Chicks Vs Ducklings

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Nyxsie, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. Nyxsie

    Nyxsie Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 30, 2016
    Does anyone have personal experience raising both chicks and ducklings? I'm curious what you'd rate each on a scale of 1-10 in difficulty for raising, 10 being most difficult.

    As of now I have not raised chicks- just starting my journey with 2 ducklings.

    I've read ducklings are a lot messier. When you add in other factors such as water, friendliness in the flock, diet, bonding with human caretaker, etc which do you feel is the easier experience? Which did you feel was more rewarding?
  2. itsasmallfarm

    itsasmallfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2016
    never raised ducks before (but know people you have and have talked quite a bit about it on the forums) for chicks it depends what type you get Cornish cross meat chickens i find to e quite a bit of work raising them (having to give feed 2-3 times a day, changing bedding every few days, water etc.. i would rate them maybe a 6 out of 10. for laying hens i find them to be very simple to raise just check them in the morning to let them out of there night pen into my paddock, check water level and check feed level and that's it maybe a 2.5 out of 10.
    1 person likes this.
  3. fscvics

    fscvics Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 16, 2016
    Central Florida

    When I was a teen we had what we called banties or game chickens (think feral chickens) that we'd tamed and collected eggs from, in addition to a few Americaunas my parents picked up. In all of those years I only had two chickens I had any relationship with, both of them stranded-chick rescues that thought they were people. Then a neighbor's duck laid a couple eggs in the yard and we hatched them under a hen. I can't honestly say I miss any of our chickens (though I wish my parents had a broody I could borrow right now) but I miss those ducks. They were messier in the sense that they were wet and their pool had to be cleaned but they didn't tear everything up like the chickens and they'd rather follow us around and be in the middle of our business than do ducky stuff. They were chatty and fun. Now the hens were incredible mamas and some of the roosters were a bit friendly but if I had to pick based solely on my very limited experience, I'd say the ducks were generally easier and more enjoyable. I can't really put them on a 1-10 scale because it would depend so much on variables in our situations but like I said, I really miss those ducks.
    2 people like this.
  4. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Like @fscvics said, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. I started with chicks - a couple of several different breeds so I could determine which fit best with my goals. I consider them to be a "gateway" animal. LOL

    Chicks are definitely less messy than ducks, but they just don't have the same personality or, IMO, smarts. I find the more intelligent an animal it is, the more challenging it is to raise (I have chickens, ducks, rabbits, cats, and dogs).

    My Muscovies behave more like dogs than ducks - they will follow me around, even if they know I don't have any treats. They seem to actually enjoy my company, whereas the chickens are more interested in doing their own thing unless they know you have food. When you look into the ducks' eyes, you can see the wheels turning...sometimes, I think the "lights are on, but no one's home" with the chickens. Don't get me wrong - the chickens are fun to watch and most people want chicken eggs so you can sell them, but interacting with them isn't the same as with the ducks. I'm sure others will feel differently.

    I'm going to be honest: even with the chickens producing more eggs and having delicious meat in their own right, I give the edge to the ducks. And ducklings may be the cutest creatures on earth. [​IMG]

    (cute dog in your avatar, BTW!)
    2 people like this.
  5. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    I've raised both.
    I find ducklings to be more fun. Messier due to water messes, but more fun.

    I didn't find either difficult to deal with though.
    I had a batch of ducklings that somewhat bonded to me, but were more bonded to each other. The second batch of ducklings were not as friendly, but I didn't spend near as much time with them as I did the first batch. Third batch was a duo and they bonded to eachother and a bit to me as well
    The chickens - they are friendly and have no qualms about walking up to us and see if we might have snacks for them. One will complain that I'm in her chair. Same one will sit with DH until she finds something more interesting to do.

