How do I introduce our new duckling to our chicks???

FatherBrown

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 24, 2013
4
0
10
OK, here's my story..!
We have 4 chicks that are almost 4 weeks old. They stay in the coop with a heat lamp during the day, and we put them in the brooder at night. Thanks to lots of research on BYC, our chicks are happy and healthy.
But..! I took my kiddos to feed the ducks yesterday. A car pulled up, and the driver asked my children if they would like a duck. When they didn't respond, the people got out of their car, practically tossed a duckling into the lake, and drove off! The duckling managed to climb out and followed us around for the rest of the afternoon. Naturally, we couldn't abandon the poor thing, so now we have 4 chicks and a duckling.. and I have no idea what to do!
The duckling is in her own "brooder" (a plastic tub) with pine bedding, chick starter, and water (all get changed frequently!). We have tried her to introduce the chicks, but the duckling nibbles them all over. It might be preening, but I can't tell if she's hurting them. She only has down, so I'm guessing she's about 2 weeks, but she's much bigger than the chicks. Based on coloring and what's available locally, I think she's a Pekin.
How can I introduce them safely, and when can they stay together in the coop? I know there's debate on separating them, but we are definitely back yard farmers. They will have to learn to get along.. Our coop is 4x4, and the run is 8x8. We have 2 dogs and will have to keep all our avian babies caged while the canine babies are out, so we plan on letting everyone roam in the fenced backyard on different schedules.
I will greatly appreciate any advice..!!
Oh, and are ducks really that messy?? Guess I'm looking for someone to say, "it's ok.. you can do this!" Hoping we made the right choice by keeping her. From what I've read, I don't think she would have survived otherwise..
 

BarredRockGirls

Songster
6 Years
Mar 6, 2013
521
23
113
Ohio
its ok you can do this!!!
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yay for saving her or HIM i guess since you dont really know . depending on your breed of chickens if she/he is the SAME size as 4 week olds then yes i would guess maybe 2.5 . ... i have almost 4 week old Pekins and they are bigger than my almost 8 week old Barred Rocks but at 5 weeks the chicks & 2 week old ducks were close in size.

my duck girls ( i know because i ordered them Pre- sexed) arent that messy in their brooder - never have been idk y lol im thankful tho lol

if she/he was hurting them id imagine the chickens would fight back or youd hear a issue when she/he does it . maybe the chickens like it ? never know .

im going to house my girls with my chickens . i kept them in separate booders just because i had 15 chickens that were 4 weeks old and didnt want my day old ducklings getting trampled - by 2-3 weeks the ducks were way big enough but the chickens went to the big coop lol but they were right next to each other and talked to each other thru their cages .when they were together

they can go to the coop when they are fully feathered - either one - at the same time or different times . my chickens are in the big coop now and will be there alone for 2-3 weeks - then my ducks will join them when they are fully feathered

ducks are messy .. they are ducks haha its part of their charm for me tho :) i clean/change everything all the time tho my brooders and coop -----i seriously have OCD probably hahah my ducks aren't ever dirty either. they walk up to me and stand in a line to wait to get dried off after they get out of their pool then they all preen for an hour haha its so cute
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good luck!
 

BarredRockGirls

Songster
6 Years
Mar 6, 2013
521
23
113
Ohio
o and since you have your duckling on chick starter youll need to supplement w niacin or brewers yeast- ducks need more of it than chicken feed provides . both you can find at a drug store or walmart or GNC. i feed FLOCK RAISER feed ( can be fed to all fowl) it has enough niacin in it so i dont have to supplement so im unsure of the dosages you sprinkle on feed or in water but if you use the search on BYC for niacin supplements for duckling youll find it .
 
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FatherBrown

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 24, 2013
4
0
10
Thank you so much!! I tried to find niacin at rural king, but no one knew what I was talking about! I have let them visit a couple more times, and they finally settle down when left together. When I seperate them, they cry.. I think they miss eachother, but maybe that's just me giving them human emotions..! Thanks for the reply. I'm so relieved.. this seems feasible now!
 

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