Facts About Ducks: How Much Does a Duck Need?

Duck Information to Get Started Raising Your Own Flock


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.

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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.

Join me on Facebook at Duck Eggs Daily to share in the daily antics of my ducks and my website Fresh Eggs Daily for lots more duck advice!

  • I love this article! It just makes me want ducks even more. Question – Are all your ducks female? I’ve read that a male duck can really hurt a hen if he tries to mate with her.

  • I wouldn’t say “hurt” but they are a little rough…just make sure there are more females than males…at least 2-4 females to 1 male seems to help, but the male will find a favorite to mate with most of the time. The males hold onto the back of the head and it can case missing feathers and some wounds if he is too interested in her. Good luck with your ducks, I love mine and hope to get a few khaki campbells this spring. Right now I have Silver Appleyards and love them!

  • I love my ducks! But I will advise against putting them in with the chickens if you only have male ducks. I have two drakes and they have been trying to mate with my hens. They get really rough and have pulled almost all their rear torso feathers off. One hen even had large hole from her skin tearing open- I’m thinking from a feather being tugged at roughly. Poor guys just want a girlfriend but my hens have taken a severe beating.

  • I love my ducks! I have cackie Campbell, Indian runners and a Pekin. I also have three geese. I did have them in with my chickens, but I almost lost a bantie to the pool. Now, they live with my goats and love it. I have one goat, poor baby, the male goose chases her and pulls her hair. She lives with the chickens… The goat lives with the chickens. Lol But, the other goats get along just fine with the water birds. So much fun. I don’t see much on ducks from folks on the net. I’m glad someone else loves them like I do. Thank you.

  • Simeon C.

    I want to thank you for such wonderful information about the ducks. I have six chickens, two roosters and was thinking about getting three ducks. I would like to get Khaki campbell. Your information on ducks is very much a appreciated.

  • I have 20 laying females with 7 drakes feeding them on chicken laying mash. They lay between 40 to 60 eggs before they start ‘setting’. They are quite at home with chickens and pea fowls. Interestingly the only water that they have access to is to drink and wash their beaks. They seem quite happy for a couple years now.

  • I love my ducks even though they are quite messy. They are so funny. I have an Indian Runner pair, Khaki Campbells (4 hens & 1 drake) and a Mallard Drake who is just a year old. The drake to hen ratio is a little off so I separate a couple drakes from the rest of the birds and once a week switch so all the drakes get a chance to have free run. I am disappointed however in the fact that I got no eggs all winter from my ducks except from the Khaki Campbell hen that is just eleven months old. I was under the impression ducks laid year round.


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Facts About Ducks: How Much Does a Duck Need?