Ducks vs Chickens

bigz1983

Songster
Aug 9, 2016
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442
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Michigan
I have had chickens for about 2 years now and I'm getting tired of how they don't accept new flock mates. It makes things stressful for me and new chickens.

I have never owned ducks before but I have been doing some research on them.

I have read that Ducks
-Are not as territorial as chickens and will accept new flock mates easily
-Are very winter hardy because of their water proof coat
-Are less likely to get fleas/mites(because they swim)
-Stay cooler in the summer/less likely to get heat stroke(Also because they swim)
-Don't need roost or nest boxes requiring simpler housing structures

The fact that chickens don't accept new flocks mates is really making me mad.
If its true that ducks are so much better with this then I might sell off all my chickens now and get ducks.

Any advice or experience here?
 
Sep 2, 2018
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When we had ducks they were always messy and poopy. They swim in their water and poop in it. They stink a lot more than chickens also.
That "stinks" depends on how you keep them. If your ducks have a lot of grassy, shrubby area to run throughout the day and are kept inside only over night they stink less than chickens. My ducks have a separate sleeping area where each has build its own bed in the straw/hay i provided and they don't poop there. Yes, ducks are messy eaters and they splash their water around, but you can prepare for that - spill free feeders, drainage,...
On the other hand each duck has a personality. I did not plan to name my ducks, but ended up naming them after their character.
Adding newbies to the flock works better than with chickens, if you follow some simple rules:
If you have ducklings, introduce them to the flock during their first guarded visits to the outdoor, later have them fenced in their separate area so that they can see each other before letting them entirely loose- easy part.
Introducing one lonely bird to you flock, you should first keep the newbie separate so that they can see each other and talk. There will be one or more of your ducks that are interested in the newbie (usually the low-ranking birds), have those join the newbie on its side of the fence and if the newbie befriended them you can let them all loose.
The challenge is to join two complete flocks (drakes and ducks) that already have a social hierarchy. There is no way to avoid the drakes fighting out a new quacking-order.
I got these advice's from a neighbor and friend who has held poultry his whole life, everything from chicken to turkey - now he is homing a retired horse and a donkey…
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
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South Park, Colorado, USA
-Are not as territorial as chickens and will accept new flock mates easily
My ducks were significantly harder to integrate with each other than my chickens. The attempted violence was alarming and integration ended up taking over a month of a look no touch setup. Once the integration was over though they all continue to behave as one flock and has not been too dramatic.
-Are very winter hardy because of their water proof coat
I live somewhere with a LOT of winter. The ducks do far better in winter than chickens. In retrospect I'd consider having only ducks and not chickens for this reason. The ducks don't care about snow and will barrel out into 2 feet of it. The ducks don't care about the wind and will just bed down and tuck up their feet and tuck their heads. I will find the ducks sleeping outdoors (by choice) in virtually all weather whereas the chickens will hide in their coop for hours (by choice) if it's too windy or too snowy.
-Are less likely to get fleas/mites(because they swim)
This past summer I had a major mite infestation. The chickens had them, the ducks did not. There easily could have been cross contamination between the two coops as they are only a few feet apart, but this didn't happen. Maybe I was just lucky, but maybe the ducks just fare better.
-Stay cooler in the summer/less likely to get heat stroke(Also because they swim)
We don't have hot summers so I'm not sure about this.
-Don't need roost or nest boxes requiring simpler housing structures
Building housing is easier for ducks. Think dog house, just a box with deep bedding in the bottom, a door you can lock up if needed, a larger opening/duck door may be needed than on a chicken coop, and a lower ramp or access directly from the ground.


A few other things. My ducks are louder, messier, and eat more food than my chickens. Bedding needs the help of humans to change/refresh it regularly, whereas chickens scratch/break down/compost things on their own.
 

Soon2BChixMom

Herding ducks and Wrangling chickens
Jan 8, 2017
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That "stinks" depends on how you keep them. If your ducks have a lot of grassy, shrubby area to run throughout the day and are kept inside only over night they stink less than chickens.
That would be true if you free range chickens- if they aren't confined they stink less.

@bigz1983 Some say ducks don't stink, but they do. They swish their food in water and that water smells. Their fresh poo smells horrible especially if it's freshly pooed on you! They also poo in their water. :D
I think that both chickens and ducks are interesting poultry to own. They each have their characteristics and benefits.
If you get muscovies, they appreciate roosts, but you wouldn't need them. I provide branches in their run, but not their house.
I find ducks are easier to herd in than chickens. Ducks seem to need more attention due to their water needs.
I would not get ducks just because you think (or read) they are easier to care for or you've read they are more accepting of new members. However, I would get them if you want to expand your poultry keeping hobby.
 
Sep 2, 2018
7,842
29,063
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Big Chimney, WV
My Coop
My Coop
-Are not as territorial as chickens and will accept new flock mates easily
[…]
-Stay cooler in the summer/less likely to get heat stroke(Also because they swim)
We don't have hot summers so I'm not sure about this.
We had some quite hot days this summer (99°F+) and i remember my duckies were suffering. Even the kiddie pool wasn't of much help, they just sat voluntarily on their platform in the shade and slept the day away. Came out shortly before sunset and started a wet, noisy and messy pool-party that went on until i herded them back in.
 

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