Ducks in small farms might be a wise choice as they could be a pleasant companion while providing pest control, manure, meat, eggs, etc; however, unfortunately, the Renuka Zoo authorities don't think so, as they are not allowing the ducks to breed.
In the zoo, there is a herd of 27 ducks, of which 12 are female and expected to lay eggs. Generally a duck lays 10-15 eggs in a couple of days.
However, sources say the eggs would be destroyed by pricking a needle, and thus, no ducklings would take birth.
Notably, the zoo has waterbodies like the Renuka Lake and the Parshuram Tal, in which the ducks could be a thing attraction for the tourists.
Now, the question arises, why the wildlife authorities are allowing the eggs to be destroyed, when it can be utilised for commercial purposes.
The wildlife department claimed that the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) had enlisted the ducks in domestic category; therefore, the department could not let their population increase in the zoo.
However, a wildlife enthusiast, Kanwar Ajay Bhadur Singh, says instead of destroying the eggs, the department should adopt some other measures. The ongoing inhuman practice by the zoo should be stopped, he added.
He said: "Many people may be interested in buying the ducklings, as ducks don't scratch vegetables and they are efficient egg producers."
Sources said the practice was ongoing since a long time, but never reported.
Experts say the ducks are omnivores, who eat weeds, insects, pests, fallen fruit, etc.
Divisional forest officer (wildlife) Satish Gupta admitted that the population of ducks was not allowed to grow at the zoo, as the CZA had put the ducks in the domestic category.
When asked about the method of destroying eggs, he said: "As per veterinarian advice, a needle is pricked into the eggs."
According to experts, ducks do not require any elaborate habitat and need less attention than chickens. The duck lay about 40-50 eggs and rearing is economical as compared to chickens by virtue of their feeding habits of foraging.