Water time

Chevalrose

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 19, 2013
8
0
7
I have recently thought of getting a couple ducklings along with some chicks (these would be our first farm birds). I like the idea of keeping them together in the same coop to save space. We have a small stream on our property, but it would be about 50 or so feet downhill away from the coop and run. We would be able to free range them weekday afternoons for a few hours (and most of the day on weekends) before bringing them in. Is that adequate time for happy ducks?

The other alternative would be to create two separate coops...building the duck coop closer to the stream for constant access...which would be a bit more work for us in terms of "hiking" to their coop for eggs, water, and feed, not to mention the increased cost in building two coops.

Opinions?
 

shicks0211

Songster
7 Years
May 7, 2012
272
18
101
Orlando Florida
I think that it would be fine to house them in one coop..the ducks would need water for the food and if they're free ranging they would just go to the stream when they wanted and come up for food and such. They'll get food down by the stream as well, foraging for slugs and invertabrates all day. It sounds fine to do it that way.
 

cosbackyard

Songster
6 Years
Feb 20, 2013
414
32
118
Colorado Springs, CO
I have recently thought of getting a couple ducklings along with some chicks (these would be our first farm birds). I like the idea of keeping them together in the same coop to save space. We have a small stream on our property, but it would be about 50 or so feet downhill away from the coop and run. We would be able to free range them weekday afternoons for a few hours (and most of the day on weekends) before bringing them in. Is that adequate time for happy ducks?

The other alternative would be to create two separate coops...building the duck coop closer to the stream for constant access...which would be a bit more work for us in terms of "hiking" to their coop for eggs, water, and feed, not to mention the increased cost in building two coops.

Opinions?

I think the answer to the first question depends on how much space they're confined to when they're not free ranging. Will they have a secure run during the day or will they be inside the coop all day? I have a small-ish run that mine are confined to during working hours. Otherwise they free-range about the same times that you're considering. Works fine. I wouldn't keep them locked up in a coop all day unless they've got a whole lot of space. Even then they can get hot inside. Ducks would rather be out in almost any weather.

Whether you keep the birds together or separate depends on water, mostly. If you have feed inside the coop then you have to have open water - enough for the ducks to dip their heads in. Ducks will splash water everywhere in this case. Soggy, wet, smelly mess.
I do not keep food inside my coop for this reason. They get water inside via poultry nipples. Not everyone has luck getting their birds to drink from them, but all of the ducks and chickens I've kept have learned.
 

Chevalrose

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 19, 2013
8
0
7
They would all share a large run through the day (probably 3 ducks, 3 chickens in 500 sq ft). We planned to also use poultry nipple watering in the coop. I hadn't thought about feeding outside, although that sounds like a good idea if they're so messy. Does that go for the winter as well? I'm assuming both the ducks and chickens wouldn't need any feed through the night..?

If we keep them together, my one question is would the chickens be safe around a small source of open water in the run, or should we not bother with that if we let them out to enjoy the stream for a few hours?
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
114,741
134,246
1,962
Mountains of Western N.C.
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and here is some good reading https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/750869/raising-and-caring-for-ducklings#post_10611711
 

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