Keeping ducks and chickens together

ShayBaby

Songster
6 Years
Mar 4, 2013
1,218
82
171
Lucasville, OH
I wasn't sure where to post this, but I figured fellow duck-folks might understand better and have knowledgable advise. I apologize knowing this will be a long post. Thanks in advance for reading.

Where to start? Well, I currently have 4 seperate groups of birds in 4 brooding areas. There are currently 16 ducks and 11 chickens, age ranging from 2 weeks to 9 weeks. (I may make a post sometime showing off my highly varied flock!) I know some will be leaving us, though, as attached to them as I am, because I don't want fertile eggs and so far 3 ducks and 2 chickens are confirmed males. :hit I'm trying to integrate two groups of ducks currently, but it's not going so well. I can only image the fun it will be to integrate all of them come coop-time..

We're currently "somewhat" working on building the coop and run and I need advice!
I plan on, at least trying to, keeping them all together in the same space. I know ducks are messy and smelly to high heaven already, so I'm really concerned about the smell and upkeep and keeping the chickens happy and clean, as well. I never could have imagined such a tiny body could produce so much disgusting, slimy poo. :idunno

So far the plan is to build an 8x12 coop, dirt floor, that they will all share, attached to a 12x30 run that they will be confined to at all times. The whole run will be covered in tough green flight netting (at least that's what I think it is) to keep the chickens and mallards in and the scavengers out. There is over 100 acres here and I'd love to let them free range (and eat our insane numbers of ticks!!), but with at least 11 free-roaming cats and 4 dogs (one highly viscious) on the property, not to mention the coyotes, raccoons, bobcats, hawks, eagles, owls, and countless other predators confirmed on the property, I won't risk mass losses. I'm quite attached to them individually.

Here is the frame we have going for the coop. In 3 weeks time, THIS is as far as my lazy husband has gotten.. The entire thing will be of free (mostly old) material we've collected and won't be glamorous by any means.
400
400


I've been going back and forth in my head mostly about what bedding to use inside and out. One day I'm going with deep litter, and the next I'm going with sand. I'd love to use the DLM if it weren't for the ducks. I've never heard from anyone who uses it with ducks and I can only imagine it would be a wet, goopy, disgusting, rancid blob in a matter of days. I'm leaning more towards sand for that reason, but imagine it would get the same way pretty quick. All I can picture is how play sand and beach sand clumps together when it gets wet and imagine that in my coop and run. :sick Also, with just flight netting over the top, I imagine the sand in the run would get soaked, especially during our golly-whopper storms pretty much on a weekly basis in spring and summer. Folks with sand runs, do you have problems with drainage or erosion during heavy rain? Does anyone have any suggestions for bedding for duck/chicken combination, and/or keeping it clean and dry??

Also, I'm going to try to keep this thing as critter-proof as possible. My (carpentry hobby) father is somewhat helping my husband build this thing. I actually live on my grandparents land, on which my father was raised. They had chickens (to butcher .-.) when he was growing up and he's set in the ways he learned.. Chickens free-ranged, most were brutally massacred by predators ("don't get attached, they're gonna die anyways"), the coop was made of cinder blocks and had no insulation or ventilation, any new chicks they hatched were from hens that escaped butchering and nested somewhere in the woods, you get the idea. I won't be eating my birds and want to keep them safe. I mentioned before the flight netting over the run. I'm also going to flare out some fencing along the ground a foot or two all around (coop and run) to prevent digging in (minks are a real problem here for birds), instead of burying fence, and cover the dirt floor of the coop in fencing (hopefully wont interfere with drainage). The run will be covered in hardware cloth at least 3-4 feet up. I'd planned on doing cheaper 2-inch-gap fencing in the top half (the run will be 7' high), but like I said, minks are a problem and they can probably squeeze right through that. Might have to do hardware cloth all around. Not good for the budget. I'll cover any gaps in the coop with fencing, and put hardware cloth over windows. (My father actually thought I was crazy when I said it was going to have windows for ventilation.)

