Livestock Research for Rural Development 18 (11) 2006 Guidelines to authors LRRD News

Citation of this paper

A comparison of live weight and carcass gain of Pekin, Kunshan and Muscovy ducks on a commercial ration

J K Q Solomon, R Austin, R N Cumberbatch, J Gonsalves and E Seaforth

Department of Livestock and Pasture Production, National Agricultural Research Institute,
Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, Guyana South America ; ;


This study compared the production parameters of three breeds of duck:  the Pekin, Kunshan and Muscovy on a commercial duck ration under local conditions. Fifty ducklings representing each breed (half males and half females) were used in a completely randomized design. All birds were fed the same starter and grower ration during this study. The ducklings were weighed individually and body weight recorded on a weekly basis.

Based on overall breed comparisons at eight weeks of age, the mean body weights for both sexes were Pekin (2.52 kg) > Kunshan (2.31kg) > Muscovy (2.04 kg). The feed conversion ratios did not vary significantly between the Pekin and Kunshan, however, the Muscovy ducks were more efficient in converting feed to live weight gain. There were no major differences among breeds or between sexes within breeds in most carcass traits, the exception being body fat which was lowest in the Muscovy. The mortality for Muscovy ducks was zero with the Pekin and Kunshan breeds recording a similar mortality rate of 4%.

The highest profit margin was obtained from the Muscovy ducks.

Key words: Carcass, ducks, Kunshan, live weight gain, Muscovy, Pekin


There is an increasing demand for animal protein, and duck production may be able to help meet this demand. Ducks are able to adapt to a wide range of environmental and natural conditions, which may be the reason for the increasing importance, and popularity of the duck industry in Guyana. The numerous waterways and the high temperature and humidity of this country provide an ideal environment for duck rearing.

The duck industry in Guyana has grown rapidly over the past four years. The National Agricultural Research Institute, Livestock Farm which has the only commercial duck breeding unit in the country, has produced an average of 110,200 ducklings per annum. Production is expected to increase with farmers moving towards the breeding aspect of the industry.

The introduction of continental breeds with their higher growth rates and maturity weights gave rise to a need to assess the merits of their progeny in comparison with native breeds. While considerable information is available on the growth parameters of these breeds in other parts of the world, it was necessary to assess them under local conditions, where production systems are different, and on a specially formulated commercial duck ration in Guyana.

In the manual on duck rearing (Perez 1985), it was indicated that the White Pekin ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) reared for its meat, fed at optimum levels, will reach a weight of 3.2-3.5 kg for females and 3.4-4.0 kg for males in approximately eight weeks. The Mallards popularly known as Kunshan in Guyana (Anas platyrhynchos) will attain a weight of 2.4 kg for females and 2.8 kg for males in a similar time as the Pekin (Holderread 1978). The body weights of Muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata) at 11 weeks of age may reach 3.8 kg for males and 2.4 kg for females at 10 weeks of age (Poultry International 1991).

Therefore, the objectives of this study were to:


Site description

This study was conducted at the National Agricultural Research Institute, Livestock Farm Mon Repos. This farm is located approximately 20 km from the capital Georgetown. The area has two wet and two dry seasons. Rainfall per annum ranges between 2,300-2600 mm. During the wet season, the duration of sunshine averages 5 hours per day, but during the dry season, it is about 7 hours or more per day. The daily temperature ranges between 22 and 320C and relative humidity is about 70-80%, usual wind movement is in a northeasterly direction at velocity of about 10-15 m per second.

Animal selection and management

One hundred and fifty, day old, male and female ducklings of the Pekin, Kunshan and Muscovy breed types were selected and used in conducting the trial. Fifty ducklings representing each breed of which 25 were males and 25 females were wing-banded and used in a completely randomized design. The ducklings were reared for eight weeks using an intensive system of management. During the first three weeks, the ducklings were reared in separate brooding pens and for the last five weeks in separate growing pens, which were made safe from predators. The floor was of smooth concrete, and the roof made of zinc sheets with the eaves broad enough to prevent circle breeze from blowing rain into the pens. The walls from the concrete basement were built of wooden materials to a height of 75cm. The area above the wooden wall was constructed with chain-link mesh, which allowed for easy ventilation of the pens.

Brooding management

Ducklings were raised on concrete floors with five centimeters thick wood shaving as bedding and infrared light was used as the source of heat. A brooding space of 60 square cm was provided for each duckling. Initially brooding temperature was maintained at 320C, but this was reduced by 50C per week, until the end of the brooding period at three weeks of age. Brooder guards were kept around the brooder. Space inside the guard was expanded daily by 15 cm and the guards were removed on the seventh day.

