Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International,
The study is aimed to assess live weight and some morphometric traits to serve as the basis for documentation and utilization in improvement programme of the locally-adapted ducks. This study observed five phenotypic characteristics and assessed live weight, and seven morphometric traits in 200 adult domestic ducks (105 drakes and 95 ducks) in the humid zone of Nigeria between February and August 2012. The observed characteristics were plumage colour, shank colour, eye colour, incidence and colour of caruncle. The seven morphometric traits included; body length, breast circumference, bill length, neck length, wing length, shank length, and foot length. Data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics, correlation and regression coefficients. Plumage colour was predominantly pied (black/white) with a relative prevalence of 69.0%. Shank colour was mainly yellow with a relative proportion of 62.5%. About 62% of the study ducks were yellow-eyed; the remaining ones had black eyes (38%). One-half (50%) of the study sample had caruncle; the remaining half had no caruncle. Red caruncle was predominant with the relative prevalence of 58.5%. The mean live weights of drakes and ducks were 3.16±0.814 kg and 2.05±0.449 kg, respectively. Coefficients of the phenotypic correlation between live weight and morphometric traits both in ducks and drakes ranged from 0.914 to 0.987 (P<0.01). The correlation coefficients showed that body length had the strongest relationship with live weight followed by wing length (r = 0.987 and 0.984). Regression analysis showed that body length and wing length had the highest coefficients of determination (R2 = 0.974 and 0.969), indicating that they were the best predictors of live weight. Also, the sampled Muscovy ducks showed a substantial level of variation in live weight and some morphometric traits, thereby pointing to probable gainful selection efforts. The regression equations in this study could serve as useful practical tools by livestock farmers, researchers and rural development workers for weight estimation in the field and for selection purposes.