Facts about ducks and duck information, in general, can be difficult to find online because backyard ducks aren’t nearly as popular (yet) as backyard chickens, but I am hoping to change that by promoting ducks as an addition to, or alternative to, a flock of chickens.
One of the most common questions I am asked is, “Can chickens and ducks live together.” The answer to this fact about ducks is a resounding yes! I’ve raised chickens and ducks side by side for more than eight years, and while there are some noticeable differences, for the most part, backyard ducks don’t need much more than chickens need. A kiddie pool or something where they can splash around is the exception to this rule.
The second most common question I get asked about backyard ducks is “what do ducks eat?” Ducks will do just fine eating chicken layer feed. This is the fact about ducks that makes them the perfect bunkmates for chickens. However, I do add some brewer’s yeast to the feed to give the ducks the added niacin that they need for strong legs and bones. A two percent ratio works well for my flock.
Here are some other facts about ducks and information to help you get started raising these fascinating birds.
- In the coop or duck house, you will need to allow between three to five square feet of floor space per duck. Unlike chickens, ducks don’t roost. Instead, they will make their own nests in the straw on the floor. They also don’t need nesting boxes. They will lay their eggs in the straw nests they build.
- In the pen or run, you’ll want a minimum of 15 square feet per duck. That’s a bit more than is recommended for chickens. That is mostly because ducks have a larger wingspan and they need more room to flap and waddle. It is also because you’ll need space for a small kiddie pool as well.
- Ducks will eat about four to six ounces of feed a day once they’re full grown. They can eat chicken layer feed after about week 20.
- Ducks drink about four cups of water a day. But, they will splash and play in as much water as you give them! Be sure to provide several water tubs for your ducks. Large rubber tubs work better than gravity waterers. While gravity feeders work well for chickens, ducks will promptly empty the gravity feeders as soon as they figure out how!
- Female ducks need 14 to 16 hours of daylight to stimulate their ovaries to release an egg yolk. Ducks tend to lay well through the winter, even without supplemental light in their house. Also, they lay their eggs in the pre-dawn hours. They will often hide them in the straw. The nice thing about this is that when you open up the coop in the morning to let them out, they likely will already have laid their eggs.
- It takes 28 days for a duck egg to hatch. That’s seven days longer than a chicken egg requires to hatch. However, this doesn’t restrict your options for hatching. It is entirely possible to put duck eggs under a chicken and have the broody chicken hatch them. Just be ready for a very surprised mother hen when her baby “chicks” march up to the water dish and hop right in for a swim!
After learning these facts about ducks, I hope that you will consider adding a few ducks to your flock. Backyard ducks are amusing and entertaining. I find lots of enjoyment just watching their antics. They are great layers of large, rich-tasting eggs. Frankly, they make a wonderful addition to any backyard.
Do you have more fun facts about ducks? Do you raise ducks in your backyard? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.