Wind and air drifts during the first three weeks were controlled by curtains placed around the pens. These curtains were completely rolled down at night and whenever it rained. Adjustments were made during the day as the birds got older.

The birds were fed once daily at 08:30 hrs throughout the experimental period. Each duckling was provided with a feeding and watering space of 3-5 cm and 2-4 cm respectively depending on the age of the ducklings. Starter ration in the form of a dry mash with 21% crude protein was given from day one to three weeks of age. A known quantity of feed was provided ad libitum and refusals collected and weighed on a daily basis. Water was available ad libitum and bottles were filled twice daily. Vitalyte booster at a rate of 0.75 g per litre was added in the water for the first three weeks.

Grower management

After the three weeks brooding period was over the ducklings were shifted to a separate grower house and reared on a concrete floor with 4 cm thick wood shaving, up to the end of the experiment. A floor space of 100-sq. cm per bird was provided. A feeding and watering space of 6 cm and 5 cm respectively was provided for each bird. A grower/finisher feed in the form of a dry mash with 16% crude protein was gradually introduced at this stage to completion of trial. Ducklings were weighed individually and body weight recorded on a weekly basis. An average of the birds' body weight was taken to represent each experimental unit throughout the duration of the study.

After eight weeks, 20% of the birds in each experimental unit were randomly selected and slaughtered to determine the dressing weight and other carcass traits.

Table 1.  Composition of the experimental rations

Nutrient analysis




Protein (min)

Me, kcal/kg

Fat (min)

Fiber (min)

Calcium (Ca) (min)

Phosphorus (P) (min)

Sodium (Na) (min)

Selenium (Se) (min)

Vitamin A (min)

Vitamin D (min)

Vitamin E (min)









8000 IU/kg

1800 IU/kg

15 IU/kg









8000 IU/kg

1800 IU/kg

15 IU/kg

Ingredients of the rations

These were grain products, vegetable protein products, grain processing by-products, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D 3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, salt, traces of zinc oxide, manganese sulphate, iron sulphate, calcium iodate, copper sulphate, sodium selenite and Ethoxyquin (Preservative).

Statistical methodology

The data recorded during the investigation were analyzed using General Linear Model (GLM) procedures of SAS Institute (SAS 1985) with significance set at (P< 0.05). All data were analyzed by ANOVA procedures for the completely randomized design. The Fisher's Least Significance Difference test was used to determine significant differences between breeds and among sexes.

Objective measurements
Parameters that were computed in this experiment were:

1. Feed conversion = Amount of feed consumed/Total gain in body weight

2. Dressing percentages = Dressed weight/Pre-slaughter live weight * 100

    Dressed weight = weight of carcass including viscera

3. Eviscerated percentages = Eviscerated weight/Pre-slaughter live weight * 100

    Eviscerated weight = weight of carcass along with giblets and skin

4. Mortality percentage = Number of birds died/Initial number * 100

a) Breast meat percentage = Breast meat weight/ WOG d * 100

b) Leg meat percentage = Leg meat weight/WOG * 100

c) Body fat percentage = Weight of fat/Pre-slaughter live weight * 100

d) WOG = Weight of carcass without giblets.


There were no differences in live weight gain among the male sexes for the three breeds (Figures 1 and 2). Females were similar to males for live weight gain, except for Muscovy females which had lower weight gains.

* KH- Kunshan hens, KD- Kunshan drakes, MH- Muscovy hens, MD- Muscovy drakes, PH- Pekin hens and PD- Pekin drakes.

Figure 1.
  Growth curves of the three breeds and sexes

Figure 2.  Growth rates of the sexes within the three breeds

The Muscovy were more efficient than the other breeds in converting feed to live weight (Figure 3).

Figure 3.  Feed conversion rates of the sexes within the three breeds

There were no major differences among breeds or between sexes within breeds in most carcass traits, the exception being body fat which was lowest in the Muscovy  (Table 2).The mortality for Muscovy ducks was zero with the Pekin and Kunshan breeds recording a similar mortality rate of 4%.

