How to care for ducks?

Cinnamon11

Songster
May 18, 2020
371
700
113
California
So I am considering getting ducks to add to my flock of 6 hens are they much harder than chickens? I want all females and was wondering if they could live with my hens (the coop is big enough for like 30 birds but I only want about 5 ducks) can the ducklings live with chicks? Do they eat chicken food or a special duck food? Also any breed recommendations (I want to get them for pretty colors not eggs)
 

DaYooper_Duck

Songster
Apr 28, 2020
271
787
176
Upper Michigan
Female ducks can live peacefully with chickens as long as you keep these things in mind:

-Ducks are only harder to keep than chickens in that they are MESSY!
-They also need access to water they can fully submerge there heads in at all times, in order to keep their eyes, nostrils, and bills clean.
-They can eat hen food as long as they recieve supplemental niacin in the form of brewer's yeast, crushed tablets, or liquid niacin.
-The coop will need extra high maintinence to keep it dry enough for chickens, as duck poo is extremely watery and plentiful. -Ducks also should have access to swiming or bathing water at least every other day in a kiddie pool, stock tank, or backyard pond of sorts.
-Ducklings can be raised with chicks as long as the ducks' nutritional needs are met, all waterers are kept clean, and the bedding is kept dry enough to accomodate the chickens.

(I probably missed a few things, but I'm sure someone else will add to my list.)

If you do decide to get ducks for looks, some of the most beautiful breeds for females are:
Welsh harlequin
Saxony
Cayuga
Swedish
Ancona

All of these are docile, hardy, beautiful, and good layers to boot.

Good luck!
 

FuzzyCritters

Songster
Mar 13, 2020
903
1,274
156
Kitsap county, WA
Your ducks can live with chickens and share a coop if the coop is good for ducks too. Ducks don't roost, so they will need a spot on the floor with nesting material that is not under the chicken roosts. If there is no such spot in your coop, you will need to build a duck house.

Ducks are not much harder to care for than chickens. They are messier, but some of the mess can be prevented by keeping water outside of the coop. You will need to clean the coop more often because duck poop is wetter. Ducks also need a small pool that will need to be cleaned. Other than those two things, ducks are just as easy as chickens.

Ducklings can be raised with chicks, but I would not recommend it. Ducklings are incredibly messy, they spill water everywhere and their poop is very wet. The ducklings don't mind that, but the chicks do. Chicks will also try to get the ducks on their pecking order as they get older.

Ducks can eat chicken food as long as they have a niacin supplement. My ducks eat chicken layer and get a niacin tablet added to their water.

As for beautiful duck breeds, all of DaYooper_Ducks suggestions are really good. I would also add rouen duck too. Calls, runners, and muscovies also come in a lot of color varieties, but they are a bit different than other duck breeds (calls are bantams and are really loud, runners have an upright posture, and muscovies are a different duck species).
 
Sep 19, 2020
127
168
73
Female ducks can live peacefully with chickens as long as you keep these things in mind:

-Ducks are only harder to keep than chickens in that they are MESSY!
-They also need access to water they can fully submerge there heads in at all times, in order to keep their eyes, nostrils, and bills clean.
-They can eat hen food as long as they recieve supplemental niacin in the form of brewer's yeast, crushed tablets, or liquid niacin.
-The coop will need extra high maintinence to keep it dry enough for chickens, as duck poo is extremely watery and plentiful. -Ducks also should have access to swiming or bathing water at least every other day in a kiddie pool, stock tank, or backyard pond of sorts.
-Ducklings can be raised with chicks as long as the ducks' nutritional needs are met, all waterers are kept clean, and the bedding is kept dry enough to accomodate the chickens.

(I probably missed a few things, but I'm sure someone else will add to my list.)

If you do decide to get ducks for looks, some of the most beautiful breeds for females are:
Welsh harlequin
Saxony
Cayuga
Swedish
Ancona

All of these are docile, hardy, beautiful, and good layers to boot.

