Chickens and Ducks cohabitating?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jajika, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. Jajika

    Jajika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    Hi Group:

    Will chickens and ducks live successfully side by side?

    I suddenly have an interesting situation.

    I have my chickens fenced in in a very large part of my orchard with five fruit trees and lots of bushes. I have two coops inside
    the yard.

    I also have visiting Mallards when they migrate south to north and north to south twice a year. We live near Matadero Creek in Palo Alto, CA. They are very cute. They run around my yard and eat some scratch I put out once day. Of course they are wild. Although they know they are safe on my property, I would never do anything to harm them or frighten them.

    They don't stay, so the notion that they won't migrate isn't true in my case.

    Well, I discovered about 10:30 PM last night one male still sitting in my yard. I saw him earlier in the day, which is not unusual for one to hang around a little longer, but this late at night.

    They others came this morning and then left. It's three hours later and this guy is still here.

    He has food and water, and I'm thinking a bad wing.

    I'll watch him for a while longer and see what happens.

    Should I let him just live in the yard? Won't he get lonely? Should I try to get them into the chicken yard?


    Geri in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I don't have ducks, but............

    Keeping female ducks and chickens together is not a problem. However, drakes have "equipment" for mating and chickens are not suited for this type of mating. (chickens mate by a cloacal "kiss") So a drake can injure/kill a hen by trying to mate with her.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
  3. Jajika

    Jajika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    Hi Happy Chooks:

    Thanks so much. Never thought of that, but of course it makes sense.

    If he continues to hang around, I'll let him "live" in the oiut side area and not try and put him in the chicken yard.

    Thanks again for the sensible advise.

  4. SharlaC

    SharlaC New Egg

    Jan 31, 2013
    So I have an odd situation too. When my chickens were younger (right after Easter last year) someone threw a baby duckling over our fence, and by the time I noticed the new addition, she had learned to huddle up with the chickens. I don't know where she came from and despite everything I researched on how to help her on her way, or even to detach her from the chickens, she refused to go. She kinda just became part of the brood and took very well to me. When she was probably 3-4 months old (so mid summer) she became NOISY and very clingy to me! I cannot tell you how many times I accidentally stepped on her and kicked her because she was always under my feet. She even would try to keep my children away from me though she NEVER really attacked them. She would just get between us and get even noisier. I asked our local farm and feed store about getting a drake to solve the issue. It worked like a charm! I also kinda hoped that the drake, who was semi-wild, would get her to fly south for the winter.

    Well here it is in January, and the pair is still here AND living in my chicken coop. My hens aren't bothered by them, and they seem very content there. I finally gave in and decided to give them an little pond and duck house. They use the pond daily, but prefer to head into the coop at night with the hens. Because I was worried about their overall well-being I even moved them across the Pacific Northwest when we relocated back to Oregon from Montana. I figured they would either freak out and move on once they saw us trying to pen up the chickens, or once they got to their new home leave. NOPE! They walked (as if trained) right into the pet carrier with the chickens!!!! And once home in Oregon, they stayed. Now its January, they are still here and the female has laid a huge clutch of eggs! She is not sitting on them yet, but there is more and more every day! Of course she laid them right in the chicken nesting box! So now my chickens set on the whole nest to lay their eggs. She doesn't even try to keep me away from her nest either. I go in 1-2 times a day to refill food and water and to collect my hen eggs. (I am surprised no hens have gone broody yet!) Yet every night her and her drake return to the nest and roost in with the chickens!

    So far no issues have arose between the two types of birds, and also the drake doesn't abuse the hens or the female mallard! No missing feathers. I have seen him pin her under the water and mate with her, but he leaves the hens alone and doesn't ruff up the female. This goes against everything I have read and learned. I know you should have 4 or more females per one drake and that drakes can even hurt the hens. I don't know whether to just let the birds be as long as there is peace between all of them or try something more. I even separated the chickens from the ducks one day and the darn ducks flew up over the panels to get into the chickens yard and into the coop. I give up. I would just take away her nest too, especially since its SO early for her to be nesting, but that isn't going to solve me issue of them living with the chickens. And we have some beautiful landscaped bird ponds that I will relocate the babies to once they are fledged. So I guess it is possible for the two types of birds to live together, but from what I hear its really rare!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by