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Introducing ducks and chickens

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hello!

 

I acquired 3 Indian Runner ducklings about a week and half ago.  I'm estimating them at 2 weeks old.  Right now I have them in their brooder, but I am wondering how to go about integrating them in with my backyard flock of 5 chickens.  My chickens are a year old.  They have their coop and a run with free range from sun up to sun down on my property.  I am planning a separate coop for the ducks, but a shared run, and free range time from sun up to sun down.  The run is where the chicken's have their food and water. 

 

So....

 

How do I introduce the chickens to the ducklings so that it is not traumatic for anyone.  At what age would you move them to the "duck coop"?  I have read they are fully feathered at 8 weeks, that is when I am planning on moving them, but, I am not sure that is realistic. 

 

Any combined runner and chicken flocks here that can help me out?

post #2 of 3
I've never had runner ducks but I'd have had experience with in with introducing the chickens. What I did is take them out and they were ducklings and short little periods of times and just let them in the yard with the chickens while I supervise sitting with them. This let the chicken season and the duckling see the chickens and this got them all used to each other there there was some pecking but nothing serious. They will do fine in the same run but yes you should have two different coops my chickens do not like it when the ducks go into their Coop when they will attack them and vice versa. You should probably get a tub or baby pool for your Ducks so they can bathe or at least put them in a tub once a day so they won't develop something called wet feather which is where they cannot oil their feathers properly and they get dry and uncomfortable. It's good that you have the right now is ducklings it's easier to introduce ducklings that it is to introduce a full grown duck.
post #3 of 3

I had a trio of ducks, another trio of ducklings, a trio of chicken, a duo of ducklings and now a duo of chicks.

I currently have 4 ducks and 1 chicken and now the 2 new chicklets.

 

This is how I've introduced the new kids to the resident birds.

 

Babies spend the first week on the patio (or in the house for chicks). If existing birds pay attention, they can hear them.

Week 2, new kids start taking field trips to the yard with me for a bit to explore. I keep an eye on the big girls to make sure they play nice (ie... see them and keep going about their business). They are also put in the yard in a covered brooder so the big girls can investigate and actually hear the new kids.

As the new kids get bigger, they get a temp fenced area that allows everybody to see eachother, but nobody to get to each other - and longer times in the yard under supervision exploring.

 

Then the house gets a divider and they share space at night for a week or so. Then over night sharing.

 

It's a long process, but it seems to work. It tends to result in birds grouping as they arrived, but they do hang out together at times and share their pen during the summer.

Now that trio one is down to one duck, she hangs with trio 2. Duo 2 is gone. I have one chicken left and she sometimes hangs with the duck and sometimes they let her. So hopefully this new duo of chicks will give her some of her own to hang with.

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