Differences between ducks and chickens?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Chicks Galore3, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

    Dec 16, 2011
    Okay, folks. I have become smitten with ducks. I want to get some (2?) in the spring. But before I do that, I want to know if I can care for them properly. I have 22 chickens and I am wondering how different (or similar) they are to chickens. What are the basic needs of ducks?
  2. lightchick

    lightchick Crowing

    Apr 3, 2014
    It depends on the duck breed, but one thing for sure is that they are messy! They'll spill water.
    I know that you can keep them with chickens too. I just read a lot about them and I'm THINKING about getting one, but not sure yet.......maybe next year. Some of them are really noisy such as Pekins. It really depends on the breed though....I want Khaki Campbells or Runners. (because they are good layers.)
  3. Amykins

    Amykins Crowing

    May 11, 2013
    I'm pretty new to duck ownership, but I raised chickens throughout my childhood. Ducks and chickens are WAY different. For starters, I think ducks are smarter and more personable (sorry chicken lovers!) Ducks are very silly, silly creatures! They'll keep you entertained for hours. They can also be very affectionate and can be trained to some extent.

    They do have different needs, though. First, obviously, is dietary. Second is access to water, both for bathing, drinking and bill-flushing, and third is company. Ducks do best kept in groups, chickens tend to be better adjusted if they're flying solo...er, no pun intended.

    Again, take my words with a grain of salt, I'm VERY new to duck-dom but I'm relaying my own experience as well as all the research and book reading I've done!
  4. Richb353

    Richb353 Chirping

    Love me some Cayuga and Welsh Harlequin:
    Unlike chickens, these guys wander the yard at random, but always in their flock. I find it relaxing, like watching a school of fish but on a larger scale. If you watch them long enough you will notice the subtle differences in their quack and behavior. Some are shy, some are talkative, all seem to have a unique curiosity about everything.

    Cayuga and Welsh Harlequin breeds are said to be relatively quiet ducks. Every once in a while a couple will let out a healthy "quack", but most of the time it sounds like they are chatting among themselves. They forage most of the day, but in the morning and at dusk they come running at feeding time. This is important at night, after they have gathered for food, they are easy to herd into their pen for safety.

    I feed my herd by hand as much as practical. Most of my family are city folk, so they are tickled to be so close to ducks. I might feed them by hand as part of my routine, but after my 4 year old nephew feeds the ducks his daycare hears about it for weeks!

  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Since i own a lot of each i think i am able to give a good perspective.. i don't consider one superior to another each have advantages and disadvantages really depends on the purposes.

    Mess is the top complaint with people used to chickens and move onto ducks. they are messy, it would be foolish to say otherwise that said it's a tradeoff for their massive ability to forage, eat bugs and generally healthy nature, plus many breeds are good layers some even exceed chickens.

    Ducks don't return to roost, so many will require encouragement to get in at night, i teach all my ducks to herd, so it's not that bad but chickens are easier in that regard. Ducks don't need ponds but do need bathing water, so that can be pans, kiddy pools, troughs or super elaborate set-ups(check out the pond/pool thread!) Most duck breeds don't fly but do double check, i actually own two breeds that fly but i leave full flight and free range the scovies no issues there.

    I'll give you the raising ducklings sticky and recommend Storey's guide to ducks.


    I do personally enjoy how ducks are easier to meld, chickens have some nasty flock politics don't get me wrong newbies can always be tricky but i raise my main flock where young free range with their mothers and i keep quite a few drakes in this flock, no issues at all.. my chickens are broken down to many smaller flocks.. they just don't mesh as nicely, chickens IME.. so that is definitely a tick in the pro to ducks box lol
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014

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