Itik PINAS: The native duck behind the Philippines’ favorite balut

Published May 5, 2022, 10:00 AM

by Vina Medenilla

Next to chickens, duck, or itik, is the second major source of egg and meat in the Philippines. Ducks are primarily raised for balut and salted egg, or itlog na pula. Almost 500,000 Filipino families rely on ducks for livelihood as well.

Whether for personal or commercial purposes, a native breed that is suited for egg and meat production is Itik PINAS (IP).

Itik PINAS is an improved Philippine Mallard duck breed developed through strategic breeding and selection by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) and the National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center-Bureau of Animal Industry (NSPRDC-BAI). 

This duck is resistant to diseases and suited to the local climate. Therefore, mortality rates are substantially lower.

IP produces more eggs compared to the traditional Pateros duck and can generate a total average of 266 eggs yearly.

An IP egg consistently weighs 65 grams, matched with the requirements for balut processing. 

IP lays eggs when they reach 22-23-weeks-old. They are capable of producing eggs for up to a year or more. However, DOST-PCAARRD’s Livestock Research Division Director Synan S. Baguio noted that selective culling must be conducted every year to maintain the flock’s efficiency.

Read: A quick guide on how to raise native ducks

Itik PINAS’ genetic lines

IP ducks have three genetic groups, two of which are pure lines known as IP-Itim and IP-Khaki. 

The other one is IP-Kayumanggi, which is a hybrid of a female IP-Itim and male IP-Khaki. It is often raised for commercial use and promoted to private duck raisers for egg production. It also lays more eggs than pure lines.

One way to identify the sex of an IP duck is through its plumage. Females have brown or kayumanggi plumage, while males have black.

‘Producks’ and opportunities from itik 

Balut is a primary product of the duck industry. It is said that about 80 to 85 percent of the local duck egg supply in Central Luzon and CALABARZON are processed into balut.

Research revealed that balut has cultural and nutritional benefits. Aside from having existed for a long time now, balut can provide all essential amino acids and is a good source of Vitamin A, Zinc, Iodine, calcium, and Riboflavin. Experts say that eating balut once a day is fine. 

A part of the government’s marketing strategy for this product is a balut vending machine that can be distributed in places where it is not traditionally sold, such as hotels, airports, seaports, malls, and convenience stores. This way, more customers may have access to balut anytime.

The consumption of salted eggs and their use as raw materials in cakes and pastries has also been viewed as a potentially lucrative opportunity for duck raisers. 

Salted egg powder, salted egg with a longer shelf life of up to 12 weeks, and culled layer duck meat are the other products developed through the government’s R&D efforts. Experts are also striving to extend the shelf life of balut to seven days.

The information provided above is from a technology forum on Itik PINAS held during the second day of DOST PCAARRD’s Native Animals Fair 2022. Additional research was taken from DOST-PCAARRD’s Itik PINAS digital flyer

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