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6 Things You Must Know Before Getting Ducks

If chicks get you smiling, wait until you see ducklings! They are adorable, and watching them splash in the water the first time will have your heart swooning for more.

Ducks are a great addition if you already have chickens; ours have always gotten along just fine. Our ducks share a chicken coop with four other chicken hens, but they roam wherever they want during the day. The ducks will go back to the coop at night like chickens, for the most part.

6 Things You Must Know Before Getting Ducks

If you are getting ducklings, be warned they are very messy, but because they grow faster than chicks you won’t have to keep them inside for long.

You can give ducklings the same chick starter food as chicks if you have raised chicks before. We switch the ducks to layer pellets like the chickens when they get full feathers.

6 Things You Must Know Before Getting Ducks

On our last batch of ducklings in 2023, we used an old washer drum that works great. They are still messy and need it cleaned twice a day, but any water they splash out goes through the holes on the bottom of the drum and into a tray we put underneath.

It’s easier to get ducklings on clearance at farm stores like Tractor Supply because they grow quickly, and once they get past a certain age, they get marked down. These ducks were at our local Tractor supply for a week, and then they went from $7.99 a duck down to $3.

This is a mixed breed this time, and I think maybe we have Indian Runners and Pekin. Both of which we haven’t raised before. This time in 2023, I’m keeping this batch of ducks fenced in and NOT giving them a chance to go to our 1/2 acre pond.

*UPDATE- We now have a brand new barn with a chicken coop, and a new set of ducks stay in the barn with the pigs and goats. This seems to work great. But, unfortunately, the ducks keep continuing to come back in and night, and I’m able to lock them up. 

raising ducks for the first time

That is crucial when raising ducks. If they don’t go in at night… it’s only a matter of time before something happens.

Read or Pin: The biggest mistake when raising ducks

Let’s get into the six things you must know before getting ducks. 

6 Things You Must Know Before Getting Ducks

Know What Water Source You Want for your Ducks

This has to be the first tip to share because we made this mistake with our ducks. This was the biggest mistake we made when raising ducks.  We figured our ducks would naturally walk over to our pond and swim and love it.

With our half-acre pond, our ducks are terrified. Raise your ducks near the water source you want them to spend their time in. Trust me; it’s a pain in the butt to fill a pool every day.

We also realized the ducks were scared of going through the shrubbery to get into the pond. So since then, we have cut back a lot around the pond.

Our new set of ducks has been with us for a year and had no problem going to the pond and walking a good way back to the barn at night.

So if you have a pond and ducks are scared, try trimming back a spot for easy access to the pond.

6 Things You Must Know Before Getting Ducks

I spotted this really cool new duck waterer that helps keep the water contained, which would be great if you have a smaller run.

tips or starting with ducks
Before walking up was all grown up, and you couldn’t really see the pond.

If you don’t have a pond or an area that always seems to turn into a puddle, a kiddie pool will probably be the way you go and be warned the water gets nasty quickly, and all your other animals if you have any, will want to drink it.

tips or starting with ducks
Now we keep it nice and low.
tips or starting with ducks

If you don’t want to change the pool frequently, ducks do not actually need the water to swim in. They will be just fine as long as they have water to drink, but they love to swim, and once you see their excitement, you’ll want to provide it for them.

6 Things You Must Know Before Getting Ducks


Duck Eggs Come Early

Almost every morning, I go out to the barn. Our ducks have already laid their eggs. They can also lay multiple eggs per day! This is a good option if you don’t want six or more hens.

Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs. They also have thicker shells. In addition, our Duck eggs are white, whereas many of our chicken eggs are brown because of the breed of the bird.

There is a great comparison of the pros and cons of duck eggs and chicken eggs here.

Duck hens also bury their eggs. When they first started laying, I noticed they buried them in the mud, and it could have been we didn’t provide enough straw for them.

We have a broody girl right now, and she has made a little nest next to the hay bale. We are keeping a few eggs in the nest for her so she stays broody. So we have duck eggs in the incubator for the first time!

We are hoping to have her adopt the babies. We shall see. ( You can keep up with this on Insta, Facebook, or Tiktok.)

Now, I don’t know what they are thinking. They will lay them right in the walkway to the barn. Our ducks tend to lay them in a couple of different spots. This comes with the fact they are pasture-raised and do not go into a locked-in-the-coop at night.

I have read that they will continue to lay in the same spot if you provide a quiet darker space for them. Similar to chickens.

6 Things You Must Know Before Getting Ducks

Know the Breed

Some ducks will fly away, but our breed Kahiki Campbells aren’t the best fliers. However, they will move when scared enough to get away. This breed is also known to be a great layer.

I can agree with that.