    Non water - my ducks make less of a mess. They drill, but they don't scatter garden bits all over like the chickens do. My ducks only come onto the deck when their food bin is empty. The chickens think they should live up here. If they ddin't poop up here, I'd not mind, but they do, so I mind and they get booted off the deck.
    2 people like this.
  6. Bills vs Beaks

    Bills vs Beaks True BYC Addict

    Aug 31, 2016
    NJ USA
    My Coop
    In brooding them it's a diffence between dust and water lol. You can keep chicks in a cardboard box, bit there will be lots of dust. Dost ask me where they get it, but they do and they will make it AIRBORNE! Ahchoo...scuse me. With ducks you have to keep them in a plastic tote box and wash it out because of all the water they will mess.

    When they are grown up not much changes. Dust and water, respectively. Speaking of... chickens do tend to less respectful of personal space. They are awl ways getting underfoot when I'm trying to move their tractor with my tractor. I have to STOP and WAIT for them to GET out the WAY(I wish my lil tractor had a horn...). When the ducks hear the engine, they get out the way first, then they watch the proceedings. So back to the water stuff...take it from a complete stanger(would I lie to you?),it's much more fun to watch ducks bath in water than chickens bath in dust...atchoo...scuse me.(also see gray text at bottom of my post)

    Now I'm gonna try to answer some of your questions instead of soap boxing. I think I adressed water, yes? Good moving to numero dos, it's mostly the same,but ducks have slightly less potential to make each other bleed due to rounded bills, not beaks (shoulda been my name, darn). They have less tendency to ostracize the lowest on the pecking order, at least in my experience. Did you know I have a chicken that the others won't let out the coop? Coz they hate her? Well I do and now you know. Number three,diet. Duck tend to eat more green leafy stuff than chickens along with some clear liquid stuff known as dihydrogen monoxide... watching them dabble is a lot of fun too.
    Friendlyness with me, they are the same as chickens. If you spend lots of time with them,they get used to being picked up. The difference comes when you kiss the back of their head and the ducks smells great, imo, and the chicken makes you...ahhht---hold it...I DON'T KISS THE CHICKENS! And the ducks only come runny around my feet when I actually HAVE treats for them, not just whenever they see me or any other big moving object(like a tractor). And the ducks are more distrustful of strangers than the chickens are. Makes you feel special when they cuddle up to you and won't go near your best friend or your mom.
    Ease of taking care of is better in ducks because filling the pools don't count, you get a lot of enjoyment from it, and with ducks laying eggs in the morning, you only have to check for eggs once a day! Chickens lay all day and if you don't collect soon they will peck with sharp beaks and EAT their own eggs. Not that you won't go out to your ducks at least three times a day anyway....

    Hope I've answered your questions and sorry for wasting your time by making you read this stuff.... good luck!
    Edit: I would rate ducks 2 and chickens 5(and I'm reeeally generous there[​IMG])
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
    2 people like this.
  7. I have raised both.....Besides the water mess with Ducklings I choose Ducklings every time.....They do not require the temp to be so accurate....Chicks are Dusty...They also peck each other if room is not correct...They smell bad...

    Ducklings are fun...They imprint on you if you spend lots of time with them...They love to play...Puppies in feathered suits....They can be put outside at earlier age with proper housing....

    I rate Chickens about an 8 and Ducks a 10.......

    1 person likes this.
  8. Nyxsie

    Nyxsie Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 30, 2016

    The water messes seem to be the largest downfall of ducks. Yet, at the same time, it's so fun to watch them in the water I guess that kind of makes up for it. :D Looks like ducks are winners again.

    I've found it really nightmarish to clean up after my ducklings, but at this point I just try to take my mind elsewhere and ignore anything cold and wet that manages to touch me while I'm cleaning it.

    I definitely noticed chickens don't care much about your personal space from the ones here. They move out of your way when walking but don't dare to go where the chickens are if you are holding any type of plastic bag (no matter what's inside). You have about 5 seconds to start throwing food or you can expect them to start flying at you. Sometimes you get pecked here and there too if you go to them with nothing.

    I love to watch the ducklings bathe. They look SO HAPPY when they get in the water that it brings joy to me as well.

