EFFECT OF BEDDING MATERIALS ON DUCK’S WELFARE AND GROWTH PERFORMANCE
Ducks spend their entire life in contact with the litter material, thus the management strategies should focus on what is the best for ducks welfare and growth performance. Herein, the main object of the present study was assessing the effects of different litter materials on the ducks’ welfare and growth performance. Four groups of ducks (24 duckling for each) were kept on four types of bedding materials, sawdust, plastic slatted floor, sand and without. The present study revealed several changes in duck’s behaviors due to different bedding materials, where the most frequencies of maintenance behaviors (feeding, drinking, idling, preening) were significantly (P<0.05) higher in plastic slatted in comparing to other materials the highest significantly in plastic slatted litter and the lowest in non-bedding litter. Moreover, the ducks reared under sawdust floor revealed the highest frequency of foraging behavior (11.48 bouts/hour). While, feather pecking and aggression were the highest in non-bedding material (74.4, 5.51 bouts/hour, respectively). The hygienic conditions inside the non-bedding floor was the worst due to increase levels of ammonia and carbon dioxide (12, 0.97 Cm3/Litter, respectively). The ducks reared in plastic slatted floor were the best in growth performance with good signs of soundness. In non-bedding floor, the environmental stress revealed in the increase the level of plasma corticosterone hormone with bad signs of soundness. This study confirms importance of bedding materials in rearing of ducks, especially under plastic slatted floor.
Key words: duck; bedding material; behavior; performance; welfare
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