Questions on owning ducks compared to chickens!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by shannon0716, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. shannon0716

    shannon0716 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 15, 2014
    Hi all!!

    I currently own 10 Buff Orpington's. They are now a year old, and they are my big babies! I love, love, love having chickens. We are in a great routine, and they are easy for me to care for. We have a 8x4 coop and a 8x8 run for them.

    I'd love to add 2 ducks to the mix this year? Will they need separate housing? Will the chickens not enjoy the new additions? and how much harder can Ducks be to care for than chickens?

    I've been researching forever but love to hear experience.

    We haven't provided a heating lamp to our chicken since they went to the coop at 5 weeks old, and we can't offer one to the ducks either so I'm hoping they wont need one either?
  2. Alexandra33

    Alexandra33 Overrun With Chickens

    I have a single milkhouse-turned-coop in which my chickens and ducks coexist peacefully. [​IMG] Yes, you can house them together, keeping in mind that ducks are a bit messier with water than chickens, so there will be a moist mound of bedding underneath the bucket waterer (NEVER give ducks the option of a regular waterer, unless you're ready for a horrendous puddle! [​IMG]) and in their "corner" where they sleep. But honestly, I don't think it's that much more work to care for ducks once they're old to enough to go out. When it comes to ducklings, though, I had to clean the brooder either every other day or every day to keep them from walking and sleeping in standing water. I'm guessing that's the hardest stage of the growing process for waterfowl.

    When our 5 original chickens were 3 months old, we added the ducks with no problems. Ducks have a lot of attitude, enough to combat larger, older bully chickens. Just be careful if you end up getting a drake, because he could end up going after the chickens and really doing some serious damage. The key, as far as I understand, is not to raise chickens and ducks together. This prevents the drake from thinking of the chickens as his "girls." [​IMG] I have a Mallard drake and 28 chooks, with none of those problems ever coming up.

    What breeds are you considering?

  3. shannon0716

    shannon0716 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 15, 2014
    Thank you for your advice!! I want a couple pekins. I live in NY so I'm trying to find someone to help split the order of 6 minimum :\
  4. Alexandra33

    Alexandra33 Overrun With Chickens

    You're so welcome! Pekins are very nice-looking birds. [​IMG]

  5. sirrobyn0

    sirrobyn0 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 1, 2015
    I've got both Ducks and Chickens, this would be my advise. You can probably have two ducks in with your chicken and it will work out ok, but in my honest opinion I don't really think it's the best idea. The main reasons being that chickens like to be relatively dry, while ducks love the water. My ducks and chickens free range during the day and they definitely get along fine, I don't think you'll have any issues there. On a rainy day when I go open the chicken pen, if it's raining enough the chickens will usually choose to stay in their coop, the ducks on the other hand go straight to the pond regardless of the weather. You will need some sort of an open container of water for the ducks bath in. It's likely this will create some mud, and the chickens won't care for that all that much. The ducks are going to prefer a larger body of water to swim in than you can likely put in a chicken enclosure, I'm guessing. Usually a kiddy pool is pretty much a minimum. Your ducks may also start laying in the nesting boxes with the chickens, which is fine, but it's not natural. Duck's prefer to lay on the ground somewhere that is semi protected.

    Ducks like wet, and bodies of water to swim in. Chicken like dry and somewhere to peck. Duck sleep on the ground, chickens roost in the air. Duck's like to lay on the ground, chicken like to lay in the nesting boxes. I'm not saying you can't mix them, I've know other folks who have, but what I'm saying is that there needs are different and it maybe difficult for you to keep both in the environment they like in the same pen, of course if the pen is large enough it might be ok.

    I would say this, if you want to get two ducks and put them in with your chickens it'll probably be fine, I'd just say be aware of the possible issues, and realize that it's not ideal, especially if the coop is small, try to give the ducks as much water as practical in the enclosure and keep the over flow water and mud in check.

    that's my thoughts anyway,
  6. lomine

    lomine Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 7, 2015
    Peyton, CO
    I would suggest that you expand your coop and run if you wish to add more birds to your flock. If you go by the recommended space of 4 sq ft of coop and 10 sq ft of run your coop is good for 8 birds and your run 6. I'm not saying you have to follow those numbers; there is wiggle room depending on your circumstances such as if you let them free range a lot, you have mild winters, you give them vertical space (doesn't apply to ducks), etc. However, you are already pushing your limits with 10 birds. I think it would be very stressful for your flock to add two large ducks to the space.
  7. jennifleur

    jennifleur Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 14, 2015
    Muscovies might be a good choice to mix with chickens. They like water but not as much as other ducks. Muscovies spend a fraction of the time in water compared to other breeds. They like to be clean and dry after a bath and a good self grooming. Still will make a mess in their water and slop/splash it all over. Drainage and water management would be very important. Some Muscovies roost like chickens, they are south american perching waterfowl after all. Duck drakes also have penises and will sometimes mate chicken hens if they don't have enough female ducks. This will hurt and even kill a chicken who is built for roosters that just foam the opening.

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