Is it okay to raise ducks with chickens? What new things will I need to do to accommodate ducks?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by TeenSuperhero, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. TeenSuperhero

    TeenSuperhero New Egg

    Feb 17, 2013
    I get a batch of peeps every year and at Tractor Supply there are also ducklings. I have always wanted ducks and I have raised chickens for around four years now, and I have some questions:
    1.Is it safe to raise a few ducks with chickens? Or will the chickens kill or pick on them? 2.Will I need to get a child's swimming pool so they can get wet during summer?
    3. Do I need to get different food for the ducks?
    4. How often to ducks lay eggs, and are the eggs good? Can you use ducks eggs like chicken eggs?(Note:I sell my eggs for some profit so I need to know if my customers would be interested in buying duck eggs too).

    Thank you in advance,
  2. CricketR4

    CricketR4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 11, 2013
    Mebane, NC
    I have chickens and ducks, but I got them all as full grown. Never had problems with them not getting along. If anything, my drake seems to think he's boss, even tells my two roosters what to do! :) They all are free range, but they do eat feed. Ducks eat the same stuff that my chickens do, just not as much as the chickens. I keep a kiddie pool, for now, for the ducks, and they also play in random puddles and watering pans around the yard. They all coop together at night. Duck eggs are slightly larger (depending on breed of course) than chicken eggs, but I've noticed no taste difference. Hope this helps! :)
  3. DallasCriftins

    DallasCriftins Chillin' With My Peeps


    Yes mine all share the same run but sleep in different sheds - Ducks are quite messy so need clean bedding every week so a deep litter method like you use for Chickens might not work.
    All my birds free range.
    My Ducks spend 80% of the day on the pond
    The come back to the run to feed.
    They are trained to go to their shed a night.
    I have two Shetland ponies and the Ducks even weave around them to get to the runs external pop hole but about 1 night a month I may have to go and round them up.

    Ducks need bathing water all year and they will make it very muddy very quickly so consider how you will empty it etc.
    A Pond is the best thing for them.

    Do not feed Ducks any medicated Chicken specific feed.
    Ours all have standard Layer pellets plus mixed corn

    Duck eggs are great for cakes etc. but not so good scrambled as I found out this morning as it looked more like a soufflé!
    Ducks often drop their eggs anywhere so the eggs can get dirty, so if presentation is important you may need to clean them up.
    Runners and Campbell's can compete with some Chickens on egg quantity.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  4. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2012
    Northern Arizona
    I know tons of people who raise them together. Because my ducklings actually seemed to pick on my chicks when they were little, I chose to separate them. My chicks also seemed to like the ducklings eyes. I got tired of worrying if the chicks were eventually going to blind the ducklings, so I just kept them separate. Ducklings also need some different care, so in my experience, it was just easier to raise them in two separate coops that share a fence. However, they do free-range together. There has been some scuffles I have had to break up but nothing major. If you raise them together and the seem to do fine and that works for you, go for it!
    You will need to have something at least deep enough for them to dip their heads in to clean their nostrils and wash their eyes. We do have a big pool for our ducks that we clean out about 1x a week or so. They LOVE to swim and you will love watching them. They need to be supervised and limited in their swim time while they are still ducklings as their soft fuzz can get waterlogged and there is a possibility of drowning. When our ducklings were young, we just let them have a swim in the kitchen sink for a few minutes every few days. Ours are now 4 months old (and outside of course) and they will stay in the water most of the day now.
    Ducks can eat chick starter along with the chicks, just make sure it's the NON-medicated chick starter. The only thing you MUST do, that is nutritionally different, is provide the ducks with niacin. You can get the niacin capsules and add it to their drinking water. I make a gallon at a time. Mix 100mg capsule to 1 gallon of water. I open up the capsule, empty the powder, and shake the jug to dissolve. The niacin cannot be the "time-release" or "no-flush" variety. I provided this daily to my ducks until about 12 weeks of age, then just provided it a couple times a week after that. As long as they have access to bugs, etc., they shouldn't need it daily after that time.
    Depending on the breed of duck will depend on how many eggs you get. Ducks eggs are great! They are especially good for baking. Some people think they are too strong to just eat by itself, but others love them. I think a lot of people would be interested in buying duck eggs. They aren't always easy to come by. Anyone who has ever used them for baking will definitely know their worth. You can sell ducks eggs for more than you sell chicken eggs for.
  5. The Howards

