Chickens are a joy to have in any backyard. But you might wonder about any other fowl you can keep with them. If you love chickens, the next bird you need is ducks. But can ducks live in the same coop with chickens? Keep reading to find out the answers to all your questions.
Can Ducks Live In the Coop With Chickens?
In short, the answer is yes! Your ducks and chickens won’t be a big family. They will be more like acquaintances from the same yard. But with a few minor adjustments, your ducks can live a happy life with your chickens. With a few minor adjustments, you could make your coop the perfect duck house as well. Plus, they will provide a few unexpected benefits.
Why You Need Ducks
Before we talk about how easy keeping ducks is, let’s talk about all the great reasons to get them. Here is a small list of all the benefits of keeping a small flock of ducks.
Eggs And Meat
Ducks lay 5-6 eggs a week. And unlike chickens, ducks lay for nine years or more! You can have delicious duck eggs all year round to eat or sell. Many people end up with more eggs than they can eat. In those cases, you could sell the eggs for $6-$12 a dozen. At that price, they pay for their food and supplies if you sell enough.
Plus, raising farm-fresh duck in your backyard is a great way to put food on the table. Even smaller ducks get up to 10 pounds. That is plenty large enough to roast and serve for a family meal.
If you have a weed problem in your yard, keeping ducks will take care of that. Ducks love the taste of most dandelions and other common weeds. If you let them free-range in problem areas, they will have it cleaned up in a few days.
One of the benefits of ducks living with chickens is that you can use all waste as fertilizer. This fertilizer is excellent for a vegetable garden. Or you could sell it to make some extra cash. As you can see, there is no such thing as true waste.
Most ducks live anywhere between 9-12 years. It’s also not uncommon for your domestic ducks to live as long as 20! So even after your ducks retire as egg layers, they still make wonderful pets.
So we know that ducks living with chickens require a few adjustments. We are going to start with any modifications to the coop you will need. For the most part, your chicken coop will work perfectly for ducks. But there are a few things to think about: nesting habits and foot shape.
We will start by talking about nesting. Your ducks won’t roost like chickens; instead, they will sleep in the nesting boxes low to the ground. Sometimes they might even prefer to sleep outside. Your ducks can use any nesting box that your chickens will use. But it’s essential to keep the boxes away from the roost area.
If your nesting boxes are too close to the chicken roost, they could get pooped on. And your chickens won’t like the playful duck noise at night. Ducks tend to be like toddlers when it’s time for bed. They talk and chatter before falling asleep, and it can get a little rowdy in the coop. So keeping the nests further away will help the chickens sleep better.
The other thing to consider tweaking is the coop’s ramp. Ducks have long feet that make it hard to climb up the traditional coop ramp. Replacing it with a longer one makes it easier to enter for your ducks. So with a few adjustments, you could have a chicken and duck coop combo.
If you don’t want to modify your existing coop, you have one other option. You could buy a cheap duck coop for sale and keep it on the other side of the chicken run. That way, they have separate living spaces and still a shared run for foraging.
Ducks And Water
We all know that ducks love playing in the water. They could swim and dive all day if given a chance to. But contrary to what you might think, they don’t just do this for fun.
One of the reasons ducks dip their heads in water so often to clean their bills. Dust and dirt get into their nostrils often, and taking a quick dip, cleans it out. Another reason ducks play in the water so much is actually for digestion. Your duck will take a bit of food and then mix it with water to help them digest it easier.
You don’t need a pool to keep your ducks happy. Giving them a large bowl big enough to submerge their heads is plenty, and keep it out of the coop. But let’s not kid ourselves. Ducks can and will swim in any body of water because they love it. They will get in and splash often. So you might want to move it around the run daily to prevent mud puddles.
Ducks also don’t like drinking dirty water, so you will have to clean the bowl often. In warmer weather, you might want to opt for a kiddie pool in the yard. Your ducks will love it, and it will keep the run clean. Some owners keep a small pool in the communal run without any issues. But if you have chicks or pullets, you don’t want to risk them drowning.
Can Ducks Eat Chicken Feed?
Adult ducks living with chickens can eat the same layer feed as hens. They have nearly identical nutritional needs. So there’s no reason why they couldn’t eat the same commercial food. Your ducks and chickens will even eat all of the same treats and foraging foods. Keeping your diverse flock fed at all times is a breeze.
The only difference in feeding is what type of bowls to use. Chicken feeders tend to have small openings that are impossible for ducks to use. To accommodate your duck’s large bill, you will need an open bowl.
Drakes And Roosters
Can ducks live in a coop with chickens and roosters? Keeping a mixed flock of ducks and chickens is generally peaceful if you have only females. But things get a little iffy once you start adding males to the mix. Too much testosterone can make them territorial, and there could be issues.
Can ducks and chickens mate? In short, the answer is no. Male ducks, called drakes, can pose a threat to hens during mating season. Ducks and chickens are not anatomically compatible when it comes to the mating process. And if your drakes try to mate with your hens, then it could hurt them.
Some people claim that if you keep plenty of females for both males, that the birds keep to themselves. The roosters will protect their hens from the drakes and vice versa. But if you want to breed ducks and chickens, you might want to get a separate duck and chicken coop.
What To Do With Ducks In Winter?
Everyone knows that ducks like to fly south for the winter. And you might be wondering if your ducks will need to do the same. The truth is that ducks do just fine in the winter. Ducks have specially designed feet that keep them warm in temperatures as low as 20 degrees. But there are a few things you should watch out for.
Chickens and ducks alike are prone to frostbite on their feet. Some precautions you should take are keeping the duck coop clean and the feet protected. Most owners smooth a bit of petroleum jelly on the feet to prevent moisture buildup.
Keeping the water buckets clean and defrosted is another crucial factor. Even in the coldest winters, your ducks can’t help but take a quick dunk in the water. And you will have to take care not to leave standing water around the run. Any standing water will turn to ice, and neither chickens nor ducks need to stand on that.
Can ducks and chickens live together in a brooder? During the brooding stage, it is best to keep chicks and ducklings separately. Ducklings and chicks can eat the same chick starter feed, but ducks will need more niacin. Ducklings can get this by adding a bit of brewer’s yeast to the feed.
But this could pose an issue for chicks. Brewer’s yeast is high in protein, which could cause malnutrition in chicks that are already eating a high protein diet. It’s also safer to keep the chicks and ducklings separate to monitor how much they are eating. Ducklings tend to overeat, and you don’t want your chicks to miss out.
Once your babies are ready to go outside, they fine to live together. But if you have either drakes or roosters, it might be best to keep the males separated until your babies are strong.
Can ducks live in a coop with chickens? Yes, they can. And there are so many benefits to keeping a mixed-species flock. You will love the calm and loving nature of your ducks, along with the many eggs. You can have all of that and not compromise your chickens-the best of both worlds.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!