Advice on raising ducklings and chicks together???

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by barnyard betty, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. barnyard betty

    barnyard betty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone out there have any words of wisdom on raising ducks and chickens together?
    I have an adult flock of chickens, and about 21 baby chicks and 2 ducklings (the chicks and ducklings are about a week apart in age...chicks about 2 weeks and ducklings about a week)
    Any special feeding advice with ducks as opposed to chickens...I hear you shouldn't give ducklings the medicated chick feed...so what is best to give? What homemade treats can ducks have (oats? bread? greens? scratch? etc)
    Can adult ducks eat chicken layer food?
    Any advice on if chickens and ducks will get along and be able to share the same coops and yard...how and when to introduce them, and if I can start putting the ducklings in with the chicks now or not.
    Thank you for any advice you can share....these are my first ducklings...so excited!!![​IMG]
     
  2. luvmydux

    luvmydux Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have been raising my ducks and chicks together since I started. I feed everyone starter to begin with (non-medicated for the ducklings) and then switch them to waterfowl pellets when they get older. I suppose you could feed chicken layer instead, I choose waterfowl because it is a little less expensive. So far everyone is producing eggs, hatching eggs and doing very well. Good luck! My ducks eat anything we eat!
     
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  3. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd worry that the nasty little feathered dinosaurs would try to eat the ducklings
     
  4. barnyard betty

    barnyard betty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Luvmydux....is waterfoul feed similar to gamebird feed? Also do ducks need grit as chickens do? And is there a right way and wrong way to introduce ducks and chickens? Can I put the ducklings and chicks together now...or wait until they are older?
     
  5. luvmydux

    luvmydux Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First of all let me preface with I am not an expert but.......I have introduced ducks/chicks/babies at all different times and never had any problem. My birds comingle and when I get something new (usually it will be at least 2), I introduce them and keep eye at first but so far I have never seen a problem. I am not sure if game bird feed is the same as waterfowl feed but what I feed has 20% protein. My birds also free range and get "animal quality bread" from the local Aunt Millies outlet. My birds are nice and heavy and great egg producers, so I have not yet seen a problem with the food. I am a hobbyist that has a fairly large collection. I started with just ducks but then shortly after that I got into chickens. My newest thing is geese. They all hang out together! I am not sure if the ducks eat the grit but it is offered to everyone. Oyster shells are available at all times too.
     
  6. luvmydux

    luvmydux Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, and since I have blue kiddie pools for my ducks/geese to play in, I do not allow ducklings in the area until I am sure they can get out of the pool if they start getting wet or I will sometimes wait until they have ALL their feathers in. Ducklings can drown!!!
     
  7. barnyard betty

    barnyard betty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just worry that my adult hens will be mean and peck at the younger ones. I have been putting my older chicks (they are about 6 weeks old) in a small enclosed area that is inside my chicken yard so they can check each other out but not have contact and only a couple of my hens seem to really be interested and want to start showing them who's boss. So I'm not sure if these hens will just peck 'em real good once or twice and be done with it or what. Guess it depends on if the chicks back down really quick or try to challenge them. My fear is that when I do release them out there, there will be a serious injury to one of the chicks....maybe I'm just being over anxious though lol!


    Do you think it would be wise to introduce the chicks one or two at a time or larger groups? (I have 11 of the 6 week old chicks and then about 21 chicks that will be joining them all in about 4-5 weeks...oh, and my two ducklings whenever they get old enough)
    I think a few at a time would be best so I can monitor what's happening. Some suggest putting them in there at night?? How is that done? Place them in the coop a few hours before dawn?
    I know they will establish their own pecking order eventually...I just want to facilitate that process as smoothly as possible without any injury.
    I think it's great you have a nice mix....I get the feeling next I will end up with geese as well haha!

    So how do you keep the chickens from eating the duck food and ducks from eating chicken food or is it ok for them to share? Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom on this! [​IMG]
     
  8. luvmydux

    luvmydux Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would definitely recommend larger groups because they kinda group together and your hens would probably be less willing to mess with them. Chickens do have a pecking order and that will have3 to be established no matter what. I have not ever seen any of my hens try to hurt a chick. But make sure when you introduce that you can monitor for a bit. All my poultry gets waterfowl food so there is no sharing or different foods. I have had great luck with the waterfowl food but don't know if there are any long term problems, so far I can't see how there would be. You will not be able to have them eat different foods though if they are housed together most likely. Good luck!! I am adding 21 new chicks to my flock this weekend that are about 6 weeks old. I am not at all concerned. Good luck!! Geese are awesome by the way!
     
  9. barnyard betty

    barnyard betty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the advice and encouragement! That totally makes sense that releasing a bigger group would allow them to band together and be more imposing to any bossy hens. I brought out one of the chicks into the yard the other day and kept my hands on the chick while allowing any older hens to come check her out...and there were about 3 hens that immediately rushed over and pecked...or attempted to peck the poor chick. After the first peck I got wise and scooped the chick up when I felt she was about to get pecked. No blood was drawn or anything...but those hens sure looked mean, you know that look they get, and went straight for the chick.[​IMG]
    [​IMG] I think that experience just has me rattled...
    I was thinking about separating out the "mean girls" as I will call them...when I introduce the chicks, but I know they have to meet eventually.
    What type of geese do you have? What are their personalities like? Please post your experience when you release the 21 this weekend!
    Thanks again!!
     

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