A Murang'a County farmer is enjoying more profits by letting ducks incubate and take care of guinea fowl keets, allowing for the later bird lay eggs for sale.
Peter Munga says ducks are ‘loving and caring’ incubators and foster mothers. A duck can hatch 100 per cent keets and chicks of other domesticated birds. A good mother duck can hatch up to 30 eggs at once. Keets are young ones of guinea fowl.
“I started with ducks. But the passion I have for exotic birds lured me into guinea fowls. I started with eggs, which the ducks helped me hatch.”
“For high percentage hatching, the guinea fowl eggs have to be introduced as soon as the duck starts plucking feathers in readiness for incubation,” he said.
Ducks are also good brooders. And the secret, he says, lies in the incubation time-the chicks create a special relationship with the foster mother before hatching.
Munga says guinea fowl eggs are smaller than those of chicken or duck. This makes their hatching easier.Eggs hatch after 28 days, but in delayed cases, they can extend to 30 days.
Two ducks give rise to about 60 keets, which he will brood artificially for the first two weeks to ensure they get enough warmth. And he can use two ducks to incubate and raise 60 youngones.
“Ducks give good warmth to keeps. They are natural habitats of warm regions like the coast.
The keets can also be reared in a brooder where a farmer would fix an upper and lower to ensure sufficient warmth.
Contrary to guinea fowls, ducks are hydrophilic. This presents a challenge to raising keets, which cannot stay in water like their foster mother.
“I place clean and disinfected stones in the water supplying containers. The keets will step on the stones and drink water safely. The mother will enjoy the water, but cannot swim or wad in because of limited space,” he said.
Letting the ducks incubate and raise keets gives the guinea fowl time to lay more eggs, which can reach 90. One egg sells at Sh100. This means he will earn at least Sh9,000 from eggs alone.
He sells mature guinea fowls at Sh2,000. He has kept his stock at between 20 and 30. He has not met the demand of the market even when he raises the birds to 100 at a time.
These birds are cheap to rear. Besides commercial feeds, he gives them millet, sorghum and maize.
He has expanded his agribusiness to include rabbits, turkeys and gooses.
He can be reached on 0712021956.