You have kept chicken for a while and are wondering if you can use your chicken coop for ducks.
You might be wanting to have chickens and ducks live together in the same coop or you can use an extra coop for ducks.
Chicken coops can be used for ducks but some conditions have to be met for the ducks to be comfortable.
This is because ducks are some special needs that might not be in the chicken coop. Let us look at the housing needs for ducks.
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Duck Coop versus Chicken Coop
Duck coops are simpler than chicken coops. When converting a chicken coop to a duck coop, you will be removing some features from the chicken coop. The differences between duck coops and chicken coops are:
|Roosting bars||Not needed||Required|
|Height||3 ft||6 feet|
|Pop door size||10 inches by 13 inches||12 inches by 14 inches|
|Ramp||Should not be steep||Can be steep.|
|Bedding||Straw is preferred||Can use wood chips or straw|
|Raised coop||Can be at ground level||Raised is preferred|
Duck Coop versus Chicken Coop
Converting a Chicken Coop to a Duck Coop.
Ducks and chickens have different needs. Their bodies are different.
When it comes to housing ducks in a chicken coop, there are several things that need to be considered. These include space, bedding, nesting boxes, door size, and height from the ground.
Space for Ducks in the Coop
Ducks will need 4 to 6 square feet of floor space. Compare this to the 2 to 4 square feet required for chickens. Ducks sleep on the floor, unlike chickens that roost.
This means ducks need enough floor space. Due to this floor space requirement, a chicken coop will feet fewer ducks than chickens.
Ducks will need bedding on the floor. They sleep on the beddings. Most ducks also nest on the floor. Ducks will also come into their coop wet after playing with water.
This means you need bedding that will absorb moisture and one that dries quickly.
Straw is more suitable for ducks than wood chips. This is because straw dries fast. Wet sleeping conditions can be disastrous for ducks. This is because mold can grow on wet floors.
Ducks rarely will use nesting boxes. However it is advisable to try encourage them to lay eggs in a nesting box. This ensures that you get cleaner eggs.
The nesting boxes for ducks are larger that for chickens. They need to be atleast 14 square feet in size.
You can start with a few nesting boxes placed in a corner of the coop and see if the ducks will be interested in laying there.
Chicken coops come with smaller doors than duck coops. Pop doors for ducks need to be larger. Large enough to fit two ducks walking side by side.
This is because ducks tend to push and shove each other as they walk.
The size of the pop door will depend on the breed. Most duck breeds can do with 12 inches and 14 inches in height. Indian runner ducks need pop doors that are 24 inches in height.
Height from the Ground
It is a common practice to raise chicken coops. Duck coops can be on the ground as long as they are safe from predators.
This can be in the form of a wooden floor or cement floor. A raised chicken coop can work for ducks, provided they have a ramp for the ducks to climb in and out.
Most chicken coop ramps are narrow to fit one chicken at a time. For ducks, the ramp should be made wider in order wider so that they can be as wide as the widened door.
Ducks need more ventilation than chickens. If converting a chicken coop to a duck coop, you will need to add more vents and windows that can be opened.
Ducks release a lot of moisture when breathing and there is a need for the moisture to get out of the coop. If there is no adequate ventilation bedding and the walls of the coop will get wet.
This can lead to a conducive environment for pathogens to thrive.
Can Ducks and Chickens be in the Same Coop
Chickens and ducks can be housed in the same coop provided it meets the needs of the ducks and chickens. These include placement of roosting bars, space, and food and water in the coop.
Ducks like splashing water. They also need water to feed. They will eat feed, duck their heads in the water, swish the water in their mouths, then swallow the feed. This can be messy if you put water and feed in the coop. When housing ducks and chickens together, you will need to find a drinking and feed station out of the coop.
Chickens like to roost while ducks sleep on the floor. Chickens also poop a lot a night, when roosting. The poop drops on the floor. If ducks are on the floor, they will be covered in chicken poop by morning.
When housing ducks and chickens together, place a piece of plywood or metal sheet below the roosting bars and above the ground. This is known as a dropping board and will collect the droppings. Dropping boards are removable and can be cleaned out once in a while.
You can have some wood chips or straw on the poop collection sheets. This helps in drying out the droppings and makes them easier to clean.
When housing chickens and ducks together, make sure you meet the space requirements. Chickens will need 2-3 square feet while ducks will need 4 square feet. When there is no adequate space, chickens and ducks will be stressed. This will lead to fights, which can be fatal.