Ducklings in with chickens?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by NoisyCricket, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. NoisyCricket

    NoisyCricket Songster

    Jun 3, 2011
    I have 10 ducklings (6 weeks old), that I have moved from the brooder (which was in the garage) into the chickens' "sunroom". It is on the back of the chicken house, 12X12 and is covered in plastic/plastic panels. They have an insulated dog house so they can stay warm at night.

    I moved them out 4 days ago. I haven't had a lot of time to spend with them the last few weeks, so they are afraid of me and everything else in the world, to the extent that they trample each other trying to run away. I currently have the chickens locked out, but would like to open the door during the day so the ducks can go out in the run, and the chickens can go in and turn the bedding for me. Will the chickens hurt the ducks since they are still so young? I have pullets and cockerals - 20-30 weeks old. Marens, Ameraucanas, and wyandottes. The ducks are runners and WH. I eventually want them to live together, but am not sure if I need to wait until the ducks are older.

    Right now when they see something they are afraid of, (which is most everything), the ducks hide in the dog house. I am not sure they would leave the room even if the door was open at this point. In a couple of weeks, I will have more time and can sit with them for a while each day to try to get them to be less terrified. Will they get braver as they get older? I don't need to handle them often, but want to be able to feed/water them without them killing each other. They are now on gro-cal pellets and they get tomatoes and peas as treats.

  2. MarieNC

    MarieNC Songster

    May 10, 2010
    Quite honestly, I wouldn't allow them together unsupervised at all. You never know what can happen and your ducklings are still very young. Wait until you have the time to sit and supervise the ducks and chickens together. Ideally I would wait until the ducklings are older. If the ducklings are terrified right now, allowing the chickens in with them will make things much worse, I feel. My ducks were probably three months old before I let them interact with the chickens, and even then I sat right with them the whole time. When I wasn't there, the ducks and chickens were separated. As far as the ducklings getting braver as they get older, I have found that trust is built up at a very early age with lots of hands on time, picking them up and cuddling them. Perhaps others can speak to this, but I think their personalities are pretty well set at 6 weeks old.
  3. QuackerJackFarms

    QuackerJackFarms Songster

    Jun 26, 2011
    You'll just need to watch them to be sure. My chickens will peck the ducks heads. And my ducks are full grown. I had a drake that would grab onto the chickens and pull their feathers out. So my experience right now is to have them separate.
    That being said, I've also had ducks that think they're chickens and they got along beautifully.
    The ducks will soak the chicken coop at some point so you might want to think about that.

    About calming down: Yes, they will. I have a couple 8 week old ducks right now. Raised inside, perfectly tame, giving my daughter kisses on the mouth.. etc.
    I put them outside last week and they're completely scared of me. They act like they have never seen a human before. I'm like, 'really'?

    But they are starting to remember who it is that feeds them. [​IMG]
  4. cuntryduckydude

    cuntryduckydude In the Brooder

    Oct 11, 2011
    We have 3 mallards and 2 Swedish all of which are in the same run as our chickens (Mostly silkies) The 3 mallards are just fine in there and do not have any problems with the chickens and are very friendly. My 2 Sweedish are the most scardy duckies I have ever seen, they do the same thing, almost run each other over trying to hide from anything and everything. The chickens however do not seem to care about any of the ducks, in fact my duckies even sleep in the coop with the chickens at night.
  5. iajewel

    iajewel Songster

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    My adult chickens and ducks live in harmony. Im not sure the ducks and chickens dont' think they are the same species, what ever that maybe? When they are little however I would never put them together. I don't know what breed of duck you have, I have Muscovy and the little buggers are just short Volassa (sp) Raptors. They would kill and eat a baby chick in a heart beat. Now the adults wont', but the babies sure might. I have seen them kill each other in an open yard just because one was slower. then of course you have to hide the evidence by eating it. More then one morning I have woken up to see about 6 ducks gathered in a tight circle and I know.. I just know I dont' want to go look.
    The best way to avoid this is feed them meat, however with baby chicks if you have Muscovy you are just asking for trouble.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  6. skillswife

