Contents: Do Chickens Attract Rats?
Can You Keep Ducks & Chickens Together?
Yes, in general ducks and chickens will happily get along with each. This is especially true if you’ve been raising them together since they were chicks and ducklings.
Even the meanest of roosters can get along with a male duck (a drake). Yet, sometimes, ducks and chickens will tolerate each other but prefer the company of their own species.
But before you mix poultry and waterfowl together, there are a few things you must know and think about. So make sure to keep reading!
Male Ducks (Drakes)
Let’s start with something that shocks a lot of people…
A rooster doesn’t have a phallus but a male duck (called a drake) does.
Hens aren’t made to accept what the drake has to offer her. A drake mating with a hen can cause a prolapsed vent which can eventually kill her. So
if you keep chickens and ducks together, you might want to make sure all ducks are female.
Domestic ducks are generally polygamous and have a high sex drive. So if you still want a drake, a good rule of thumb is to have at least 2 female ducks for each drake to keep him busy.
However, I must say that I personally wouldn’t want to take the risk of having drakes with my hens unless the males were small.
Some types of duck breeds are also more docile than others and are more likely to be great friends with chickens, like Muscovy ducks.
Pecking Order & Space
When you introduce new ducks or chickens to your flock, the chickens’ pecking order shifts. So you’ll need to give them a lot of physical space. This is so if a chicken wants to pick a fight with a duck, the duck can run in the opposite direction.
But, from my personal experience, things will eventually settle down and they’ll start respecting each other.
If you’re including new members that are smaller than most of the original flock, then
it might be best to have ducks kept in one area and chickens kept in another area where they can see each other but they can’t directly interact with each other.
You can keep your birds separated like this for a week or 2, or until you feel comfortable that they’ll get along.
Chickens like to be dry, but ducks love to splash and bathe in water.
So what’s the problem?
If you have a small yard, this water will probably find its way to the coop and run. And your chickens will most likely get drenched too.
On hot sunny days, wet chickens won’t be so much of a problem. But, in winter, wet chicken feathers are a huge problem! The chickens will freeze because they lack the layer of down and fat ducks have to protect themselves from the harsh winter weather.
Although it’s common to hear that ducks and chickens can live in the same coop, this water issue was enough for me to build a coop for the chickens and one for the ducks.
Please Note: Chickens and ducks both need water to wash down their feed. Do not leave food out without water near them or they could choke. Since ducks love to dirty up bowls of water very quickly, I like to keep poultry nipple drinkers (Amazon) around different sections of my yard so all the birds have access to clean water throughout the day.
Seasons & Behavior
During the ducks’ breeding season (early March to late May), ducks may become more aggressive! This is because they’re working to lay and hatch eggs.
So you have to make sure your chickens and ducks have an abundance of space so that the ducks’ nesting area isn’t close to the chickens.
It’s also recommended that you don’t introduce new members to your flock during this time, as ducks can be especially hostile.
Although ducks and chickens have a similar diet, they also have slightly different nutritional needs. They also both require different feed formulas at various stages of their lives to have optimal health.
So, while it’s totally possible to raise ducks and chickens of different ages together, you’ll probably need to separate them (or at least some of them) at times to make sure they have access to the proper feed.
It’s really unfair to the chickens if you put the ducks in the same coop at night. Chickens like to sleep through the night. Meanwhile, ducks… not so much!
Ducks alternate between sleep and play. They can be so rowdy that the chickens will probably not get the rest they need. This will not only torture your chickens but will most likely slow down or stop egg production.
A better plan is to build separate coops for the ducks and the chickens.
Conclusion: Do Ducks and Chickens Get Along?
The answer to this question is: Usually yes… but…
For many years, I’ve been raising both ducks and chickens. And what works best for me is keeping them in separate areas for most of the time, but I’ll open the gates up so they share a common area and mingle when I’m around to supervise.
Ducks and chickens can get along but they can bring on a whole bunch of challenges. And these issues can range from bad to worse if you only have a small backyard that doesn’t afford you the ability to separate the birds in different areas should a problem arise. So if you don’t have a large area, be prepared for a lot of work, time, and attention.
However, if you do have a large enough area, then it’s possible to keep ducks and chickens together (at times) without too much stress and effort.