Livestock Research for Rural Development 22 (9) 2010 Notes to Authors LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Role of duck droppings on pond productivity through fish-duck integrated farming system

S Sasmal, M S Chari and H K Vardia

Department of Fisheries, Indira Gandhi Agricultural University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, 492006, India


The experiment was conducted at Tarjunga village of Chhattisgarh to study the impact of duck droppings on physico-chemical, biological parameters of pond ecosystem and overall the production of fish. The pond was stocked with 6000 fingerlings/ha of indian major carps (IMC) to utilize the maximum energy in the tanks through polyculture. Their average size was 90±20 mm. This pond containing the fingerlings of IMC was then integrated with ducks (Anas platyrhinos) to serve the purpose of obtaining the eggs and meat as also deliver the excreta into the tank during wild grazing.  Under such cultural practice at village level no supplementary feed was given to the fish while the ducks were fed with fresh kitchen leftovers and agricultural by products as kanki (broken cereal grains), kodha (rice bran) which are easily available commodities in rural areas.


The mean dry matter loading rate of duck excreta was 6.2 kg/ ha /day into the pond and as a result the physico-chemical parameters as dissolved oxygen, pH, alkalinity changed significantly in treated pond and plankton volume also improved considerably. These parameters in totality affect the overall fish production raising from 1.5 to 2.8 tonnes / ha/ yr. The average egg production was 122 ± 9 bird-1 yr-1.


The results conclude that integration of fish with duck is more profitable than farming  fish alone with no inputs under rural conditions of Chhattisgarh.

Key words: Chhattisgarh, fish- duck integration, plankton, village pond


Fisheries is destined to play an important role in human nutrition but the cost is beyond reach of many people. Utilization of grain and animal protein as feed in aquaculture may not be economical as it might lead to food crisis and attention is being redirected to wider use of all resources and integrated fish farming offers a solution to the problem. Recycling of organic wastes for fish culture serves the dual purpose of cleaning the environment and providing economic benefits. In India about 40% of cultivated area is under irrigation and 60% of cultivated area is under rain fed condition. Where as in Chhattisgarh the irrigation percentage to net sown area is 32.10% and the rest is rain fed (67.9%). At village level in Chhattisgarh the main water resource is village ponds. The village ponds are used for irrigation, fish culture and other multipurpose domestic activities (bathing, washing etc). These ponds are rain fed. In which no inputs are given and nutrient availability is very poor, as a result there is low fish production. In such ponds, recycling of nutrients through integrated farming is a suitable alternative (Anonymous 2006). The  recycling of animal dung/ wastes in fish ponds is important for natural fish production as also sustainable aquaculture and to also reduce expenditure on costly feeds and fertilizers which form more than 60% of the total input cost in semi intensive fish culture systems. However, the indiscriminate use of these manures in fishponds, instead of improving the pond productivity, may also lead to pollution. Although some work has been done on animal manures like cow dung, poultry droppings and biogas slurry which are suitable substitutes for costly feeds and fertilizers (Schroeder 1980; Dhawan and Toor 1989), there are few reports on the recycling of duck manure in fish ponds and more so under Chhattisgarh and Indian conditions. Chhattisgarh has large number of water bodies as village ponds to the tune of 60,029 ha which can efficiently be utilized for fish production and will add to the microeconomics of the village (Figure 1).

Figure 1.  Location of research site

Presently the village tanks are being utilized for domestic purposes and no inputs are allowed into it for fear of killing the aesthetic value of the pond. So only fish seed as input is allowed and any other input is taken as a cognizance offence by the village folk hence fish production is very low. To overcome this problem integration of fish with duck farming is a suitable alternative for which the village folk do not have any objection. The ducks can be fed on locally available agricultural by products and kitchen leftovers by the farmers. These ducks make their way into the ponds during day time and release the droppings into the water. These droppings contain undigested grains that can be consumed by the fish and is also nutrient rich, which will improve the plankton (ultimately fish production) through nutrient accumulation over a period of time. At harvest in addition to fish, duck eggs and duck meat will also become available to the farmers as an additional source of income as also nutritional security to his family.


