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Can you Keep Ducks, Geese and Chickens together?

We are regularly asked, 'can you 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: 

Different feed types

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 sleeping quarters

Waterfowl nest differently to chickens. Ducks and also Geese tend to prefer to 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.

Conflict resolution

Ducks, geese and chickens tend to co-exist quite peacefully once a pecking order is established. However, in confined quarters, there can be an 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. 

Male birds need females

The key to keeping male birds content as well as happy in a mixed bird flock is providing enough females of their species. Usually eight hens per rooster and at least two ducks per drake. Having enough females is particularly crucial with ducks, because in the breeding season an “unsatisfied” Drake may try to mate with the chickens, causing injury and possibly death.

Ducks and geese are messy

Ducks and geese have fun as they play in their water. This also includes drinking water. Such wetness and damp is not ideal for chickens. Nipple drinkers are better but waterfowl must also have enough water to fully immerse their heads in order to remain healthy. 

Ducks in Pen

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 thoughts on the question '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. 

 

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