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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Kdav247, Mar 19, 2012.
Do chickens and ducks do well together? Think to get a couple of ducks with a few Orpingtons.
What little I remember reading about the issue said that they will get along just fine, but that ducks need/want water, and chickens don't do well if their bedding or coop gets wet. But wait till someone else answers before you decide...
Ducks are incredibly messy compared to chickens. They throw water everywhere, and need to have deeper water to wash their noses in. They also need to bathe, like in a baby pool (hard plastic type) so that their oil gland doesn't clog up. I keep mine separate, to be sure the chickens have clean water at all times, and that the ducks can drench the place without offending the chickens.
I built a drinking station for the ducks, to keep the bedding dry. It's a wood frame around a plastic tote, with hardware cloth above it. Set the water in it, and all the splash drops through the wire into the pan. I need to empty it about every 3 days from a 3 gallon drinker. Otherwise, I would be mucking out the duck side daily to prevent mold and stink.
Outside they have a baby pool, pine needle bedding, over pea gravel. The chickens have sand, covered over with pine shavings.
Also, drakes can severely harm or even kill a hen. Fun fact of the day, drakes have a penis while roosters do not. If a drake tries to mate a chicken hen, he could really hurt her. Drakes tend to be jerks during mating season.
Unless they're raised together, they won't ever really be "friends", they'll have sub flocks and bickering between the groups unless they have a lot of free range space.
The bickering is different too. A duck will snake it's head out and grab, or muscle another bird around with their body. Chickens chest bump. Today I watched Hammie (who was raised with ducks) get into with my 9 pound Drake Earl. He was running because she kept after him. But if he decided to get back at her, he'd grab hold and not let go right away. She's asking for trouble, another reason I keep them separate. The other chickens are afraid of the ducks, they didn't grow up with them.
With limited space, they don't always mix that well. A lot of people have no issues though. I just prefer to be safe rather than sorry, and with Hammie how she is, and Earl how he is, combined with the mess and water.. separate works best for us.
Our BO hatched out some ducks as a favor to a friend. We ended up w/2 Welsh Harlequindrakes as our reward (we thought we had one of each). They stayed with the chickens until they hit adolescence. Our set up was such that they didn't ever go into the hen house - the damp issue wasn't an issue.
Once Clarence & Clancy hit puberty they started hassling the chicken ladies so we created another bird space specifically for ducks. They have a giant pool and trash the joint just like two sloppy college boys. they're happy & the ladies are, too!
We say separate!
Separate it is. Thanks. I'll have them mingle during recess and see what occurs. If the hens are bullied, then I will schedule different recess times. This will be something good for my son so observe so he knows not all animals "get along".
I never really thought about the ducks not getting along with chickens. We got 10 guineas and 2 ducks last Sept and then got 6 hens. We thought we had a male and a female Ancona duck but we have 2 males. We have never had a problem with any of them. We do let them free range for most of the day.
Maybe we just have 2 laid back ducks! They play with our big black lab any time they are out free ranging!