Last summer we got 4 Chickens, we have 1 Barred Rock, 1 Light Brahma, and 2 Australorp hens. We built a coop that is approximately 4' x 7' and probably about 4ft tall. The front is the door and the roost and the back wall opens all the way and has the nesting box, and window, and their water and food. They are let out in the morning and free range in our yard. We have been kind of talking about getting a few ducks for a while now, but have always backed away because we were afraid they would be too noisy and messy from what we have been told. We have had some cats interested in our chickens for the whole year, but none really were brave enough to mess with them, until a few days ago when one tried to attack my Brahma. She was unhurt and a neighbor chased the cat away, but without being allowed to have roosters we are again thinking about a couple ducks since we have heard they are good watch dogs. I have been reading up, but have found a lot of varying information and thought I would ask around here. First we would like to know suggestions on the least noisy ducks that would work in a small backyard neighborhood, but would still possibly provide some guard dog abilities, while getting along with our chickens and hopefully be friendly. Second, we don't have a lot of room, but it does help that the chickens roost up high and I believe the ducks can nest below, but we would like to know what the minimum ratio for ducks would be? Some say you can get a pair, other say you need at least 3 per Drake. Also would we be better off getting all males, all females, or females with a male? We don't have to have eggs, but it would be nice to have. Third, I keep hearing they are messy and I don't really care if they are messy in the yard, but wondering with only night times in the coop how that would work out. One person said to not leave food in the coop and put it in the yard in the morning with a big tub of water and keep the water with the small lips or a hanging water in the coop at night. Has anyone had experience with this? Are they generally noisy enough to disturb the neighbors? Will the consider the chickens part of their flock and thus not need as many to keep them socially happy? Any and all advice would be appreciated.