Domestic ducks can co-exist very happily with backyard chickens. That’s why we have put together our comprehensive guide on feeding and housing for ducks, where we delve into the nuances of providing the perfect environment for your quacking companions. From addressing their unique habits to securing nighttime shelters and creating ideal feeding and water setups, join us on a journey to ensure the well-being and harmony of both ducks and chickens in your backyard flock.
Housing For Ducks
Ducks are semi-nocturnal and very active at night unlike chickens. They emit lots of moisture when they breathe. Make sure your chicken coop is adequately ventilated to prevent a buildup of moisture and cause respiratory issues in hens. Ducks don’t roost and will be perfectly happy sleeping on soft straw or shavings on the coop floor. They don’t necessarily even need nesting boxes, but rather seem to prefer making themselves a nest in one corner of the coop. They also are more cold-hardy and enjoy cooler temperatures, summer and winter. Regardless of whether you keep ducks with, or separate from, your chickens, they do need to be locked up at night in a secure shelter with hardware cloth on all the windows.
Protecting Your Ducks With A Pen
Domestic ducks can’t fly (except for mallards and muscovites) and therefore are very susceptible to predators. An enclosed run or pen is a must for them for daytime. The pen should be covered and the fencing should be sunk into the ground to prevent digging predators. They will need shaded areas, bushes or shrubs to nap underneath in the middle of the day.
Feeding Your Ducks
Chickens and ducks have similar dietary needs, with some important differences. Free-ranging ducks may be able to eat a multi-poultry diet, but they will do better on a feed formulated to meet their specific nutritional requirements. If your ducks and chickens eat regular chicken layer feed, they will benefit from added raw oats and brewer’s yeast. The oats help slow their growth, which is especially important for the heavier breeds. The brewer’s yeast contains niacin which is necessary for bone growth and overall healthy ducks. Both supplements are also beneficial to chickens.
Supplying Water For Your Ducks
Ducks don’t need a pond to be happy, but they definitely enjoy splashing and paddling around in a kiddie pool. In addition to having a place to bathe, ducks need a deep enough water source to keep their mucous membranes moist. Typical chicken waterers need to be supplemented with a tub at least several inches deep for the ducks to drink from.
If you decide to raise ducks alongside your chickens, making a few allowances for them will lead to happier and healthier ducks and chickens.
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