Table 2. Mean values for live weight at slaughter and carcass traits


Pekin Drakes

Pekin Hens

Kunshan Drakes

Kunshan Hens

Muscovy Drakes

Muscovy Hens


Live weight, kg








Carcass traits, % of Live weight

Carcass (1)








Carcass (2)








Breast meat








Leg meat








Body fat








Means with same superscripts letters across rows are not significantly different from each other (P<0.05).
(1) includes viscera; (2) without viscera


Steklenev (1990) reported live weight at slaughter at 8-10 weeks for the Pekin and Muscovy to be 2.93 and 2.29 kg respectively. Unlike the Pekin and Kunshan ducks, the Muscovy has a greater dimorphism in body size between males and females. Males grew faster and yielded heavier body weight than females (Figure 2). A similar trend was observed by Van der Sluis (1993) in relation to Muscovy ducks and their growth rates. Bochno et al (1994) also reported that male ducks grew faster with more efficient feed conversion than females, which supports the result obtained in this experiment.

Bochno et al (1994) reported that feed conversion was more efficient in Muskovy ducks than Pekin. Perez (1985) showed that Pekin ducks had a feed conversion at 8 weeks of 2.83 kg feed/kg live weight gain which coincides with results obtained in this experiment (Figure 3). Other researchers (Duong and Nguyen 1995; Luong et al 1995) reported feed conversion ratios of 2.91 and 2.77 kg feed /kg live weight gain respectively, for commercial ducks reared intensively. These figures also support those obtained in this experiment.

Two possible reasons for the tendency for higher dressed and eviscerated percentages of the Muscovy ducks are less plumage and smaller internal organs when compared to the Pekin and Kunshan ducks. Luong et al (1995) evaluating the growth performance of CV Super-M ducks under two management systems, reported breast muscle yield of 15.4% and yield of leg muscle 12.1% under intensive management. These figures are significantly lower than those obtained in this experiment.

Szasz and Bogenfurst (1998) indicated that at 12 weeks the Pekin ducks had fat percentages of 20 vs 12 in the Muscovy and Mule ducks, which substantiate the results obtained in this trial. Other researchers (Garachka and Kas Yanenka 1994) reported body fat percentages for Pekin and Muscovy ducks to be 35-37.5 and 21.0-21.7% respectively, which differ significantly with those obtained in this experiment. The result from this trial indicated that the Muscovy ducks possess better quality meat than the Pekin and Kunshan due to lower body fat.

The highest profit margin was obtained from the Muscovy ducks (Table 3).

Table 3.  Costs – Benefit analyses of the three breed types at the end of eight weeks


Pekin drakes

Pekin hens

Kunshan drakes

Kunshan hens

Muscovy drakes

Muscovy hens

Feed intake, kg

Total feed cost, g$

Production cost, g$ 1

Live weight gain/duck, kg

Value of weight gain, g$

Profit, g$














































$ 1.0 US = $190.00 Guyana Dollars.  This analysis was calculated in Guyana dollars
1. Production cost = cost of electricity + cost of labour + cost of security.

The major factors contributing for the economic placement of the Muscovy ducks are; the higher price paid for the meat and secondly their superior biological efficiency when compared to the Pekin and Kunshan ducks.



The authors wish to express our appreciation of the kindness of Mr. C. R. L. Paul (Biometrician) in analyzing our data from the experiment.


Bochno R, Lewczuk A and Wawko E 1994 Comparison of growth and feed conversion efficiency of Musk and Pekin ducks, Poultry Abstract 1994 Volume 20. Number3, 18 CAB International.

Duong X T and Nguyen C Q 1995 Studies on the performance of CV Super-M duck breed in the Southern provinces of Vietnam. Poultry Abstract 1997 Volume 23 Number 5, 140 CAB International.

Garachka M S T and Kas Yanenka S V 1994 Meat composition of hybrid ducklings. Poultry Abstract 1997 Volume 23 Number 5, 114 CAB International.

Holderread D 1978 Raising the home ducks (Breed profiles) Publisher Garden way, Inc. Pownal, Vermont. 20-21.

Loung T N, Hoang V T, Dang T D, Le X T, Doan V X and Nguyen D T 1995 Growth and meat performance of CV Super-M ducks under two management systems in the Red River Delta. Poultry Abstract 1997 Volume 23 Number 5, 140 CAB International.

Perez R 1985 Duck - Rearing manual, University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad.

Poultry International 1991 Duck production in the Far East and South Pacific Poultry International Volume 30, Number 1 14 -18.

SAS 1985 User's Guide: Statistics version 5 Edition. SAS Institute Inc. Nc.

Szasz S and Bogenfurst F 1998 Study on body fat content in Pekin, Muscovy and Mule Ducks. Poultry Abstract 1999 Volume 25 Number 6, 237 CAB International.

Vander Sluis W 1993 Waterfowl production increasing slowly, World Poultry - Misset Volume 9 Number 8/9 93.

Received 8 October 2005; Accepted 23 October 2006; Published 1 November 2006

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