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Can Ducks and Chickens Live Together?

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Homesteaders are always looking for tricks to increase their yield. For example, many people choose to raise chickens and ducks to get more products.

Is it a great idea to raise chickens and ducks? Can ducks and chickens live together? Read this article.

Can ducks and chickens live together? Of course. Ducks and chickens have no problem living together.

You, however, have to make some considerations such as feed, space, etc. so that there will be little to no competition between the birds.

What should you know about raising multiple species of birds such as ducks and chickens? Are you likely to encounter any problems? Continue reading.

a flock of mulard ducks graze in the garden

Raising Chickens and Ducks Together

It really is a great idea to raise chickens and ducks together. Let us discuss a few reasons you should raise both birds.

Reasons You Should Raise Chickens and Ducks Together

Here are some beneficial reasons you should raise ducks and chickens:

  • Ducks and Chickens Rarely Fight: Both birds are highly cooperative. Sometimes, you may notice ducklings following a mother hen. You may also find mother hens and ducks walking with their chicks and ducklings together.
  • Ducks and Chickens Have Similar Feed: Asides from the little variation in the protein content of processed chicken and duck feed, ducks and chickens have the same preference of food and they also love to go free-range.
  • With Different Growth Rates, You Get to Increase Your Yield: You will likely harvest chicken eggs and meat earlier than ducks, so you get to enjoy their products for a more extended time (i.e. when the ducks start producing eggs or are large enough).

You now want to raise both birds, right? Hold on. You need to consider some needs such as space and feed requirements of ducks and chickens.

Space Arrangement for Chickens and Ducks

Ducks feed on traditional rural barnyard and chicken on the background on barn yard

The space needs of ducks and chickens differ. Check the table below to know the space requirement of ducks and chickens:

BirdInside CoopOutside Coop
Chicken2-3 sq ft8-10 sq ft
Duck3 sq ft16 sq ft

As you can see, ducks need more space than chickens. If you want to raise chickens and ducks together, you need to consider the available space and also know the number of birds you can raise (how many ducks can you raise with the available space? How many chickens can you raise as well?)

Note that spacing is very vital when raising birds.

Feeding Ducks and Chickens

There is a slight variation in the feed of chickens and ducks. The table below shows the protein needs of laying chickens and ducks:

AgeChicken Protein RequirementDuck Protein Requirement
Weeks 0-620-22%18-20%
Weeks 7 to Point of Laying14-16%14%
When They Start Laying15-18%16-17%

Note that layers were used in the table above. Most homesteaders who raise chickens and ducks do not do so intensively, so they prefer layers that eat less expensive feed, lay eggs, and are sold when they are old.

Chickens and Ducks in Organic Farm in Palenque Mexico

As you can see from the table above, chickens and ducks have different protein needs in their processed feed, so you may be wasting your feed if you are giving it to the wrong bird.

To reduce waste of feed and money, you should raise chickens and ducks free-range. In free-range, chickens and ducks can feed on:

  • Seeds and grains
  • Insects
  • Worms
  • Insect Larvae
  • Leafy Greens

As you can see, you can reduce your cost of raising both birds by allowing them to search for some of their food themselves.

Coop Ventilation

When ducks breathe, they release moisture and increase the humidity of the coop environment. This increase in humidity is harmful to both ducks and chickens, so the coop should be well-ventilated. Here are some ventilation tips:

female Muscovy Duck and plymouth rock chicken drinking water
  • Install Windows: Windows are great for ventilation. Make sure that you can open and close the windows at will according to the temperature of the coop and environment.
  • Install Vents High Up the Wall: Vents are also great in airflow but install them high up the wall to prevent drafts and the cool wind of winter from entering the coop.
  • Install a Fan (Optional): Fans are great for the circulation of air, but you do not need to install them.

Extra Tips to Raise Ducks and Chickens Together

Here are more tips on raising chickens and ducks:

  • Reduce Number of Males: Even though ducks and chickens are cooperative, they can fight sometimes. Male ducks and chickens can fight for space and mates. To prevent your birds from fighting, reduce the number of cocks and drakes.
  • Pond for Ducks: Even though not compulsory, you are giving your ducks the best gift ever by giving them a pond or a container of water large enough for them to swim on. Duck also love dipping their head in the water (with their neck in the water), so they’d appreciate a large pool of water.
  • Roost for Chickens: Chickens love to roost at night. Unlike chickens, many breeds of ducks do not mind sleeping anywhere. Some duck breeds even go out at night during the winter. Chickens, however, have to roost. Construct a nice coop for your chickens (and of course, your ducks).

Awesome tips to raise ducks and chickens, right?

Related Questions and Answers

Here are a few questions that you might ask:

1. Do Ducks and Chickens Get Along?

Yes. Ducks and chickens corporate and with sufficient food and space, you might not witness any fight between both bids. If not for the different growth rates and other factors, it would have been possible to raise chicks and ducklings in the same brooder.

2. How Often Should You Change the Water in Duck Ponds?

Remember that ducks will dip their head into the water when drinking. Well, you should also remember that when swimming, ducks can poop in the water.

This means that your ducks can get an infection from drinking any pond water that is older than 24 hours (1 day). Always change the water daily to prevent your ducks (and chickens) from drinking polluted water. If you can, change the water twice daily.

Ducks and goose with orange beaks and paws going in an artificial pond with muddy water on a summer day at a farm yard.

3. Can Chickens Swim in Duck Ponds

Yes, but you should always supervise your chickens when they swim. Chickens will likely not swim, but some might try swimming because they want to follow your ducks (who love to swim).

Unlike ducks, chickens do not have water-proof feathers, so they can sink when they get fully wet.

4. Can a Mother Duck Raise Chicks (or Vice Versa)?

Of course. Where there is no incubator, breeders sometimes give the eggs of one bird to a mother bird (of different species).

For example, you can set your chicken eggs with duck eggs so that the mother duck can incubate the chicken egg as well as her eggs.

Ducks make better mothers than chickens.

5. How Do You Care for Chickens and Ducks During the Winter?

Here are ways to care for your birds during the winter:

  • Use Heat Lamps: Heat lamps can help your birds feel warm during the winter. According to the needs of your birds, you may need to install more than one heat lamp.
  • Use Bedding: Bedding is a great way to insulate the coop during the winter. A high layer of bedding prevents the foot of your birds from touching the cold floor. Bedding also traps warm air.
  • Provide Enough Grains: Protein-rich grains such as corn helps your birds to keep warm at night. When your birds are digesting the grains, they will be warm because digestion makes the body of your birds become hot. Always provide grains during the winter nights.

Have you found the answer to your question?

Final Thoughts

It is a great idea to raise chickens and ducks. You also gain more when you raise both birds together. With proper considerations such as spacing and source of feed, you will get a great yield when you raise ducks and chickens together.


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