Have you been asking if you can raise ducks and chickens together? The answer is yes; you can successfully raise the two together in your flock. With their humorous farm antics and adorable good looks, ducks can hardly be resisted.
However, there are several things that you need to be aware of for you to raise them together successfully. You will have to make them live in harmony by planning accordingly.
Socially, ducks and chickens will intermingle, although they prefer hanging around with their kind. They will usually hang around in separate groups unless you have a single duck with many chickens.
Generally, chickens and ducks have different lifestyles that you must consider before you go ahead to raise them together.
Here we will discuss everything you need to know to raise chickens and ducks together successfully. Keep reading to learn more.
Ideal Coop Setup
Both chickens and ducks will not mind sharing a coop. However, the ideal coop set up for the two should look like two separate areas for various reasons.
Chickens love to roost at night at higher levels above the ground. This makes them feel safe and will sleep inside the coop with one of their eyes open. Generally, backyard chickens like peace and quiet environment to enjoy their beautiful sleep.
Unlike ducks, chickens are usually calm at night and will hardly move around at night. They tend to remain on their perch throughout the night.
Unlike chickens, ducks will enjoy nesting on the floor. They will need a big pile of bedding which they get wet frequently.
They do not fall asleep through the night. Instead, they will settle down for a few minutes and wake up to move around a bit or talk up a storm with others.
This frequently happens at night and can be very disruptive to your chickens who are trying to sleep. Therefore, the best solution is to have two coops.
If not possible, you can divide your coop into two wet and dry sections. This way, your ducks can mess around as they want while your chickens remain dry and undisturbed.
You will have to make sure that your coop is large enough to avoid congestion. It should also be completely secure to keep off any predators. You can use automatic coops to let out the chickens in the morning.
If you keep your ducks and chickens entirely enclosed, you will have to create an area for a small pool. The water will be essential for the well-being of your ducks as they will use it to clean their bodies, soften up food, and mating.
Although adult chickens will stay away from the water, that will not be the case for chicks; Therefore, if you have chicks in your flock, you will have to ensure that the pool section is properly fenced.
Chicken And Duck Food
Although there are a few exceptions, you can feed both chickens and ducks regular chicken feed. Unlike chickens, ducks do not overeat. Therefore, you can feed them twice a day or can be free-fed.
The first exception when it comes to feeding your ducks and chickens is medicated feed. You will have to feed the ducklings separately if you want your chicks to be fed on medicated feed.
This feed should not be given to ducklings because it can be highly toxic to them. Your ducklings will also require niacin which helps in their development. Without niacin, your ducklings are more likely to develop neurological problems.
If the two are feeding on chicken feed, you can add more niacin to it because it has fewer amounts. You can add Crushed Brewers yeast powder to the feed at the ratio of 5%.
Both chickens and ducks can self-regulate the amount of feed they are fed on. Therefore, you can leave food hanging in their feeders throughout the day for free choice.
Garlic and apple cider vinegar is believed to be having several health benefits for supporting a strong immune system in humans, livestock, and pets and can also be offered to your mixed flock.
Feeders And Feeding Time
It is no secret that a duck’s bill can not fit well inside the regular chicken feeder. Therefore, you will have to find other means to feed your ducks.
They are better suited to using a trough feeder, which allows them to scoop up the food. You can use a large rubber bowl if you do not want to spend a lot of money.
Ducks love to mix water and their feed which creates a filthy waterer. They do that to soften the food for easy digestibility.
You can try to keep the feed away from the water source in the coop. Separating the area will help to keep the water a bit cleaner and the feed a bit drier.
You should not completely remove the water because it is imperative that ducks will have easy access to water with the food as they find it hard to swallow dry food.
Your ducks will enjoy zucchini, leafy greens, corn, peas, berries, veggie peelings, grapes, watermelon, and bananas for snacks and treats.
They will also enjoy eating slugs and will not destroy the plants in the process. Your chickens will also enjoy most of these.
Common Health Problems
Generally, ducks are robust and healthy birds. Here are some of the common health problems that you will notice in your flock of chickens and ducks.
Like chickens, your ducks can also get impacted if they eat wrong things such as elastic bands, bits of string, and hardware. This treatment is similar to chickens: water, a massage, grit, and olive oil.
Botulism is common in ducks that eat and swim in stagnant water and water contaminated with dead animals. If you suspect this, take the bird immediately to your vet.
Bumblefoot is caused by bacteria entering an open area or a cut on foot. You can use wound care and antibiotics to heal the infection.
Wryneck is common in ducklings. The condition is caused by a vitamin deficiency and can even lead to death if not treated in time.
This can be caused by injury or irritation to the eye. You can use antibiotics to treat the problem.
This condition is common in ducks that are raised in a coop with heavily contaminated water or those that do not have regular access to water.
The condition will make the preen gland at the base of the tail stop working, and the feathers will not be oiled. The bird will no longer be waterproof.
Other common health conditions in ducks and chickens include vent prolapse and respiratory issues.
It would be best if you always made sure that the birds are treated on time the moment you see signs of various health issues.
Ducklings, Chicks, And Brooders
If you plan to hatch chick and duckling eggs, you will have to use two separate brooders. Ducks live in a damp, soggy area and like to be messy most of the time. On the other hand, chicks are messy, although they like to live in dry areas. Chicks raised in a damp or moist environment are likely to suffer from brooder pneumonia which is mostly caused by moldy bedding.
Roosters And Drakes
Generally, ducks have a pretty laid-back personality. Although you may come across a grumpy one, most of them are good-natured. However, the males are an exception.
Drakes are usually oversexed and territorial, especially during their mating season. It is always recommended that one should have about four duck hens for every drake.
It is good to have just one drake in your coop as a fight among them can be very bloody. Fighting behaviors are very rare between ducks and hens. The only problem will be between drakes and roosters.
Therefore, you should keep your roosters and drakes separated. Drakes may also attempt to mate with chickens. This is very dangerous and should not be allowed within the flock.
The reproductive organs of drakes are not compatible with those of chickens. Therefore, mating between a drake and a chicken hen can be very dangerous and even lead to death.
You can keep a good rooster to prevent your drake from mating with the chickens. However, the drake should be completely taken away from the flock during the mating season.
Because of the anatomical differences, it is not nearly as dangerous for your rooster to mate with a duck hen. It should not be allowed because it can lead to sterile offspring.
It is possible to raise chickens and ducks together. This article has covered everything you need to know about raising the two together as well as some of the challenges that may arise.
For instance, drakes are aggressive, oversexed, and difficult to deal with. It would be best not to allow your drakes to mate with the chicken hens as it can be very dangerous.