If chicks get you smiling just 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 and ours have always gotten along just fine. Our ducks share a chicken coop with four other chicken hens but during the day they roam wherever they want. The ducks will go back to the coop at night like chickens, for the most part.
In the warm summer nights I notice the ducks aren’t in the coop, maybe they go in after 9 p.m. but who knows.
Let’s get into the six 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 our biggest mistake we made when raising ducks. We figured our ducks would just 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.
If you don’t have a pond or an area that always seems to turn to 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.
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 just love to swim and once you see their excitement you’ll want to provide it for them.
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 a thicker shell. Our Duck eggs are white where many of our chicken eggs are brown because of the breed of the bird.
There is a great comparison of pros and cons of duck eggs and chicken eggs here.
Duck hens also bury their eggs. In the beginning, 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.
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 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 if you provide a quiet darker space for them they will continue to lay in the same spot. Similar to chickens.
Know the Breed
Some ducks will fly away but our breed Kahiki Campbells aren’t the best fliers. Although they will move it when scared enough to get away. This breed is also known to be a great layer. I can agree to 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.
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. In the winter our ducks headed to the barn most days to avoid the snow but the rest of the year they are roaming around and hardly enter the barn.
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 as well, but you will see that the drakes may once in a while 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.
They Grow Like Gremlins
Ducks grow so fast. If you have raised chicks you won’t believe the growth rate. I had no idea when we purchased our clearance ducks at Tractor Supply they would grow so quickly. By three weeks they are ready to move on out!
They quickly outgrew the 5-gallon tote we used and I decided to put them in a small dog crate. I spoil all the birds and always get them outside to roam around in a fenced area of course. There was a great size puddle in the garden so they spent some time out there and were in heaven!
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 friendly they become. For us, we love watching the ducks in the water.
And after having them for almost a year this spring they have slowly tried to enter our pond! I am confident by the end of summer our ducks will realize what a beautiful spot they have been missing out on.
- You can see a video of our pond on our NEW Vlog here.