Can Ducks and Chickens be Raised Together?

Can Ducks and Chickens be Raised Together?

A common question that get asked is can ducks and chickens be raised together?  There are mixed opinions on the subject, some will tell you that they need to be kept in separate pens and other farmers will tell you that they raise their ducks and chickens together without any difficulty.  If you decide to raise your birds together then you need to keep a couple of things in mind.  Here are some hacks for raising them together.

Squabbling

Chickens and ducks don’t always get along, they can fight among each other just like they do among themselves.  The problem is that chickens have very sharp beaks and can cause a lot of damage.  Not only that if you are raising Call Ducks you need to be especially careful since they are so much smaller than regular ducks. It is usually the males that end up doing to the fighting so watch them carefully.

Sharing Food and Water

If you do decide to raise them together then you want to make sure that the pen is big enough that they have separate food and water.  You also want to make sure they have separate coops to sleep in.  When they are young, chickens and ducks eat different diets and this is the time where it is absolutely necessary to keep them separate.

Baby chicks are fed a specific diet that contains drugs to help prevent coccidiosis, but that same feed is dangerous to ducks.  Baby ducklings also eat more than baby chicks do and need to be fed more often.  Also the female chicks are going to need more calcium in their diets to get ready for when they start laying eggs.  Both birds can be fed poultry food when they are older along with foraging for bugs.

Water

Your birds are going to need separate water containers otherwise ducks will bathe in the water and make it undrinkable for chickens.  To prevent this you can hang containers of water off the ground with a place for chickens to perch on so they can drink.  Chickens can fly up and drink while the water is out of reach of the ducks.  For your ducks you will want to put a small tub in the yard, a kid’s paddling pool actually works well.  This lets ducks bathe and play in the water, but you need to keep the chickens out so they don’t drown.

While technically you can keep ducks and chickens together in the same enclosure it is probably less work for you overall to separate them.  That way you don’t have to worry about them fighting or getting into trouble.

Looking After Your Call Ducks

Looking After Your Call Ducks

Call ducks are a smaller breed of duck that originally came from the mallard.  Originally they were used as decoys to lure bigger wild ducks into traps that would then be used commercially.  Call ducks have been around since the mid 1800’s and were among the first breeds to be standardized. While smaller than most ducks they do have lots of character and really big voices, the females are particularly vocal.  These ducks are easily domesticated, come in a variety of colours and weight roughly a pound.  Looking after your call ducks isn’t that difficult but let’s look at what you need to do.

Caring for Your Call Ducks

Call ducks don’t really need any special care compared to other breeds.  You will need to have somewhere for the ducks to sleep that rats and mice can’t get into.  You can make your own if you’re handy or you can buy one.  You do want to make sure that foxes can’t get into it either.  Ideally your ducks should be free range but if that isn’t possible then you can use a mobile run instead.

Ducks Need Water

Call ducks are no different from any other type of duck and they are going to need water.  You can use some small washing up bowls or rectangular plastic containers for them to swim in.  Lay some stones or bricks around the container and inside it to help the ducks get in and out.  Remember they are smaller than regular ducks and get just step into a paddling pool.  You also need to change the water regular, this is the water they will drink out of so it needs to be clean and fresh.  Stagnant water can make your ducks sick, so it should be avoided.

Feeding Your Call Ducks

Call ducks are much smaller than regular ducks and feeding then will cost you less.  If you are letting your ducks roam then they will forage for slugs, worms and greens.  But your call ducks are also going to need some calcium especially during laying season.  Ducks also have pretty sensitive digestive tracts so if you are going to supplement with chicken feed make sure it is organic and has no medication in it.  Since these ducks are so small they need special food, crumbs or starter pellets are best so they can digest it easily.

Call ducks are more like pets than other ducks you might consider raising, they are tiny weighing only a pound.  They are lively and be prepared for the noise, these ducks are not quiet.