Materials and methods 

The study involved two ponds – one with ducks (0.5 ha.) another without ducks (0.6 ha). Both ponds are perennial and shrinking in nature. Unwanted fishes were removed with repeated netting. In August 2006, advanced fingerlings of indian major carps (catla, rohu and mrigala) were stocked @ 6,000 ha-1 in the ratio of 3:3:4 measuring 90±20mm and weighing 8.5±2.75g. After one month of stocking, 90 days old ducks were brought into use. These ducks were given to families of the village @ of 5 ducks/family. Water quality parameters of ponds were analysed fortnightly for temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, free carbon dioxide, alkalinity, hardness, conductivity, nitrate nitrogen, ammonical-nitrogen, chloride, calcium, phosphate, BOD, phytoplankton and zooplankton (APHA 1989). Soil parameters like pH (Piper 1950), Nitrogen (Subbaiah and Asija 1956), Phosphorus (Olsen’s et al 1954), Potassium (Hanway and Hiddle 1952), Organic Carbon (Walkley and Black 1934) were also analyzed on monthly basis. Manure loading rates in treated tank were determined by randomly collecting samples from 6 ducks over a period of time.  The duck manure was analyzed for phosphorous (Yoshida et al 1971), nitrogen and ash (AOAC 1975) also. Sampling of pond water for plankton analyses was done on ten-liter water samples, sampled from five different areas and depths of the pond and filtered through 25 µ mesh plankton net. Preservation of the samples before analysis was done by addition of 5 % buffered formalin in small plastic bottles, before analyses on a Sedgewick- Rafter counting cell, under a compound microscope. No supplementary feed was given to the fish, whereas the ducks were attuned to go to the village pond in the morning (9.00 am) and come back to their habitat (farmer’s house) in the evening (5.00 pm). Under the exiting conditions here, farmers could not afford to have duck house and conduct stall feeding, therefore, scavenging mode/wild grazing was adopted at the out-farm trials. Ducks were fed (average 75 g) with fresh kitchen leftovers and agricultural by products as kanki (broken grains), kodha (rice bran) etc by the farmers. Growth of fish was recorded every month from sample catches obtained by cast netting. 

Results and discussion 

Duck manure composition and mean loading rates

In the present study two ponds were studied for fish production in which one was not integrated and the other was integrated with ducks. The mean loading rate of duck manure in integrated pond was  6.2 kg ha-1 day -1 at a stocking density of 300 ducks/ha. The proximate composition of duck manure and mean loading rate are depicted in Table 1.

Table1.  Composition of duck manure and its mean loading rate

Proximate composition of manure

Fresh basis, %

Moisture (DM basis, %)








Mean loading rate

kg dry wt. ha-1  day -1

Total input


Total nitrogen


Total Phosphorous


Total Ash


Water quality parameters


Water temperature fluctuated widely between 20.1 to 33.2 oC. The pH of water varied from 6.1 to 8.15 with moderate fluctuations. In treated pond, maximum pH was observed during summer periods, especially in March. The pH of duck treated pond was mildly alkaline. Use of duck excreta is likely to be more beneficial in production system as it is maintaining an alkaline state (Chari 2003).Golterman (1970) while analyzing natural waters for relation between pH and percentage of free CO2, HCO3 found that an increased pH means higher bicarbonate values (Table 2).

Table 2.  Variation around mean for physico- chemical parameters in the experimental ponds


Control  (Range)

Treated pond  (Range)

Calculated ‘t’ value


6.95  (6.10-7.60)

7.61  (6.50-8.12)


DO, mg/1

5.58  (4.8-6.5)

6.87  (5.6-8.1)


BOD5,  mg/1

11.5  (8.5-14.9)

20.3  (9.1-23.6)


COD, mg/l

20.5  (10.2-19.1)

26.2  (10.5-35.2)


Free CO2 , mg/1

1.84  (0.8-2.3)

1.63  (1.0-2.4)


Total alkalinity, mg/1

121  (85-166)

148  (102-187)


Hardness, mg/1

88.7  (66-121)

117  (83-142)


Conductivity, µmhos /cm

126  (110-155)

171  (119-229)


Chloride, mg/1

11.7  (10.3-14.2)

14.8  (11.0-17.4)


Calcium, mg/1

59.7  (50.0-68.0)

76  (57.0-96.0)


Nitrate, mg/1)

0.212  (0.210-0.217)

0.246  (0.210-0.295)


Phosphate, mg/1

0.11  (0.10-0.14)

0.17  (0.06-0.23)


Ammonia, mg/1

0.0049 (0.003-0.007)

0.0142  (0.005-0.022)


Plankton vol. , ml/50l sample

0.19 (0.17-0.22)

0.78  (0.20-2.10)


In the present study similar positive correlation was found between pH and CO2 (r= 0.629). Higher values of alkalinity were observed in duck treated pond (102-187 ppm) in comparison to pond without duck (85-166 ppm). Alkalinity is positively correlated with pH (r=0.932) and DO (r=0.614) in the present study (Table 3).

