Adding ducks to the flock

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by RRLaney, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. RRLaney

    RRLaney Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So we have 16 ~ 1-2 year old hens and we just added a small pond feature to our yard. We want to add just a couple ducks, but we have lots of questions.
    What duck breeds are the best? Quietest? Cleanest? Bad fliers? Etc.
    Are there certain breeds that get along better with chickens?
    Is introducing ducks to chickens any different from integrating new chickens into the flock?
    Can they all share a coop? Nesting boxes?
    Do ducks roost?
    What kind of water filtration/pond considerations are there?
    Can they eat chicken food? Or if not, will the chicken she be okay eating duck food?
    Is two ducks enough?
    Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    The best breeds depend on what you want. Friendly? Good egg layers? Pretty to look at? Can't fly away? Personally I am biased towards Welsh Harlequins because I breed them and they are all of the above, but depending on what you want there are a lot of breeds that could work for you.

    Muscovies are the quietest duck breed and they also don't tend to be in the water as much as other breeds so they're a little less messy. However they aren't as good at egg laying and they are great fliers, meaning they may fly away if you don't keep after them to keep their wings clipped.

    Every domestic breed aside from domestic mallards and mucsovies are usually bad fliers and most can't even get off the ground.

    They could share a coop with the chickens but they can't navigate ramps well and they can't get to elevated nesting boxes. Plus they tend to lay wherever they feel like it anyway.

    They can eat the same feed as the chickens, yes, although and All Flock type feed would be better and would do good for all your birds.

    Two ducks is fine, and I would recommend two females if you plan to keep them with chickens. Three might be better; that way if you lose one you aren't left with one lonely duck.

    Let us know what you are primarily looking for in a duck and we can suggest some breeds :)
     
  3. RRLaney

    RRLaney Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much! That is incredibly helpful! We were thinking of only females anyways but maybe we will do 3.
    We mostly want friendly and quiet. We want eggs but we get plenty of chicken eggs so great layers isn't our #1 priority.
    My only concern after reading what you said is the ramps. Both of our coops have ramps, but one of them is a very short, not incredibly steep ramp. But once up the ramp they would have access to the nesting boxes no problem. We'd have to add a separate sleeping area for them if they wouldn't be able to make it up that.
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    A short wide ramp they could probably use, so that would likely be okay. I forgot to mention that if you decide to go with Muscovies, they actually do roost, while other breeds do not. If you don't mind keeping their wings clipped, it sounds like they might be a good match for you.
     
  5. RRLaney

    RRLaney Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2016
    Round Rock, TX

    Thanks. We might have to add another little enclosure next to the chicken coop for them, the ramp isn't that wide. How much space would 3 ducks need?

    I also read somewhere that they don't always put themselves to bed at night like chickens do...is that true? Is it hard to get them in the coop at night?
     
  6. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is your pond feature and do you plan to let the ducks in it?
    Ducks mess up water really really fast.
     
  7. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 12 chickens and 6 ducks living together. My original flock was 6 chicks and 2 ducklings who were raised together in the brooder, so as I've added more birds, they've all accepted each other. There is a little ramp into the coop, it's probably 12 inches tall or so? The ducks can waddle up it just fine.

    I have Rouens, Runners and a Muscovy. The Rouens are very LOUD. I find it hilarious because they're so vocal and get a ton of volume. One of the Runners has started hollering along with the Rouens and she's loud too! Although she's probably not a pure Runner, she's a mix, so maybe pure Runners aren't as loud. My Muscovy is quiet, and she's a sweet bird. This year I left her wings unclipped and I like seeing her flying around. I really worried about her leaving if her wings were unclipped, but she never goes far. She does like going up into trees.

    My ducks don't put themselves into the coop like the chickens do at night, but they do know the routine of bedtime. I used to have to herd them in at night but after a few nights of that, they now all head home in the evening and hang around outside the coop. Once they see me heading their way, they all file inside.

    Generally mine don't sleep inside the coop. They stay out in the yard all night. I've got a big coop with an attached chain link yard, covered with wire on top. I leave the little pop door open so they can come and go as they please, and the ducks spend almost all their time out in the yard. Usually they lay their eggs out there too, ignoring the nice nest box I made for them.

    Ducks are a lot of fun. How big is your pond by the way?
     

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