There are days we get two eggs from each duck.  The males have orange feet while the females have brown feet. Since we pasture raise our birds, Kahiki Campbells was a great choice because they are good foragers.

Now in 2023, we may have Pekin and Indiana runners! We shall see once they get a little bit older. Join me on Tiktok and Instagram, where I share updates.

They Don’t Require A Cute Shelter

No need to get all Pinterest Fancy for your duck house like the chicken coops. Ducks really don’t need much protection, and since they love to get wet, they prefer a place with moisture.

Our ducks headed to the barn most days to avoid the snow in the winter, but the rest of the year, they roam around and hardly enter the barn.

The biggest thing is keeping them safe at night. If any of our chickens get locked out from the coop at night on accident, some will fly up to the barn’s roof. They tend to go pretty high at night.

Ducks will not do that. Their sense of going back into the coop at night seems to be nothing like the chickens.

I love my ducks to be in with our potbelly pigs because they tend to sleep next to them, and both the ducks and pigs love playing in the mud holes.

ducks at homestead
This is our current flock now. One male two females, but we have 8 in the incubator!

Ducks Can Be Raised With Chickens But

So ducks and chickens have been known to be fine when raised together. That is the case here at our homestead, but you will see that the drakes may occasionally go after a chicken hen. It is common to see a Rooster do the same to a duck hen.

They get it all worked out, and ours tend to go their separate ways most of the day and come together for feedings.

  • Update- We incubated our ducks and had seven drakes, so we ended up butchering them, and WOW, they were fantastic. It took a ton of work to get the feathers off, but it was a great experience.

If curious, I shared a video of how we gut and butcher our own chickens here.

They Grow Like Gremlins

Ducks grow so fast. If you have raised chicks, you won’t believe the growth rate. When we purchased our clearance ducks at Tractor Supply, they would grow so quickly.  By three weeks, they are ready to move on out!

6 Things You Must Know Before Getting Ducks

They quickly outgrew the 5-gallon tote we used, and I decided to put them in a small dog crate. Of course, I spoil all the birds and always get them outside to roam around in a fenced area.

There was a great size puddle in the garden, so they spent some time out there and were in heaven!

6 Things You Must Know Before Getting Ducks

Overall I enjoy raising ducks. When they are ducklings and contained, they are quite messy with their water. Ducks a pretty skittish at first but the more time and energy you put into them, the more friendly they become. Us, we love watching the ducks in the water.

6 Things You Must Know Before Getting Ducks

And after having them for almost a year this spring, they have slowly tried to enter our pond! By the end of summer, our ducks will realize what a beautiful spot they have been missing out on.

Ducks can be a great addition to any backyard. Whether you want a steady supply of eggs, natural pest control, or an entertaining way to relieve stress after a long day, these feathered friends have something to offer.

While there are definitely some things you need to know before bringing home ducks for the first time, if you prepare and research these six points outlined in this blog post, you will be well on your way towards raising successful ducklings.

Don’t forget ducks need both shelter and food year-round! If the thought of having healthy and happy ducks sounds tempting and thrilling, try checking out our website to learn more about how to raise chickens on a budget. You may want two of these amazing animals instead of just one!

  • You can see a video of our pond on our NEW Vlog here.

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Tuesday 31st of January 2023

Great article, thanks. I’m wondering how many ducks you had in the dog crate and until what age? I’ll be getting my first 3 in about a month or so and I’m getting ready to spoil them greatly!!


Wednesday 1st of February 2023

We started with five, and they only fit in there for a couple of weeks. It gets SUPER messy. After our first batch of ducks they always go out to the extra chicken coop because of how much they splash and get water everywhere.

Kathleen Merrill

Saturday 20th of March 2021

Tasia, Thank you for your information. Like you I love animals, and have been lucky to have raised them for most of my life. I remember raising chickens and rabbits when I was young, and when I raised my 6 children we had our own 4H group and we shared our love of animals with our children. For the past 20 years I have raised chickens, rabbits and now my daughter got me into ducks. I have to admit I think I like the ducks better yes they are more work, but I think it is great that when I open their coop in the morning my eggs are there for the picking, and the eggs are so big. We don't let ours free range due to predators, and I am gone all day for work, but they have a big pen and it is therapy to take the time after work to fill the water dishes and watching them play. My daughter is bringing over goose eggs this afternoon and yes I have an incubator, so we are going to try hatching them. I will let you know how we make out. Thanks again for your web site I can never get enough information about raising animals.


Monday 22nd of March 2021

Hi Kathleen! I love taking care of the animals too, there is something calming about it- most days! hahaha. So glad you stopped by and left this comment. O hope you have a wonderful day.

VIDEO: Update on our Barn, Rooster Attack Tips, & Ducks - The Frugal Farm Girl

Monday 9th of April 2018

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