When should I mix the ducks with the chickens

Richard1234

In the Brooder
Apr 8, 2021
25
14
44
I own 7 hens and 1 rooster, I recently decided to buy ducks 4 days ago. They are Pekin ducks and are 3 weeks old exept for one of the ducks which is 1 week. I was wondering when would be a good time to mix them with my chickens. I have 6 Barred Rock hens and 1 Easter Egger. My rooster is a Barred Rock just like my 6 hens. My hens and rooster are 20 weeks old and my Easter Egger is 18 weeks old. The chickens haven't really interacted with the ducks yet. They are both in there own separate enclosures but the plan was to move the ducks to the chickens enclousure. Keep in mind that the chickens will not share there coop with the ducks. The ducks have there own separate home. But my main question is when will I be able to mix the ducks with the chickens.
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Lacy Duckwing

Autistic Chicken Lover
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Nov 6, 2017
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I had my ducks with my chickens, but being around here on BYC, I've been discovering that it's a bad idea. For one, ducks like wet, chickens like dry. If the ducks were to ever try breeding with the chickens, they could badly injure the chickens. If they're free-ranging, not in the same run, they'll probably be fine. As far as what age to put them together at, I'm not sure. I'm thinking four months, but I don't know the ducks growth speed.
 

Richard1234

In the Brooder
Apr 8, 2021
25
14
44
I had my ducks with my chickens, but being around here on BYC, I've been discovering that it's a bad idea. For one, ducks like wet, chickens like dry. If the ducks were to ever try breeding with the chickens, they could badly injure the chickens. If they're free-ranging, not in the same run, they'll probably be fine. As far as what age to put them together at, I'm not sure. I'm thinking four months, but I don't know the ducks growth speed.
I understand that chickens like dry and ducks like wet but I don't really know why that would be a big problem. There will be a swimming area for the ducks but it's not going to cover the whole enclosure. Also we don't have a drake so the duck breeding with the hens is not going to happen. The breed we got was pekin. And the breed I've heard is very good with chickens. There should be no problem with mating. They don't free range what we do is we keep there run door open and they can go out of the run but are in a fenced in area. The ducks and chickens will have plenty of space.
 

Lacy Duckwing

Autistic Chicken Lover
Premium Feather Member
Nov 6, 2017
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I understand that chickens like dry and ducks like wet but I don't really know why that would be a big problem. There will be a swimming area for the ducks but it's not going to cover the whole enclosure. Also we don't have a drake so the duck breeding with the hens is not going to happen. The breed we got was pekin. And the breed I've heard is very good with chickens. There should be no problem with mating. They don't free range what we do is we keep there run door open and they can go out of the run but are in a fenced in area. The ducks and chickens will have plenty of space.
Ok. I'm not quite sure on duck's growth speed, but I'm thinking maybe four months old?
 

LaFleche

Meadow Devil
10 Years
Sep 22, 2012
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@Lacy Duckwing is right: Ducks, more precisely waterfowl and chickens are best kept apart, each with their own coop and run.

  • Ducks will make a muddy mess of the run in no time.
  • They will happily soil the water dishes, poop in the water etc.
  • They carry pathogens that are harmful to chickens.
  • This also shows in lower fertility and hatching rates of chicken eggs when being kept with ducks.
  • Ducks bring lots of humidity to the coop and chickens need their coop as dry as possible.
 

BirdsBeesTrees

Isaiah 5:20
Premium Feather Member
Mar 10, 2019
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I have an enormous yard, I have an orchard in 1/4 of it. My chickens and ducks stay away from each other because they weren't raised together.
So my ducks, chickens and geese are in the same yard but they don't really care for each other and have an acre of yard to space themselves out in.
I also want to add that Pekin drakes (males) are very frisky as adults and if the males rape a chicken the chicken will die.
 

U_Stormcrow

Crossing the Road
Jun 7, 2020
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I keep them "together", if by together you mean "in the same run". I have two, actually, both have hen houses which are extremely well ventilated, so the extra moisture from the ducks is not an issue. Can't get around the extra cleaning, however - ducks will very rapidly fill watering stations with mud. Requires constant upkeep.

In the original run, the ducks bed on the ground (because of course they do), and the hen house is raised 3' above that. Sides are all metal cloth on three sides of the house at the duck level, so its all ventilated - 8'x12', so 24 sq ft plus 36 sq ft plus 24 sq ft of ventilation. No issues with the chickens roosting 4-5' above them, with a floor between them. That's also where my primary nesting boxes are, they remain in constant use.

