Raising ducks with chickens is a common method of poultry farming for the small scale poultry producers for their family consumption. Both ducks and chickens are very suitable for meat and egg production. In free range farming system, both ducks and chickens are good foragers, keeping weeds and bugs in check around your farm areas. By arranging proper accommodation, both species can produce well and live happily together in your farm. By raising this two species together, you can ensure proper use of your farms resources and get maximum profit at same time. However, I am describing the methods of raising ducks with chickens together in your farm.
After bringing the new chickens and ducklings in your farm, you can keep them in the same brooder environment for the first few weeks. Keep good care during this period. Keep the initial temperature in brooder environment between 90 to 95 degrees. Reduce the temperature every week at the rate of 5 degrees each week. Stop reducing temperature after 4 to 5 weeks or until it reach 70 degrees. Ensure that the brooder environment is fully draft free. Because, both ducks and chickens can succumb to cold drafts.
You can feed chick starter to both of your ducks and chickens. Provide chick starter for the first 1 or 2 weeks when they are growing. Ducks need more water than chickens. So, always make water available next to their feed. Ducks will scoop up some food, then wet it in their mouth with water before swallowing. And feeding ducks without water can causes them to choke. On the other hand, chickens drink water after consuming a certain amount of foods. Provide water in such a pot that is deep enough and ducks can rinse their nostrils to moisten their mucous membranes. But in excessive depth chicks could drown. You can also apply your own methods.
Lighting play an important role for both ducks and chickens. Both are exposed to bright white light and have a higher incidence of injury due to pecking. Especially, during first few weeks light is very urgent for them. You can use an infrared light for heating the brooder environment. Allow natural lighting for developing a normal day-night cycle for both ducks and chickens. Allow the adult birds to access outside so that they can easily sun themselves. But don’t keep them outside for whole day. They need a shelter for taking rest. For egg production from both ducks and chickens, sunlight is crucial along with a certain period of darkness.
Your ducks will grow well and produce maximum if you can arrange swimming facilities for them. Normally, adult ducks enjoy splashing around in a body of water. But try to keep water shallow enough so that the chickens can get out and do not drown if they fall in the water. Chickens can swim but they will be tired if they can’t get out from water. You can easily make small ponds for your birds by using used bathtub, cratch, basin etc.
Raising ducks with chickens together is very enjoyable and pleasuring. But you have to feed sufficient amount of nutritious foods to your birds so that they don’t occur any mutual attacks. Your children can also get a great source of pure entertainment by raising ducks with chickens.