Good luck!
I agree with this! I would also recommend looking into nutritional yeast as a niacin supplement as they seem to be like the taste more as it is less sour. Isaac has a great thread on niacin deficiency and he talks about nutritional yeast. I’d also say ducks don’t perch like chickens and will need a clean area to lay down on to sleep in the enclosed area of the coop. They also can benefit from more ventilation as they can be more humid and espically with the inevitable water spilling. Don’t have TOO much ventilation at their level though, I’d recommend above them. They can also have trouble learning/getting up a ramp to an elevated roost and nesting box area. Lastly, they aren’t as good at laying in nest boxes all the time, they tend to lay wherever. You may have better luck housing them with the chickens though, they may follow suit after them and lay in the nest boxes more regularly. I like Welsh Harlequin, Cayuga, Saxony, Swedish, Appleyard, and Buff as pretty breeds to look into, all fairly good layers too. Overall, I love ducks and they are certainly a joy but make sure you understand what you’re getting into.
 

Cinnamon11

Songster
May 18, 2020
371
700
113
California
Female ducks can live peacefully with chickens as long as you keep these things in mind:

-Ducks are only harder to keep than chickens in that they are MESSY!
-They also need access to water they can fully submerge there heads in at all times, in order to keep their eyes, nostrils, and bills clean.
-They can eat hen food as long as they recieve supplemental niacin in the form of brewer's yeast, crushed tablets, or liquid niacin.
-The coop will need extra high maintinence to keep it dry enough for chickens, as duck poo is extremely watery and plentiful. -Ducks also should have access to swiming or bathing water at least every other day in a kiddie pool, stock tank, or backyard pond of sorts.
-Ducklings can be raised with chicks as long as the ducks' nutritional needs are met, all waterers are kept clean, and the bedding is kept dry enough to accomodate the chickens.

(I probably missed a few things, but I'm sure someone else will add to my list.)

If you do decide to get ducks for looks, some of the most beautiful breeds for females are:
Welsh harlequin
Saxony
Cayuga
Swedish
Ancona

All of these are docile, hardy, beautiful, and good layers to boot.

Good luck!
Thank you! I was looking at the welsh haliauin and the Cayuga they are so pretty!
 

Cinnamon11

Songster
May 18, 2020
371
700
113
California
Your ducks can live with chickens and share a coop if the coop is good for ducks too. Ducks don't roost, so they will need a spot on the floor with nesting material that is not under the chicken roosts. If there is no such spot in your coop, you will need to build a duck house.

Ducks are not much harder to care for than chickens. They are messier, but some of the mess can be prevented by keeping water outside of the coop. You will need to clean the coop more often because duck poop is wetter. Ducks also need a small pool that will need to be cleaned. Other than those two things, ducks are just as easy as chickens.

Ducklings can be raised with chicks, but I would not recommend it. Ducklings are incredibly messy, they spill water everywhere and their poop is very wet. The ducklings don't mind that, but the chicks do. Chicks will also try to get the ducks on their pecking order as they get older.

Ducks can eat chicken food as long as they have a niacin supplement. My ducks eat chicken layer and get a niacin tablet added to their water.

As for beautiful duck breeds, all of DaYooper_Ducks suggestions are really good. I would also add rouen duck too. Calls, runners, and muscovies also come in a lot of color varieties, but they are a bit different than other duck breeds (calls are bantams and are really loud, runners have an upright posture, and muscovies are a different duck species).
Thank you! Where would I buy those tablets and can the chickens have them to or do the ducks need separate water?
 

Cinnamon11

Songster
May 18, 2020
371
700
113
California
I agree with this! I would also recommend looking into nutritional yeast as a niacin supplement as they seem to be like the taste more as it is less sour. Isaac has a great thread on niacin deficiency and he talks about nutritional yeast. I’d also say ducks don’t perch like chickens and will need a clean area to lay down on to sleep in the enclosed area of the coop. They also can benefit from more ventilation as they can be more humid and espically with the inevitable water spilling. Don’t have TOO much ventilation at their level though, I’d recommend above them. They can also have trouble learning/getting up a ramp to an elevated roost and nesting box area. Lastly, they aren’t as good at laying in nest boxes all the time, they tend to lay wherever. You may have better luck housing them with the chickens though, they may follow suit after them and lay in the nest boxes more regularly. I like Welsh Harlequin, Cayuga, Saxony, Swedish, Appleyard, and Buff as pretty breeds to look into, all fairly good layers too. Overall, I love ducks and they are certainly a joy but make sure you understand what you’re getting into.
Thank you I’m definitely going to do lots of research first (no just impulse buy them)
 

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