    Bills not Beaks would be a good name but I like the current one you have too. It also matches the thread title nicely hahaha. Is the chicken they don't let in the coop younger or something? I've got a lot of laughed listening to my ducklings run their beaks along stuff and slurp up water. They really are adorable.

    As much as I learn from research, I can still learn more from hearing about personal experiences from people- it's also interesting and fun! I don't consider this wasting time at all. I'm glad you take the time to write a full response. :)

    Seems like you have to spend a large amount of time with ducklings for them to bond much with you. The chicken you mentioned that complains and sits with him sounds like she has a strong personality. Sometimes I let the chickens here roam in my yard(its fenced) if they are free running the property. I didn't even know they came up on the deck until I saw a poo.

    Hahaha I can see how you would say chickens are a gateway animal. The property I share has 15 hens and that's what got me interested. In the end I decided to go with the ducklings though. I definitely want chickens in the future.

    I really wish ducklings were intelligent enough to not poop at least in one area of their housing so they have a clean place to rest. :( Lately I've been questioning the intellect of my male ducklings. When it comes to my female, I can see her thinking and I can guide her and help her. The male seems like he is driven entirely by fear though. I can't help him do anything because he will flee, but even without my interference I don't see him try to figure things out. The female has to think for him, but unless he's just one step behind her... not even that works. I think the female will be a lot of fun as she grows older.

    I like ducks more, but I also agree chickens are fun to watch and I enjoy being around chickens as well.

    My dog. She's been such a troublemaker these last few days. She's on a real roll with bad behavior this morning lol. She's not terrorizing my ducklings though so it's all good.

    What breed is the duck is your avatar? It's very nice looking.

    I'm guessing the stranded chicks were under the impression the people were their family? I always found it interesting when a baby animal is raised by a different species from a very young age. I wonder at what point they start to wonder why they can't communicate effectively etc. For example, if an orphaned donkey was raised in a herd of cows. A point for ducks. I wonder if you got lucky with the ducks, I've read many aren't all too friendly.

    Whoops, it completely slipped my mind that different breeds could be much easier or more difficult. If ever I got chicks, they would be future layers for sure. 72 chickens to start out? Haha if I had the time and money, sounds like what I would do.
  9. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    I guess she's just lucky that she's cute, right? Is she a pittie? I have one and while she's curious about the ducks and chickens, she hasn't gone after any of them, either. She's very motherly and I'm pretty sure, given the chance, she'd raise some chicks and ducklings like they were her own. lol

    Thank you - my avatar is a Muscovy duck. She was one of my original group, but was recently killed by a hawk. Not that I would be happy about any of them being taken by a predator, but she was my favorite, and the friendliest. She hatched out 8 ducklings in the spring, so she lives on in the flock.
  10. Nyxsie

    Nyxsie Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 30, 2016
    I'm not 100% sure on her breed to be honest, but I've been calling her an American Bulldog. I felt she largely resembles a Scott's type American Bulldog. There is a chance she is a pit though. They are really hard to tell apart when they are puppies. I got her on Craigslist, she was found on the side of the road. (they held her for 3 weeks before giving her away but no one claimed her).

    Aspen has tried playing with the chickens and ducklings, and she licked some chicken butts when the chickens pushed there butts on her face or walked really close, but no real issues yet. When ever she tries to pounce after them I immediately go "Aht!" and then either make her lay down or do an alpha roll. She almost never does it but I can see she has to try really hard to resist. I'm just hoping she wants to be friends with them, and that it's not the same type of play she does with her toys.


    Edit: The water is not actually black lol. That's due to the lightning and because I increase the contrast.

    I try to intensify her training as much as possible when it seems likely she will succeed. I've got her to the point where I was able to throw food right next to her and even one piece on her and she didn't react much when the chickens swarmed in. She just looked around at all of them and seemed a little concerned.

    Sorry to hear that. :( She was really beautiful- I love the colors. Glad that she produced some ducklings before she went though.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016

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