Biggest disadvantage is having to crawl under the raised hen house for duck eggs. Its not comfortable or sanitary. I've transitioned my ducks largely to the second run, with the goats.

There, the ducks nest n plastic milk crates 3-4" off the ground, and chickens perch on a shallow ladder system I built above the height of the top of the milk crates. Goats bed down on raised pallets on the other side. Much more easily managed (this will NOT work if you free feed your birds- Goats can get severe bloat, potentially requiring medical intervention, if they eat too much poultry feed.)

I've never seen, though I have heard it possible, a drake try to mount one of my pullets. You can see my flock in the signature below. There is currently one drake. I've had as many as three mature drakes, and rapidly culled them to keep the drake/hen ratio relatively low. FOr the hen's sake, as much as for the chickens. My birds free range on a good sized pasture, with a small man made pond, when they aren't in the run overnight - mostly the ducks and chickens self segregate into separate "flocks".

To answer your question? As soon as the ducks can run effectively on their own, you can start to integrate. Which is some period AFTER your quarantine is done. I assume you plan to quarantine at least three weeks at some distance as far from the existing flock's area as possible? By age 5 weeks, ducks should have plenty of size, and as much coordination as they are ever going to get, you could start "see and be seen" sooner, except for the quarantine period, with an expectation to fully integrate two weeks after the see and be seen begins.

The only time I've had problems with pekins and chickens together was in the reverse - I had a large brooder (now a grow out pen, roughly 4' x 13.5') and introduced hatchling chicks when I already had several week old pekin ducks. In the race for the food bowl, those much larger, very ungainly, ducks crushed one of the hatchling chicks - something I hadn't considered. Put up a temporary partition wall and raised them side by side from that point forward. Integrated when the chicks were about 6 weeks and had some size, had them moved out at 10 weeks. Most of those birds are still with me.
 

Richard1234

In the Brooder
Apr 8, 2021
25
14
44
I own 7 hens and 1 rooster, I recently decided to buy ducks 4 days ago. They are Pekin ducks and are 3 weeks old exept for one of the ducks which is 1 week. I was wondering when would be a good time to mix them with my chickens. I have 6 Barred Rock hens and 1 Easter Egger. My rooster is a Barred Rock just like my 6 hens. My hens and rooster are 20 weeks old and my Easter Egger is 18 weeks old. The chickens haven't really interacted with the ducks yet. They are both in there own separate enclosures but the plan was to move the ducks to the chickens enclousure. Keep in mind that the chickens will not share there coop with the ducks. The ducks have there own separate home. But my main question is when will I be able to mix the ducks with the chickens. View attachment 2760210 View attachment 2760215
The ducks and chickens won't be sharing a coop. The ducks have there own separate house. Also sorry for not being clear on this but the ducks are only staying in the fenced in area by the chickens run.
 
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Richard1234

In the Brooder
Apr 8, 2021
25
14
44
I have an enormous yard, I have an orchard in 1/4 of it. My chickens and ducks stay away from each other because they weren't raised together.
So my ducks, chickens and geese are in the same yard but they don't really care for each other and have an acre of yard to space themselves out in.
I also want to add that Pekin drakes (males) are very frisky as adults and if the males rape a chicken the chicken will die.
We don't have a drake
 

Crazy Maizie

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2020
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My ducks and chickens co-habitate. I have a large run with 2 coops - one for ducks and one for chickens. Sometimes my ducks decide to sleep in the chicken coop. My ducks are muscovy and they like to pick at the chickens as they run by, but they don't do anything else. The ducks pick on each other in the same way. Depending on the chicken, they will stand up to the ducks or run away.
The water kept on the duck side is in rubber tubs and the water on the chicken side is in a poultry waterer. The ducks can stick their head through the fence and get a drink from the tubs that are set along the fence if and when they are on the chicken side. The ducks also have bathing water inside the run and out in the yard.
As well, I have a section of fence up to separate the chickens and ducks. I do this because the ducks are out all day and the chickens are not. Also, in the winter when it's not feasible to be free ranging, I open up the separating fence to make more space available to all.
When I'm home or out in the yard working, I let the chickens free range with the ducks. They co-mingle sometimes (mostly when they are sitting in the shade) otherwise they don't bother one another.
With my first set of ducks, I probably waited too long to integrate. But, if full grown chickens, I would just wait until the ducks are big enough to get away if needed or make it so they can go to separate areas.
My last set of ducklings that hatched would pop through the separating fence. I would often see the ducklings with my chickens and the chickens really didn't bother them. If they did, the ducklings just popped back through the fence to the duck side.
It works for us.
 

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