    skillswife Songster

    Jul 19, 2010
    SW Montana
    My ducks and chickens reside together and have since my ducks were babies. I have Rouens and Pekins for ducks and Cochins, Brahmas,EE's, etc....for chickens. My drake Rouen did get into a fight with a bantam cochin rooster on the day the females started laying, he got super protective but he hasn't done it since that day and they all seem to do well. I think you just have to watch them, my biggest issues with them together is the ducks are food hogs....and they shouldn't have medicated feed. but I don't feed medicated feed so it isn't a problem.
  7. MrsKemmerlin

    MrsKemmerlin Songster

    Feb 14, 2011
    Round O, SC
    My ducks and chickens are pretty happy together [​IMG] I certainly would not advise just cold turkey putting them together, as my hens didn't like my new additions at first. DH and I had a "mini" coop that we put in the run and fenced off a corner for the ducks as their little home. They were not able to get out at first and it let them get used to my monster sized girls and my girls get used to them. Did that for about a week and then we spaced the fence out so the ducks were the only ones that could fit through the "hole" - they came out into the big run when they felt it was okay and they went running back in when they didn't. Worked absolutely great! Took all the fencing out after they were out of the little run more than being in it!

  8. MrsKemmerlin

    MrsKemmerlin Songster

    Feb 14, 2011
    Round O, SC
    Quote:Love the comparison, too funny! [​IMG] So glad I have not had the same experience with my Muscovies as you have had, however!
  9. NoisyCricket

    NoisyCricket Songster

    Jun 3, 2011
    Thanks for the replies. I think I will keep them separate for a while longer. The ducks have been doing better the last two days. When I let them know I am coming into their coop, they head into their dog house and wait for me to leave. They have only been getting in panic mode when I go in front of the dog house, which I have been doing to put their food down, and then I have been tossing some tomato pieces into the doorway. I am hoping in another week, they will chill out. The only problem right now is getting them out of the dog house so I can clean it. [​IMG]

    The chickens free range all day, and the ducks can head/see them through the door. The roos will be moving into a bachelor pad in a couple of weeks, so if the ducks have calmed down by then, I will try opening their door and letting the chickens in when I am there. The chickens will likely only come in a couple at a time to pick around. I have a panel I can put across the run gate so the chickens can fly over to free range, but the ducks won't.
  10. duckdad

    duckdad Chirping

    Dec 4, 2011
    Quote:...oh yes they will !

    wait. Ducks jump like an NBA allstar. Its the prelude to bump-flight then actual flying whether it be short or long distance.

    If you want your ducks to calm down and cooperate you are going to have to handle them and let them bond. Otherwise they will operate on instinct and a ducks instincts say RUN when ANYTHING approaches thats not duck.

    They are at the bottom of the food chain and they are keenly aware of this and their ability to survive with other animals around is easy....they run or hide. They WILL get braver and bolder when they bond or 'imprint' because then they become part of the herd. You being the biggest and the one that feeds, is who they will model their behavior after. If they trust you and quit fearing you then they will not fear the other animals in your yard...not as much anyway. They will still exhibit good common sense when it comes to eating or being eaten...Right now, being in with other creatures they don;t know, they are scared of their own shadow. Thats what keeps them alive when those other animals happen to be hostile.

    It don;t take much...feed them treats from your hand. Hold them and rub beaks and let them relax. When you can get a duckling to fall asleep in your;ve got it made. Do that a few times and that ducks gonna follow you anywhere. They don;t trust easily but when they DO they are the most loyal creature on the planet. Loyal like a good 'ol hound dog.
    Ducks stress like a NY the point of vibrating because they get so nervous. You don;t have to 'coddle' them all...just figure out who is the most dominant and bond with a couple out of the 10 that the rest will follow.

    besides, you'll enjoy it as much as the ducklings do... Once they get feathered in then they can hang with the chickens, goats who ever they like. Until then keep them separated because ducklings are 100% defenseless if they get attacked when they are young. Even a small turtle can kill a duckling.

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