ducks with the chickens?


11 Years
May 28, 2009
South Central, PA
We just got 2 mallards today and are trying to figure out whether to build a new structure, or keep them with the chickens. We have 17 large hens and one rooster in a 6x8x10 coop with a 10x20 enclosed run. We had thought about building a separate nighttime area under the goat's deck, which would be 4'x5', and letting them run with the goats during the day and having a small fenced in pond area within the goat run. However, What about keeping them with the chickens, and adding on a 5x5' pond area that has a door that will attach it to the run? Also, could we keep the ducks in that little pond/play area from about 10am to 4 or 5pm, and then put them back into the main run for the night? If not, that how can we keep the chickens from drowning in the pool (it will either be a 1' deep kiddie pool, or a 2' deep plastic tub.)

Here is the link to the current housing. The proposed outdoor pen would be on the goats side, under their deck and ramp. design/
There was a topic here last year that I read. In the topic thread thr poster was going to get read of his/her duck because the ducks where really mean to the chickens. I would suggest doing a search in the chicken form.
There was a topic here last year that I read. In the topic thread thr poster was going to get rid of his/her duck because the ducks where really mean to the chickens. I would suggest doing a search in the chicken form.
My experience with chickens and ducks in the same enclosure was not positive. I ended up separating them into a section for each due to the RIR's continually bothering the ducks. I have call ducks, jumbo peking, and muscove ducks and they all were picked upon by the RIR's. I thought that if I added more ducks than chickens that the "powers" would shift towards the ducks but it did not matter. My ducks are not aggressive and were always on the loosing side. Now that they are in their own enclosure, everyone...including myself is happier. Your experience may differ from mine, try it and see what happens.
I suggest keeping ducks seperate from chickens. I kept my ducks with my chickens for a while and quickly learned that it is not a good idea. The ducks totally trash the chicken's water. I had a small "pond" for the ducks and one of my chickens drowned in it. When the ducks went broody, the chickens pecked them terribly while they sat. It was a total disaster. They are kept seperately and it works much better.
I am keeping mine together. Last fall when we had flooding it was necessary and then I have made it work all winter but... it is not pretty- doable but not the best of situations... Although in my situation I am not sure I would be happy with them apart either.

Issues you have to work out in your situation

1 Water
3 Food
4 housing

As you can see the majority of the issues stem from water. What is working right now is to have buckets lined up with water... Although I have noticed as of lately that the ducks are hording the water by sitting on/in the buckets so I may have to adjust this yet again. For me I now have a very big ice bump where the water sits and will further tweak this aspect of life in the future. But it worked really slick for a month/month and a half.

I am not sure that I would trust chickens to be near the pond with the ducks. For the most part I am not seeing pecking or aggressive behavior in either the chickens or the ducks but I know the first month I did see a bit of this. And the roosters did try mating with the ducks which was very odd.

Food- Do your homework but you can make it work just as I have. I also have lots of feeders for the birds to find the food. Chickens have tried to hoard this area.

Otherwise I am trying to have my birds lay in nesting boxes and finding that everyone has different ideas about this. Had all the chickens laying in nesting boxes until this week where they have found a great hiding spot, Have yet to convince the ducks to lay in theirs.

The other thing is that ducks are messy- they are messy with the water, they are messy in their bedding. If you change out your bedding 1 time a month with ducks you WILL have to change it out a lot sooner. If I just had the chickens in the barn I don't think I would have to put down hay 2x a week- perhaps 1x per month. Ducks have tripled if not quadrupled the work in that space. But.... For me it makes the most sense, mostly thinking of winter. I am thinking of how to keep them a part come spring and right now not coming up with great ideas so they may just be stuck together

I have not dealt with a broody.... I have not had anyone die of suspicious death... Nor have I had the pecking issues... But I have to say the water/mess issue is a big one with keeping them together. If you can figure that out you will have a much smoother time.
We clean the coop out 2x a month already so the mess does not really bother us. What about building a 5x5' or 5x6' little enclosed pen area that has their pond and keeping them in there during the day (10am to 4pm)? We would build a small door that would attach to the chicken run, so at night and in the morning before we get outside, they would have shelter and an area to walk around in, but we would personally let only the ducks into the pond area. Also, they are going to be living in the shed next to the chicken coop until they get a bit older. so the chickens will be able to see them daily but not have access to them. Our rooster gets into the protector role very quickly and he protected 12, 6 week old chicks from the others right away. If we introduce him to the ducklings first and they get along, would the hens follow? I know there will be the pecking order and they will get bullied for a little bit, but I'm really hoping we can keep them all together.
As I have said we have had good luck with the birds together. They like to throw me for loops every once in a while and then I have to adjust what we are doing- Like right now with the melt down one part of the barn is a bit wet- Ducks have found this weakness and have enjoyed splashing in it and getting everything else wet (at least they are having fun while making their mess) so I am trying to figure out what I should be doing about this.

I think the pond area during the day sound like a great idea- just make sure they have easy access in and out. One of my pekins got stuck in a kiddie pool last fall and looked not so great when I found her (she is fine but looked really tuckered out) I had to put a cement block both inside the pool and outside the pool so they would have a step. Course the mallards seem to have a great time getting in and out of things. With mallards make sure your run has something covering it otherwise you may find them escaping or I suppose cutting their wing feathers. (I couldn't do this... I know I am a softy) They really do fly well and are AWESOME to watch.

You may find that the chickens are fine with the pond but I would just be VERY watchful if you are going to try it.

My birds were big when we introduced them- there was a bit of pecking but all in all it was a good transition- I think they were about 6 weeks old but I had 40 chickens and 30 ducks to introduce. Again I would try it with an open mind and have a second option if plan A doesn't work. And I guess I would wait until the ducklings are able to "take" a bit of beating/pecking before letting them in the chicken coop. In other words I would want mine to have some of the feathers on them. And I would introduce them at night.
Well I have only had ducks for a week now, but they are with the chickens. I think the previous owners must of had chickens too though. We turned them out in the yard and that night they went into the coop with the chickens. They are a bit snippy with some of the chickens, but some of the chickens are snippy with them. I think it all evens out. They eat well together and I already had a kiddie pool for the chickens water so it all works out. During the day they get to free range all over the yard/fields and at night they are all in the 8x12 coop together (31 chickens and 10 ducks!) I hope to get another coop built soon for our pullets when they get older (getting 100 in 2 weeks!). Anyway the chickens and the ducks all seem to live in harmony for the most part. They are just like one big family.
I currently keep 6 large chickens and a cock with a Muscovy drake, and 6 ducks. I've always kept my ducks and chickens together in a large shed not sure exactly how big it is probably about 12 square meters or 140 square feet, so they've got plenty of space.

All has gone well until recently when I noticed that my cockerel has been chasing the ducks around, this isn't too bad, as he leave them alone while their inside, and they have a large field to run around outside. So there is enough space for the ducks to get away if need be.

My ducks are messy, messy birds. They poop almost all the time (seams like it anyways) and so the shed gets smell quickly. As for the water and food, they get along ok. the ducks do make the drinking water mucky quite quickly, but as chickens will drink out of a puddle I don't think it's a problem.

I don't have a pond, but I do have a stream running through their run. The stream has some nice deep pools in it as well as shallow areas where the chickens can have a paddle in summer too.

As for broody ducks, I've only let one duck hatch her eggs inside the shed with the chickens and they where fine with her. Although I did move her to a fenced off corner until her ducklings where a bit bigger. I move all other broody ducks to a brooder just because it's easier for me.

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