Raising Ducks and Chickens Together

Raising chickens can be fun and profitable. However, consider raising different poultry birds together if you want to take your poultry farming adventure to another level. You can mix your chicken flock with quails, geese, turkeys, ducks, etc. 

Ducks and chickens can be raised together, even under one house unit. However, it would be best to consider that they have different water needs and sleeping habits. Chickens only require water for drinking, which you can provide using a nipple waterer. On the contrary, ducks require a pool of water to clean their beaks, dip their heads, and swim. While playing around, ducks splash water everywhere, which can cause dampness.

Secondly, ducks prefer nesting while sleeping, while hens prefer sleeping on their roosting perch. Also, the house should not be so high since ducks are not good jumpers like chickens. However, even with the challenge of water and sleeping requirements, chickens and ducks get along quite well. They rarely fight or kill each other.

Raising the two birds will ensure you have a continuous supply of eggs. Duck eggs are large and have higher fat, cholesterol, and protein levels than hen eggs. Raising chickens and ducks together is possible, and it has numerous advantages. However, to understand how to care for these poultry birds, scroll down to the rest of the article!

How to take care of ducks and chickens together

While raising chickens and ducks, you must address their specific needs. Though adult ducks and chickens have almost similar feeding requirements, you need to consider the following factors: 

1. Sleeping arrangements

To ensure both birds sleep comfortably, provide them with their sleeping requirements. For ducks, provide nesting materials in a cool place, not under chickens, since they will poop on them. You should also provide poles running across the coop for chickens to perch around at night. 

2. Water needs

Though chicken and ducks require water for hydration, the ducks have more water needs, and the first one is to make digestion easier by swishing down any solid food.

Dicks also enjoy cleaning their nostrils and eyes by submerging their heads into the pool of water. Swimming and playing around the water are also essential factors.

Therefore, you need to provide ducks with a pool of water while chickens can drink from nipple waterers. It would be best if you placed the water pools outside since ducks may wet the floor and nesting grounds while swimming, leading to bacteria infestation or respiratory problems 

3. Feeding requirements 

The good thing about ducks and chickens is that they can eat the same food type. However, ducklings and chicks have different feeding requirements. They can feed on the same food if you provide unmedicated food. 

Medicated feeds are healthy for chicks, but ducklings will fall sick if they are overfed on them. Ducklings require additional niacin, which is absent in chick feed. Mix chick feed with brewer’s yeast to cater to niacin’s needs. Therefore, while raising ducks and chickens together, you should separate ducklings and chicks until they mature. 

4. Housing requirements 

Chickens and ducks can live comfortably in one house unit, but you have to consider the following factors: 

  1. The staircase or ramp to the house should not be steep: Chickens can jump and climb, but ducks have floppy feet and large bodies that make it hard for them to jump 
  2. Provide nesting materials for ducks to sleep in and roosts above the ground for the chickens 
  3. Ducks can sleep inside or outside: You can create a predator-proof run and leave the door open at night to give room to ducks who prefer to sleep outside.
  4. The house should be well-ventilated since ducks are messy and may wet the coop.

Frequently asked questions

The following section compiles the questions most poultry farmers ask concerning raising chickens and ducks:

1. What kind of ducks get along with chickens?

When raising chickens and ducks, you should select breeds that are generally calm and non-aggressive. Though it’s hard to categorize ducks, the following breeds are not highly strung and generally mix well with chickens: 

  1. Rouens
  2. Pekins 
  3. Appleyard
  4. Ancona 
  5. Welsh Harlequin 
  6. Saxony 

2. Can ducks hatch chicken eggs or vice versa? 

First, once ducks become broody, they can sit on their eggs and chicken eggs. However, ducks and chickens have different incubation periods. Hens take 20-21 days, and ducks hatch in 28-29 days. You should remove the chicks from the duck once they are hatched to avoid injuring the chicks or distracting the duck. 

On the other side, broody hens can also hatch duck eggs. However, if you mix the duck eggs with chicken eggs, the hen may abandon them after their eggs hatch. 

3. Do ducks and chickens attack each other?

Generally, ducks are calm poultry birds and won’t attack the chicken. They can only injure the chicken if they try to mate. Chickens do not attack birds, but their pecking order is higher than ducks’. Some chickens might peck on ducks sometimes, but that’s not a significant problem since ducks can protect themselves. 

4. Can chickens and ducks mate? 

Roosters rarely try to mate with ducks, but drakes can attempt to step on hens, which can cause serious injuries. Unlike roosters, drakes have an external phallus that can injure hens since their bodies are not designed for mating. 

Keep 3-5 ducks per drake and 10-12 hens for one rooster to avoid chickens and ducks matting since they will try to if their population is not checked. By having enough drakes and roosters, they won’t try matting. 

5. Can a duck raise chicks?

Though ducks can take care of chicks, it is not advisable to allow ducks to raise chicks due to their mannerisms. Ducks love playing with water and will take chicks into pools of water, which is unhealthy and dangerous.

Chicks don’t have waterproof feathers, and they can contract respiratory problems when they become wet. To avoid such issues, raise chicks separately from ducks. If the chicks can also share heat lumps kept for baby ducks, provided that it is regulated at an average temperature for the two.

Raising chickens and ducks together can be adventurous, profitable, and fun. However, keeping ducks or chickens with quails together can be challenging since the tiny birds will likely be bullied. You must consider the factors discussed in this post. Always remember to meet the requirements of both poultry birds to ensure they grow and produce at optimum levels.