi3, Jung Min Heo1,*
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1Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea.
2Department of Animal Science, Uva Wellassa University , Badulla 90000, Sri Lanka.
3Department of Agricultural Education, College of Education, Suncheon National University, Suncheon 57922, Korea.
*Corresponding Author: Jung Min Heo, Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea, Republic of. Phone: +82-42-821-5777. E-mail:

© Copyright 2023 Korean Society of Animal Science and Technology. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Duck meat is recognized as a healthier poultry product that contains higher amounts of unsaturated and essential fatty acids, iron, and excellent amounts of protein. It has been found to possess the ability to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and subsequently, blood pressure in the human body; and improve the immunity system. The current study investigated the appropriate bedding depths of rice hulls as a preferred bedding material by evaluating the growth performance and carcass traits of White Pekin ducks raised for 42 days. A total of 288 one-day-old White Pekin ducklings were randomly allotted to floor cages with one of four bedding depths at 4 cm, 8 cm, 12 cm, and 16 cm. Ducklings were fed standard duck starter (days 1-21) and finisher (days 22-42) diets. The birds were stocked at a rate of 6 birds/m<sup>2</sup> with 6 replicates per treatment. Growth performance evaluation for the body weight, average daily gain, and average daily feed intake were measured to calculate the weekly feed conversion ratio. Breast, leg, and carcass yield were assessed as carcass traits. The muscle color and proximate composition were also analyzed for meat quality. Footpad dermatitis was also evaluated on day 42. Ducks reared on 16 cm bedding depth over the 42 days recorded higher (<italic>P </italic>&lt; 0.05) body weight, average daily, average daily feed intake, and improved feed conversion ratios compared to other groups. The crude fat in breast meat also lowered (<italic>P </italic>&lt; 0.05) in ducks reared at 16 cm (1.02%) when compared to ducks raised at 4 cm bedding depth (2.11%). Our results showed improved redness (<italic>P </italic>&lt; 0.05) when the depth of bedding materials was elevated. Except for the breast meat fat, the dissimilar bedding depths did not affect (<italic>P </italic>&lt; 0.05) the breast and leg meat composition, footpad dermatitis, and mortality for the current study. In conclusion, this study indicated that the bedding depths would directly or indirectly affect the growth performance and meat color of White Pekin ducks; and the bedding depth of rice hulls at 16 cm improved the growth performance of White Pekin ducks for 42 days.

Keywords: Bedding depth; Carcass traits; Color; Crude fat; Performance; Rice hulls