Can I keep Ducks and Geese with Chickens?
Keeping ducks and geese with chickens
We are often asked, Can I keep Ducks and Geese with Chickens?
Yes, you can keep ducks and geese with chickens. If you cater to the different needs of the birds and provide ample space, they tend to get along very nicely. Avoid problems by considering the following potential issues before you add ducks and geese to your chicken coop:
Type of Feed
While ducks and geese will eat layer pellets, medicated feed is not suitable and they do best on a waterfowl feed. Ducklings and goslings need extra niacin and cannot live on chick starter.
Nesting and night-time quarters
Waterfowl nest on the ground. They can sleep on the floor of the chicken coop but ducks and geese rarely put themselves to bed like chickens and often prefer to sleep outdoors. If you have a safely enclosed run, try a separate house for your waterfowl that allows them to go in and out at night.
Ducks, geese and chickens tend to co-exist quite peacefully once a pecking order is established. However, in confined quarters, there can be ongoing conflict and there are stories of larger waterfowl harassing chickens to death. Allow enough room for the different flocks to avoid each other during the day, including a few areas where smaller birds can escape larger ones.
The key to keeping male birds content and happy in a mixed flock is having enough females of their own species. Usually eight hens per rooster and at least two ducks per drake. Having enough females is particularly important with ducks, because in breeding season an “unsatisfied” drake may try to mate with the chickens, causing injury and possibly death.
Waterfowl will splash and play in any water they can find, even a drinker cup! This creates mess and damp, which aren’t great for chickens. Nipple drinkers are better but waterfowl must also have enough water to fully immerse their heads in order to remain healthy.
Protection from predators
Geese are great guard dogs and keeping them with your chickens will provide a warning system if predators are about. But guard geese are more dedicated to a flock they’ve bonded with, so if that’s your goal get one goose and raise it with your chickens.
If you have any other tips for the question of Can I keep Ducks and Geese with Chickens? Please contact us so we may consider adding them to this article to help other backyard Duck and Chicken Keepers.
Rachel at Dine A Chook