Believe it or not, it's definitely possible to raise ducks and chickens together.
Ideally, you have a separate coop for your backyard chickens and your ducks at night and you let them free range together during the day.
However, it can work to have a mixed flock in one backyard coop, but there are some things to keep in mind if you plan to house your ducks and chickens together or if you plan to keep them in the same run or yard.
Roost Versus Floor
Ducks sleep on the coop floor while chickens roost on overhead perches. If your ducks nest underneath your chickens, it's likely that the ducks might get pooped on. Make sure the ducks have a comfortable place to sleep and to nest without incoming poop from overhead.
Ventilation in a coop with ducks is even more important because ducks give off moisture from their breath as they sleep, just as chickens do. However, ducks will raise the temperature of a coop, which can lead to condensation problems if the coop ventilation isn't adequate.
It's essential in raising chickens and domestic ducks to have a fairly dry coop in order for chickens to remain healthy. Keep duck bathing water outside the coop and more manageable water sources inside the coop. Ducks eat by taking a mouthful of food and then swishing their bill underwater - and they love to splash, so things can quickly get messy.
A shallow water pan frequently changed and raised on bricks or blocks well above the bedding will stay cleaner longer, can aid your ducks eating, and hopefully won't get the coop bedding as wet. Space fresh water containers in the coop carefully so that the food, bedding, and dust bath area stays dry. A kiddie pool or a small pond nearby for swimming is also a good idea.
Reduce Stress and Watch for Bullying
Have more than one feeder in the coop to prevent crowding around food, and allow your flock to free range whenever you can.
Crowding is stressful, and stress can lead to bullying. Backyard ducks can eat the same layer pellets and feed as chickens, so there are no worries about different feeds for each species in the coop. But watch carefully to be sure that the chickens aren't picking on the ducks.
Chickens have sharp beaks and can do quite a bit of damage when they aren't happy. Male ducks can be aggressive with chickens as well, and the species can interbreed with each other. Keep an eye out for bullies, and be sure there are plenty of females to males to keep fights to a minimum.
It is definitely possible to raise ducks and chickens in the same coop. Just make sure your ducks have a safe nesting spot, that your coop has good ventilation, that you have a workable plan for ducks and water, and that you reduce stress and watch for potential bullying.
Before you know it, you'll be collecting duck eggs right along with your chicken eggs from your very own mixed backyard flock! Egg production will be double and diverse!
Do you have a mixed flock? If so, tell us some more tips about raising ducks and chickens in the comments below!
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