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 they roam wherever they want during the day. The ducks will go back to the coop at night like chickens, for the most part.
*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.
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.
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 lots around the pond.
Our new set of ducks have been with us a year now 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.
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.
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.
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. In addition, 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 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 right 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!
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.
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.
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 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. 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! 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.