What Duck breed is best for a pet and gets along well with chickens?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by CoopedUPinMaine, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. CoopedUPinMaine

    CoopedUPinMaine New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2013
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    Looking to get a couple ducks in the Spring. I currently have 9 hens of various kinds. I would like to house them together. Any tips would be welcomed also as I know alot about chickens but am new to ducks:) So far I think the black runners are pretty cute.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    My Coop
    If you're looking for a pet, you can't go wrong with pekins. They're big, friendly white ducks that lay lots of eggs. I can also recommend welsh harlequins. These are what I breed and they are all friendly, docile, and live in the coop with my chickens, guineas, and goose with no problems.

    As for tips, I recommend not to offer water inside the coop once you have ducks. They splash and play in it and create horrible messes, so my guys only get water in their run. And if you need a water source for them to play and swim in, a plastic kiddie pool makes them happy.
     
  3. CaptainQwak

    CaptainQwak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also vote for Pekins!! They are generally great pets and get on well with my hens.

    That said, chickens and ducks have very different housing requirements, so you might want to think about building a dedicated house for the ducks. Do you have a pond? Ducks need to have regular access to clean water for swimming and bathing.
     
  4. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are only getting a couple, any of the "common" breeds will make a good pet.
    I have 4 runners and welsh harlequin.
    They don't hang with the chickens much. They share the yard, but they aren't often close together. The ducks are kind of afraid of the chickens.
    The ducks get out of bed first, head to their pond for a quick dip and then forage the yard until the chickens finish breakfast. Ducks wait patiently, or not some days, for the chickens to finish before they head in to get some food.
    It took almost a year for the 2 groups of ducks to hang out together. So maybe they will be ok with the chickens next year. But for now, they'd rather the chickens move out.
     
  5. CaptainQwak

    CaptainQwak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also concur with this... once my ducks come inside they do not get food or water, which keeps their pen clean. On short winter days when they come in very early I offer some water before we go to bed, but don't leave it in the pen. They have a filtered pond that they hang out in all day and are fed on the water in the morning. The ducks also get treats and snacks (mostly veg) at lunchtime.
     
  6. StruckBy

    StruckBy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never had any problems with any of the breeds of ducks I've mixed with chickens. Off the top of my head, that includes: khakis, Swedish, Australian spotted, crested (not endorsing, got a deal on some laying adults), Welsh harlequin, silver Appleyards, Cayuga, Pekin, assorted hybrids...I'm sure I'm missing someone. I've never had runners (although the crested looked to have some runner in them) and I've never had Muscovies. My grandparents had a Muscovy hen show up at their property out of the blue & live there raising ducklings for a good 2 years. She and her offspring were exceptionally nasty to anything other than humans and other Muscovies but I have no point of reference to know if that was just that particular genetic line or if it's a broader thing with the breed.

    Although everyone is in the same coop/run, I will say that I rarely see the ducks actually go inside the coop except to lay (and frequently not even then). They are really much happier outside with just a windbreak. As has been said, ducks make a SERIOUS mess with their water and love nothing more than dabbling in the mud created under it. I've found the best way to control it is to put one waterer for the chickens on a platform a foot or so off the ground (although they can fly, the ducks never seem to bother) and then have a kiddy pool for the ducks that gets dumped & rinsed out every day or few (depending on the number of ducks). I keep the pool on a bed of rocks (or slab of concrete) on the edge of the run so I can dump it out of the run. In the winter when the kiddie pool freezes over, I use the 2 gallon heated dog bowls and just accept the fact that there is going to be a giant muddy icy mess. (Ducks can find mud when the ground is frozen solid under 2 feet of snow...eventually I've come to accept this.) The more you can free-range them, the more you can keep the muck under control. Ducks are MUCH messier than chickens. But their eggs are sooooo much better!
     
  7. LDinGrassValley

    LDinGrassValley Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2013
    CaptainQuack, Really? I didn't know it was OK to leave the ducks without food or water. How long do you leave yours without? My ducks have to stay outside most of the time and I don't like leaving them, if I can bring them inside using your technique it would help keep the mess, smell down while increasing together time. Win/win?!
     
  8. CaptainQwak

    CaptainQwak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not when they are young, of course, but once they are grown they do not need food and water 24/7. Our ducks sleep in the house at night (large dog kennel in the mud room) so I need it to be fairly clean and dry. By not feeding them after noon it really keeps the mess and smell to a minimum. They march up the stairs and come inside at dusk and go out in the morning around 7AM, so in the summer they are in for 10-12 hours or so. In the winter, when they come in much earlier, I am sure to offer water if they look thirsty and before we go to bed. Sometimes they are not that interested. They get tons of water when they are out during the day and can forage if they are really hungry. Our ducks are big and maintain a very healthy weight on this diet and schedule. It really works for us!
     
  9. LDinGrassValley

    LDinGrassValley Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2013
    CaptianQuack,

    Very good thought and idea...

    I tried eliminating food and water today while watching the 49er game.

    Was able to sit with Mr. Peepers on my lap for almost the whole game and with only one mess. BTW: I use a towel for my lap.

    I'll begin figuring out a good place for them inside as we don't have a mud room.

    Thanks for noting your method.

    Cheers!
     
  10. Emilyanne

    Emilyanne New Egg

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    Mar 1, 2014
    Me too. Help please!
     

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