Where to begin?

Wise Woman

12 Years
Apr 12, 2011
My Cottage
Hi everyone. I have had chickens for 11 years now and my daughter is really pushing to get a couple or 3 ducks. I have never done ducks. We are in the process of moving and will be converting a large shed into our goat and chicken house.

Can ducks live in the coop with chickens? Would they lay their eggs in the nest boxes if they are down low and would they need their own little sleeping quarters in the coop? Obviously they don't perch.

Also what is a nice, quiet breed that mixes well with chickens? I have heard that Khaki Campbells are a good choice as they don't require as much water as other breeds. I won't have room for a lot of water, so I am not sure this is even doable and I don't want to get the ducks unless I can provide a good environment for them.

I will be reading this forum as much as possible, but there is a lot to sort through and my time is limited with all the remodeling we are doing. I need to decide this now prior to remodeling the shed so I can be sure I add in duck accommodations if necessary. This will most likely be our last coop project so I want to be sure I get all my wants in this remodel and include a small duck house if this is doable.

Also what do you do about water in the winter? I won't have room in the coop for a large tub of water and don't want that much humidity in my coop anyway. We also get snow, but my DH usually will go out and run the snow blower through their pen for them.

Any suggestions or thoughts on these duck matters is gratefully received.
Welcome to the threshold of Duckdom!

If a kiddie pool or concrete mixing pan is too much water, then I would say don't get ducks. There will also be a splashy area around the pool.

Ducks can get along without swimming for a while, but need to be able to wash their whole heads every day to avoid serious infections.

They can bed down with chickens but need to be protected from droppings of perched chickens, and they muddy up waterers so the chickens would need their water up higher where the ducks won't get into it.

Many people keep both together successfully, but some separate them. Especially you would not want drakes with your chicken hens . . . they will try to mate with them and could injure or even kill them.

Some ducks lay in nest boxes, most don't, as far as I can tell. Mine make their own nests and lay most of their eggs in them.

I would go with KCs or similar sized ducks with chickens.
Well, let's see; I can only surmise that you are in or near Idyllwild, California,
(Elevation about 6000') just west of Palm Springs in the foothills. If I'm wrong than ignore this because I have no idea as to the weather in "The Enchanted Forest".

First, I have 11 Khaki Campbells and they are not quiet, at least compared to chickens. Compared to LAX, or The Stack in LA, particularly at rush hour they are quiet.
I am told that they get along well with chickens, but I won't really know for about a month. Only one, Sunsinger who is about six months older has been with the chickens and they get along fine.

If in fact you are in Idyllwild, California than the weather there is mild enough that it is not a problem. It rarely gets below freezing (and than only barely) and it's been a long time since there was enough snow to be a problem. If you're in Enchanted Forest, Oregon; that's ski country and snow might be an issue. Enchanted Forest Park, Florida is not a likely candidate for your location since I don't think they ever get freezing temperatures there, let alone snow, .

While Khaki Campbells may need less water, and I have no experience with other breeds, they do need a lot more water than chickens and mine love to go swimming.

Also know this: While adorable, DUCKS ARE MESSY!!! They are a lot messier than chickens. Mine are not particularly friendly and cuddly, compared to the chickens, but than I don't work at that. For me they are livestock.

OldGal and I did raise one duckling many years ago that was very friendly. A word of warning, whatever you teach them to do as ducklings they will want to do when they are full grown. As an example OldGal thought that it was "cute" when he was little to teach him to sit on her shoulder and give her "kisses." That didn't work out so well when he grew up to be a seven pound drake. Was kinda funny to watch, though.

Hope this helps,

Elevation 6000 inches didn't seem right. Oops, my bad!
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I say DITTO on the MESSY part! OMGoodness they are way messier then the chickens! lol! IMO though they definitely win on the Cuteness factor and are entertaining to watch play in whatever we use as their Pool at the time. Our ducks follow you around like your mama duck and get upset if you are out of their line of sight outdoors.

Originally I had thought to put the ducks in with our chickens in the coop as well. We also converted a large shed and have 1/4 sectioned off for the chickens. Its large enough to put them in there but right now they are in a XL wire dog crate (they are only 1 month old) sitting beside the chickens and and even having their food and water in a plastic tote with the side cut out and bottom raised so the water mess falls below, their bedding is such a mucky mess I have to change it daily. And No flies to be seen where the chickens are....the ducks however attract alot! Another reason for the daily cleaning!

I think they are definitely worth the extra work but at the same time...its extra work lol!
I used to have chickens , now raise ducks. I prefer ducks, guess I always liked jumping in puddles and I think ducks are prettier.I find female ducks are friendlier than the drakes.They follow me around, and will come quite close if I sit down. I do not "imprint" them, but do sit with the babies some while brooding and handle them a bit and teach them to come to "dinner". Runners are the most comical and lay well and almost can't fly (well some production runners seem able to a bit, but the really upright ones, maybe 2" off the ground)
I have Saxonies and they are pretty friendly and laid back and lay well, but a big duck, pretty quiet too. Dutch Hookbills are good foragers,active and will get under foot, fast little guys.I keep a large carport subdivided into apartments for night lockup with day yards off that.Then I have yard or pasture for them to eat out of.I use pans and kiddie pools, I also use that round pond rock for a bottom layer or horse type mats in goose houses to hose off easily(I have a well). I have a mini duck pen that has a small house on one end that the roof lifts off and a pond pebble small run that is completely fenced for the mini's. See my " duck aviary post".on profile. Will they get along? If raised next to each other and given space to "get away" if need be. During breeding season the drakes get territorial..for a couple months.
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Thanks everyone. Just as I figured, they sound like a lot of trouble. Yes we are in Idyllwild, Pine Cove actually. However, your description of our weather is way off. We get into the single digits in the winter and can get as much as 3 feet of snow in a single storm and it can most definately be a big problem when we get pummeled with storm after storm. There have been years where we had so much snow that it took several months to melt enough that the chickens and goats could come out. My husband bought a snow blower so he can clean the snow out their pen because it takes so long to melt. Luckily in the 17 years that I have been here, I have never seen it go below 0.

Thanks for all the advice. I really don't want to jump into this if it is going to be a lot of work and trouble. I have 20 chickens already and that keeps me busy enough.

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