Introducing a duck to the hens

VickyandAndrew

Chirping
6 Years
May 9, 2013
6
1
62
Hello!

We have a fully enclosed run, approx 25-30ish square metres, with six pretty mellow, happy hens of varying breeds. (2 Rhode Island Red, 1 Blue Leghorn, 1 Gold Laced Wyandotte, 1 x Sussex Speckled and 1 Plymouth Rock). They have a relaxed pecking order and the one on top is a big softie, so there's no bullying or issues. Over time, when we've introduced new hens, we've done it in pairs, raising them from chicks and putting them in a neighbouring space when they're old enough, before introducing them completely.

We're convinced the pairs thing is why it has worked so well each time.

Except now, we've bought a duck! And, only one. She's a Khaki Campbell and only about 5 days old. Obviously she wont move in with the hens yet but I would like to ask how other people introduced them and what the result was like.

I am not a poultry psychologist but I am wondering if introducing her with a friend might be a better result than on her own, especially since it has worked so well in the past. I'd prefer a chicken friend than a duck friend as we'd only planned on having one, so long as everyone was happy. I thought it may even minimise the duck-thinks-i-am-her-mother situation that could get a bit much when she's older. :lol:

So where to from here? I'd love to hear other people's stories or recommendations. We'd also only planned on having a maximum of 7 or 8 girls in the space at a time... but I'd love to know what other people think of that ratio to the little over 25 square metres we have.

Many thanks,
Vicky :+)
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,533
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
The introduction process is the same with chickens and ducks, the difference this time being they may or may not ever accept each other, and just one duck in the entire flock is likely to be lonely. If you were one person in a colony of chimps you might be a bit lonely too. You have quite a bit of space, so they have room to avoid each other if they don't like each other. I'd set up multiple feed and water stations as well as some hiding spots (if there aren't any). My chickens and ducks tolerate each other at best and are housed separately most of the time. I do let them all mingle in the larger fenced yard at times, but they will fight over food and water if I do set them up far enough apart or if the container is blocking the way through a walking path.
 

VickyandAndrew

Chirping
6 Years
May 9, 2013
6
1
62
Thank you for your help, Pirate Girl! We went and got a second duckling (our two year old has named them Daisy and Princess, Haha!) and we will work towards improving our run to make all our featherbrains happy.
 

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