I'm sure I didn't cover everything, but I mainly want to get opinions and advice about bedding, and maybe ventilation, predator protection, integration, and generally keeping ducks and chickens together.

Again, thanks so much if you read all of that! :bow
 
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shicks0211

Songster
7 Years
May 7, 2012
272
18
101
Orlando Florida
I don't have chickens. But to me, your biggest obstacle, besides keeping the critters out, is keeping the chickens out of the water for the ducks. You have to be able to have a pool for the ducks to get to, and i did see someone recently posted a question here about how to keep their chickens out as he'd lost several to the ducks pool..other than that i don't think it's a huge issue..i see alot of people do it.
 

ShayBaby

Songster
6 Years
Mar 4, 2013
1,218
82
171
Lucasville, OH
Ah, I knew there was an issue I missed. That was it. I'll browse around for that post. Thanks. That one really has me concerned, too, especially with so many ducks and most of my chickens being little bitty bantams.
 

shicks0211

Songster
7 Years
May 7, 2012
272
18
101
Orlando Florida
yea..because the chickens will get in, or fall into the water and can't get out and they drown..maybe a separate area where the ducks can have the pool in the day away from the pen, and then at night they can all be together? the pen for the pool doesn't necessarily have to be fully covered if it's just for the day..well, maybe a net to keep the eagles and hawks out.
 

Going Quackers

Crowing
9 Years
May 24, 2011
7,839
975
371
On, Canada
whew! well you've certainly dived into poultry lol

I don't house my ducks and chickens together, ever.period. Now, i will add my chickens run is actually inside the fenced area of the ducks... just a hop, skip and a jump from their barn, so the ducks will rest along side the chickens run, which is fine but otherwise, it's far to messy... i have 14 ducks that occupy this space, my calls are tic tacs right now and in my dining room
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I know people do it, i just don't know how.. my ducks in this area are big Muscovy, including 2 drakes, and 3 7wk old drakes so i wouldn't trust them around the chickens, not to mention the water, and mud, it's impossible to control and yet, i know my is pretty controlled lol

Housing them overnight if you don't have drakes will probably be ok, i just use chicken waterers in the barn for the ducks, buckets cause them to flood the place they have access all day long to dunkable bowls/pools and they free range.

Bedding wise, some do use sand in the coops, i haven't, but we have long, cold winters so i am unsure how that works with that type of climate. wood pellet bedding and shavings is my direction.

For the run/pen area, i'd divide it down, personally one for the chickens and one for the ducks... that way each gets what it needs/wants... ducks need their bathing spot and chickens need dry. Hopefully, others can chime in who mix them, i just know here it would not work, neither would be to content with each birds natural needs.
 

ShayBaby

Songster
6 Years
Mar 4, 2013
1,218
82
171
Lucasville, OH
I had thought about splitting the coop and run so they each have their own side. If we can afford the extra material (assuming we can't round it up salvaged somewhere), I may just do that. I thought cleaning a whole as opposed to two halves would be more convenient, but knowing the mess ducks make..I probably thought wrong.
Thanks for the input, shicks! The separate pool area sounds like a pretty good idea, too.
Going Quackers (love the username hehe), do you have problems with the shavings under the ducks? Knowing how my ducks have been on shavings in the brooders :sick I could only imagine the shavings would end up a flat, mucky, fly-infested mess. How do you keep it..livable? Lol.
 
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filly1969

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jul 6, 2010
23
0
22
I have several different pens for my poultry in each pen I keep guineas, chickens, ducks and geese together. Each pen does have a sand base and poultry netting over it. I keep a small childs pool in each pen for the ducks and geese, The pens can get mushy if we get alot of rain. I also keep shavings for bedding in the houses. You will find that the ducks mostly stay outside unless you lock them in everynight. Mine perfer to be out no matter what the weather is.
 
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