Table 3.  Correlation coefficient (r) between different physico-chemical and biological parameters in treated pond

Temperature vs Dissolved oxygen




Free CO2 vs DO


pH vs free CO2


pH vs Alkalinity


Total plankton vs DO


Chlorophyceae vs phosphate


Chlorophyceae vs nitrate


Chlorophyceae  vs ammonia-nitrogen


Bacillariophyceae vs nitrate


Bacillariophyceae  vs phosphate


Bacillariophyceae  vs ammonia-nitrogen


Chari (1980) also found similar correlation between pH and alkalinity. Dissolved oxygen was highly significant among all other parameters. The mean DO was 6.87 ppm which indicates favourable condition for fish growth. It may be assumed that movements of ducks in the pond helped in aerating the water. In integrated farming system, monitoring BOD is absolutely essential as thick organic sediment may settle at the pond bottom, increasing depletion of oxygen and enhancing the production of toxic gasses which can result in fish kills.  In the present study, BOD level was in treated pond in the range of 9.1-23.6 mg/1 (Table 2). An increase in Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD5) was seen with input of waste into pond by ducks. It was found that while DO decreased there was an increase in BOD level (Chattopadhyay 1997).


In the present study, similar results were found for control pond (r=-0.939) but unexpected results were found for treated pond as both the parameters are increasing together and the correlation is significantly positive (r=0.819). Such results are function of regular input of duck droppings and their active movements into water. The observed concentration ranges of the ammonical-N, nitrate-N, phosphate and potassium in water values were lower initially when ducks were not introduced but later when ducks entered the pond almost all values increased due to cumulative effect. It has been reported that phosphates are essential for the growth of green algae (Jana 1973). The present study also established a positive correlation (r = 0.591) between these two. A direct correlation was observed with nitrate and the population density of Chlorophyceae and nitrate-nitrogen during the present investigations. Similar result was also obtained earlier by Chari (1980).


Physico chemical properties of soil


The pH of the soil samples were mildly alkaline throughout the experimental period in duck treated pond (7.50-7.75) and  control pond (7.35-7.50). The Central Inland Fishery Research Institute (CIFRI) recommended that pond soil pH between 6.5-7.5 is productive range. The present study is also in agreement with these observations with minor difference. The higher mean value of nitrogen was observed in the range of 21.9-33.8 mg/100gm soil in duck treated pond and 20.5-23.6 mg/ 100 gm soil in control pond. In case of phosphorous, it was found that average mean was higher in duck treated pond (3.65 mg/100 gm soil) and a lower mean was value observed in control pond (3.08 mg/100 gm soil). The organic carbon at different periods in experimental soil was found highly significant between the two treatments. Among the treatments the highest mean value of organic carbon was found in treated pond (0.71 %) than in control (0.53 %). In treated pond it was found that organic carbon increased from 0.69 % to 0.74 %. The fertilizer schedule developed by CIFRI based on nutrient requirement of ponds, classified them as low, medium and high productive ones. At the beginning both the ponds were in low productive in range but at the end the study, the duck treated pond comes under medium range of productivity.


Plankton abundance


In the present study, plankton biomass was significantly higher in duck treated pond than control pond. Duck droppings is an organic manure, which contributes to the growth of plankton, a high protein natural feed for certain fish species in communal tank (Edwards et al 1986). Total 12 genera of phytoplankton comprised mainly of four groups (Chlorophyceae, 4; Cyanophyceae, 3; Bacillariophyceae, 3 and Euglenophyceae, 2) and 7 genera of zooplankton (Crustacea, 4 and Rotifera, 3) were also recorded in treated pond. The other phytoplankton groups recorded from the pond are Dinophyceae and Chrysophyceae and zooplankton recorded are cladocera and protozoans. Among phytoplankton the most common genera were Chlorella sp, Spirogyra sp, Ulothrix sp, Volvox sp, Anabaena sp, Microcystis sp, Nostoc sp, Oscillatoria sp, Navicula sp, Pinnularia sp, Euglena sp and Trachelomonas sp. Whereas Daphnia sp, Moina sp, Cyclops sp, Diaptomus sp, Asplanchna sp, Brachionus sp and Keratella sp were among the most abundant zooplankton genera. If, compared, total 8 genera of phytoplankton and 6 genera of zooplankton were recorded from the control pond. Four genera of phytoplankton, namely- Ulothrix sp, Navicula sp, Pinnularia sp. Trachelomonas sp., and one genera of zooplankton, namely- Asplanchna sp., were recorded only from the treated pond. The plankton production was found to be significant between treatments, the highest mean value observed in treated pond (232 no/l) and lowest in control (100 no/l). In treated pond, the plankton population was highest where phytoplankton ranged from 42 to 256 organisms litre-1 and zooplankton ranged between 30 to 273 organisms litre-1 (Figure 2a and b). In control pond it showed a lower population with phytoplankton ranging from 39 to 64 organisms litre-1 and zooplankton ranged between 30 to 40 organisms litre-1 (Figures 2c and 2d). 