    The Howards Chillin' With My Peeps

    1. As with chicks you may not want to put ducklings right in with the big girls. They will need some size on them to be able to protect themselves. It is also not wise to put them outside fulltime till they have feathered out. With ducks though this only takes around a month to a month and a half. They grow very quickly. Our ducks and chickens roam in the same pen. Our 2 muscovy hens and 2 bantams actually share a house. The other ducks and chickens have separate houses, for now.
    2. Pools are optional. Most everyone gets them because they do enjoy playing in the water so much. We have a pool, a large cement mixing pan and several rubbermaid type containers for them. Clean water is necessary for ducks though so you will need to change it often. They need it to keep their eyes, mouth, and nostrils moist, also to wash food down. They also use it to preen and keep their feathers in top condition. Like it was said before they are little piggies and enjoy nothing more than making a muddy mess both in and out of the water. Our white pekin stays brown most of the time from playing in the mud puddles she makes. I think it is her greatest joy in life. They get very excited when we dump out the dirty water cause they can play in the mud and make the fresh water dirty at the same time.
    3. Depends on what kind of food you are using for your chickens. Do you have males for instance, extra calcium is not good for males. Ducks do need niacin though, especially as ducklings. You may need to add some. Brewers Yeast is great for that. We have all females so we use a flock feed and I add brewers yeast to the mix. As ducklings we fed them non-medicated chick starter.
    4. How often they lay is determined by breed and weather/light conditions just like for chickens. Our pekin has laid everyday since she started in December and the Rouens have only missed a day here or there. The eggs are GREAT. The whites are thicker and the yolks are larger. People often use them for baking. We eat ours just like regular chicken eggs, I'm not much of a baker but I do use them in my cornbread.

    One thing you should be aware of is that the Poop A LOT! I can not stress that enough, the minute their butts hit the water....poop, the minute they get out...poop. They definitely are messier than chickens. But they are a joy to have and watch. Their attitudes vary just like chickens, some will want to be petted and some will avoid you like the plague. Just depends on the raising and the duck. One other thing. They are flock animals so make sure you get at least 2. They love to talk about everything, when you see one the other will be very close by.
    good luck, if you decide to get them I think you will be happy.
  6. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    1. Possibly, every bird is different. The chickens could pick on them or vice versa. Keep in mind chickens have a beak and can do damage by pecking.
    2. They will appreciate something to bathe in at least a few times a week all year even when it's freezing out.
    3. No. Most chicken feeds are okay for ducks. Even medicated is okay most of the time, as long as you are in the US you shouldn't have a problem with using medicated feed if you choose. If you are in another country you will need to see what type of medication is in it. Ducklings, like chicks, cannot eat layer and should be started on a chick starter. With ducks, you wait until first egg to start giving layer feeds. Ducks have different protein requirements than chickens, if you want to go by the book, but generally do okay on an all flock type feed.
    4. Depends on breed, like chickens. Some are prolific, some are seasonal. Yes but duck eggs are larger so you don't generally use as many. Most people like duck eggs for baking.

    Research the raising and requirements of ducklings before bringing them home. Many people lose ducklings because they are not prepared. There is lots of good info here. Also, buy a book, I like Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks, or get it from the library. I like having it just in case I need something answered at an odd time and none of the really knowledgable people are on BYC. [​IMG]
    The biggest problem that you may run into with getting ducklings at TSC is that typically they are straight run and often are ordered as assortments. You therefore will need to be able to identify by sight the different breeds and they may or may not have what you want. You may also end up with too many drakes. If you get straight run, you need to have a plan in mind for what you will do with extra drakes. Drakes without enough ducks will try to mate with your chickens which is dangerous or deadly for the chicken.
  7. Apyl

    Apyl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2012
    Necedah, Wi
    I didnt read thru the long responces but I just wanted to chime in. I raise ducks with chickens. First I use Flock Raiser and havnt had an issue. Of my original 9 ducklings only 1 died, but we had to cull that one. He has nurological issues. From day 1 the entire flock got along just fine. Now my flock is about a year old, they all coop together, eat the same food, and get along like they always have. I do provide a couple kiddie pools for the ducks.
  8. calmwinds

    calmwinds Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 10, 2013
    Suggestions on eggs which you sell. Give the people a couple of extra eggs, not saying anything about them being duck eggs. Just extra eggs for a thank you for buying the eggs. Let people try them without the thought of ducks and they will be open minded and enjoy the eggs. When I tell someone I eat duck eggs they make a comment on that even though they have never had them before.
  9. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan
    JW, I wanted to ask you, about the feed. What %protein do you aim for (for chickens)? For ducks, I did 24% + for 3 weeks I think, then switched to 16%.

    And what you say about TSC is true, but I do think it depends on who is working that particular day. The sales guy that sold us our very 1st ducks was a 4H/FFA guy and he was able to accurately sex them.
  10. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    For chickens, I do 18-20% until 18 weeks or so. I may start changing that up once I start hatching chicks. And do 18-20% for 6 weeks then lower to16-18% until 14 weeks then lower to 14-16% until 20 weeks and switch to layer.

    Meat chicks are different and I do 18-20% until slaughter. The 18-20% just depends on what I have available at the feed store at the time.

    For ducks, I am going to start doing a restricted feeding program for maybe my next hatch or the one after (I tried this on a December hatch and had a few feather eaters as I think they weren't able to forage as much. I will begin with 18-20% for 2 weeks, then 16-18% freed choice for 5-10 minutes 2X daily from 2-7 weeks (after 1 month I may only do 1X if they are foraging well). 7-20 weeks will be 0.2-0.4lbs per bird daily of 15-16%.

    The duck plan I got from Storey's Guide and since Muscovy are excellent foragers, I'm hoping to be able to lower feed costs by having them forage for more of their own. We have a creek that runs through the property and 5 acres for them to forage on. I will probably plant more things for them to eat also, veggies and such.

    I have raised ducklings and chickens on 20% protein without problems before and I don't think there is anything wrong with it. Since I am now going to be raising more birds, I want to follow recommended % more.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by