Do you love your chickens but have a hankerin’ to add ducks to your flock? Are you wondering if you could raise chickens and ducks together?
The answer is YES!
With a few simple adjustments in your coop and run, you can blend the two fowls together into a peaceful coop with each species going their own way.
Raising Chicks and Ducks Together
Let’s start with the chicks and ducklings. If you’re lucky enough to bring home some darling babes, you will want to separate them in different brooders.
Ducks and ducklings need a large amount of moisture overall, which is not suitable for the health of a chick. A duckling’s water fount also has to be wider and longer because of the size of their bills. This type of waterer can be extremely dangerous for baby chicks if they would happen to fall in.
You may choose to give your baby chicks medicated feed to prevent from all types of maladies, which does not work for a duckling. Ducklings consume a large amount of feed, and that much medication can make them sick.
So, in short, you can raise chickens and ducks together, but you can’t raise baby chicks and ducklings together in the same brooder.
Changes in your Coop and Run To Raise Chickens and Ducks Together
Having enough room is doubly important when you add ducks to your flock. Overcrowding makes everyone irritable, and cause problems with bullying.
As we know, chickens have a very particular pecking order but ducks do not. They are laid back fowl who go about their day happily as a group.
If your chickens are in too close of quarters with the ducks they may bully them by pecking and attacking with their sharp talons.
When a duck enters a coop, they are not able to use a steep ramp like an agile chicken. Their web feet warrant a much shorter and lower incline for a ramp.
Inside the coop, you will need to add extra ventilation due to the duck’s breathing causing high amounts of moisture in the air. Aeration will help with condensation along with changing the bedding more frequently. That way, everyone stays warm and dry.
Another good reason to add ventilation? It surprisingly helps to protect your flock in the winter!
Water and Food Needs When Raising Chickens and Ducks Together
Ducks drink water not only for hydration but they also need a deep water fount so they can dip their entire bill in to keep their bills, nostrils, and eyes clean and moist. They also use the water to mix with their food to aid in digestion. And of course, with all that dipping there is a mess of water and mud all around the area.
Chickens, however, do not need water with their food and do well with a smaller waterer. Chickens also do not like to get wet because they do not have waterproof feathers like a duck who has oil glands to help keep their feathers dry.
If a chicken gets wet, it can lead to sickness and possibly death where a duck’s body temperature is much higher than a chicken, and so it does not affect them in the same way.
We had a kiddie pool when we had our five Pekin ducks, and it was a blast to watch them swim in circles around the pool one way and then another.
To prevent soggy chickens place duck waterers, feeders and pools in a far corner or outside of your run.
If the pool has to be inside your run place a brick on the outside and inside of the rim. The block will help in case a chicken ventures in to the pool by aiding them in getting out.
Night Time Needs for Chickens and Ducks
As you know, chickens love their roosts and sleep 13-14 hours a day but no such luck with a duck.
They are talkers and catnap all day long, so putting the two together in a coop is not the best solution. You may have some very grumpy chickens come morning if they are kept up all night due to a duck’s slumber party.
Ducks like to sleep outdoors and need just an outdoor area with a roof to rest during nice weather. You might even find them having a pool party during the night.
Ducks sleep and nest on the ground and so when you have to provide a nesting area for them inside the coop, make sure you don’t put it under the roosts where chicken poop can cannonball them below.
When the mood arrives for the males in the flock, it is best to have a rooster with your hens; this stops a male duck from eyeing them romantically.
A duck breeding with a chicken will cause physical damage and possibly lead to death, so make sure he is busy with his own duck hens. A good rule of thumb is three hens for every drake.
It’s also a good idea to give the chickens plenty of places that they can get away from the ducks if they need to. Plenty of high roosts and opportunities to free range daily will help a lot with any behavioral issues between chickens and ducks.
With these few things in place, you can keep a flock of ducks and chickens together, and all can live in harmony.
The bonus for you is not only more eggs but double the antics to watch and enjoy!