Figure 2 a. Average quantity of  Phytoplankton (%) in Duck pond

Figure 2 b.  Average quantity of  Zooplankton (%) in Duck pond

Figure 2 c.  Average quantity of  Phytoplankton (%) in Control pond

Figure 2 d.  Average quantity of  Zooplankton (%) in Control pond

Figure 2
.  Repartition of Phytoplancton and Zooplancton in duck treated pond and control pond

In treated pond, peak plankton production was achieved in May (496 no/l) and June (529 no/l) and the lowest in July (72 no/l).  The plankton production was almost uniform throughout the experimental period in control pond.The total phytoplankton and zooplankton were significantly higher (P< 0.05) in treated pond than that of non-treated pond. Correlation between nutrients and different phytoplanktonic   groups were made (Table 3) and it was found that Chlorophyceae, Bacillariophyceae and Euglenophyceae were influenced by phosphate, ammonia- nitrogen and nitrate-nitrogen.


Growth of fish


The growth parameters of fish species under different treatments are shown in Table 3. The average initial length and weight of fingerlings (catla, rohu and mrigal) at the time of stocking was 8.0, 8.5, 9.5 cm and 8.5, 7.5, 7.0 gm for both the treatments. The average final mean length of fishes was 26.3, 28.6 and 30.5 cm in treated pond followed by 22.6, 24.2 and 27.5 cm in control pond for catla, rohu and mrigal respectively. The average final mean weight of fish at the time of harvesting was 760.0, 525.5g (catla), 650.5, 450.0g (rohu) and 610.5, 408.5g (mrigal) for treated and control pond respectively (Table 4).

Table 4.  Growth parameters of fish species in different treatments


Control pond ( Area-0.6ha )

Treated pond ( Area - 0.5ha)

Growth rate of catla, g day-1



Survival of catla, %



Average weight at harvest, g



Yield of catla, Kg



Growth rate of rohu, g day-1



Survival of rohu, %



Average weight at harvest, g



Yield of rohu, Kg



Growth rate of mrigal, g day-1



Survival of mrigal, %



Average weight at harvest, g



Yield of mrigal, Kg



Total yield, Kg



Productivity, Kg/ha



Mean survival, %



Chand et al (2006) observed that the stocking of fishes of Indian major carps in the treatments D0 (No ducks), D200 (200 ducks), D300 (300 ducks) and D400 (400 ducks) for 10 months culture period were 602,763,827 and 708 g (catla), 516,688,715 and 721 g (rohu),  475,516,623 and 636 g (mrigal) respectively. Average daily gain (ADG) was found to be higher in treated pond i.e. 2.08 g, 1.78 g and 1.67 g/day compared to that of control pond, where it was 1.43g, 1.23g and 1.19 g/day for catla, rohu and mrigal respectively (Fig 4.13). Chand et al (2006) also reported average daily gain (ADG) in D400 (400 ducks) at 2.67, 2.35g, 2.08g/day, in D300 (300 ducks) at 2.70g, 2.33g and 2.04g/day, in D200(200 ducks) at 2.49g, 2.24g and 1.68g/day  and in D0 (control) 1.95 g, 1.67 g, 1.54 g/day for catla, rohu and mrigal, respectively.


Growth of ducks


Growth performance was studied at fortnightly interval measuring weight gains in ducks. The average initial mean weight of ducks was 820g. The maximum weight of ducks increased to 1304g. At the end of experimentation period the final weight of ducks was 970g. During experimental period, the peak mean weight of ducks was observed in March and a decline was observed in April to May, due to increase of ambient air temperature. The survival rate of duck was 85%. Chand et al (2006) recorded survival rates at different stocking densities i.e. 93%, 91% and 90% in D200, D300 and D400 respectively.


Table 5.  Benefit- cost analysis of fish – duck integration system (1 ha. area)


Control pond

Treated pond

Fish yield, Kg/ha/yr



Egg yield, No/yr



Duck meat, Kg



Total expenses, Rs.



Income, Rs.



Net profit, Rs.



Benefit: cost ratio, Income: expense




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Received 6 October 2009; Accepted 21 October 2009; Published 1 September 2010

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