Advice needed on Integrating mixed age and species birds

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DrRocco, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. DrRocco

    DrRocco Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 17, 2014
    Springfield, IL
    This winter, a critter of some sort got in my coop and killed all but one bird in my 3 year old flock. We've been planning to repopulate with baby chicks this spring and thought it might be fun to throw some ducks in the mix. Currently, I have the single 3 year old Buff Orpington alone in the coop, 8 chicks (just picked up from the store today) in the brooder, and 4 ducks scheduled to ship from the hatchery in about 10 days. I'd know that 8 weeks is the sweet spot for integrating young birds into an existing flock, but I wonder if this is necessary since the existing flock is only 1 bird. Also, I'm curious if the 10 day age difference between the chickens and ducks will prevent me from keeping them in the same brooder. I'd love to hear any advice any of you could offer. Thanks in advance!!
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I do not know anything about chickens and ducks.

    However, with the older hen and the babies. She is not going to like them. However, because there are so many, she won't have the energy to chase all of them all the time. Set up some one way gates, where the chicks can fit through, but a bigger bird can't follow them, some hideouts, and I would integrate them much younger than 8 weeks.

    Monday my chicks will be 3 weeks old, they are out in the big girls run, behind lattice panels, they can run through the panels like water, but they go out on the big girls side. If the big birds get too close, they duck back in to safety.

    Mrs K
    1 person likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome Back!

    Here's how I integrated chicks young(4 weeks old):

    Ducks and chicks can get along...but...from what I've read.....
    biggest problem is that ducks make a wet mess of a brooder and that is not good for the chicks.
    Same goes for older ducks and chickens....they have different housing and nutrition needs.
    Some folks seem to keep them together just fine,
    others have had problems and keep them separated.

    Might want to do some researching on that:
    advanced search>titles only> ducks and chicks
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    You don't want to brood chicks and ducks together. Not cause of the age difference, because of the species difference. Ducklings are incredibly messy and keep things damp. Damp is deathly for baby chicks. Just plan to separate them until they can all go outside together, or have a very, very large brooder.

    I agree with Mrs K about the integration. The single hen will be outnumbered, so she will have to accept the chicklets.
  5. DrRocco

    DrRocco Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 17, 2014
    Springfield, IL
    All very helpful information! Thanks guys!

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