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Can you Raise Chickens and Ducks Together?

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.

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A chicken next to a duck.

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.

A duckling in the grass.

Changes in your Coop and Run To Raise Chickens and Ducks Together

Making Room

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. 

Adding Ramps

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.

Ventilation

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!

A chicken eating seeds out of someone's hand.

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.

Another water need for ducks is some type of small pool , pond, or trough for them to play in. 

Four ducks playing in a kiddie pool.

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.

Food is a bit easier; however, both chickens and ducks eat the same feed and love the same treats. The only real difference is ducks need a large open bowl for feed.

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. 

A duck standing on a rock.

Mating

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!

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ndemi

Monday 5th of August 2019

A duck breeding with a hen will cause physical damage and possibly lead to death:how?why?

Meredith

Wednesday 7th of August 2019

Roosters don't have a penis, so when they mate with hens, they put their cloaca's together and do the deed. Ducks, however, do have a penis, and when drakes try to mate with chickens, their penis can literally harm a chicken as their body isn't made for that kind of mating. At the least it can cause a prolapsed vent and pain, at the most it can cause death.

Carmen

Friday 2nd of August 2019

We have actually successfully raised chicks and ducks together from hatching. We used a regular chick feeder and a small waterer for awhile. We fed them all chick starter feed. I’ve read about the medicated feed being bad for ducks, but we have raised several ducklings on it, and we have had no problems. When they got a little bigger I added a small pan, think shallow paint pan, for the ducklings to play in. It was not deep and did not cause any danger for the chicks. We moved them to an outdoor run when they could safely stay outside. They are great friends and snuggle up together to sleep at night. I have a kiddie pool in there now with just a little water. I turned the pan upside down and put it in the pool as a sort of dock and stepping spot for the birds. The ducks go in and play, and I’ve seen the chicks stand on the dock and drink the water. Keep in mind that the chicks are almost fully feathered at this point, and the ducks are maybe 50% feathered, and it’s July, so it’s always warm. We will move the chicks in with the chicken flock and move the ducklings in with the duck flock once they are big enough. But for now, they are doing very well being together. Our adult birds free range together but have separate shelters and runs. They are so much fun!! Just thought I’d share! :)

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