Keeping Muscovy Ducks With Chickens: What You Should Know

In this article, I cover various details about keeping muscovy ducks with chickens, such as their housing needs, food, keeping aggression in check, and so on.

If you plan to raise different types of poultry birds together for egg production or meat production, make sure they can coexist.

You certainly don’t want your birds fighting each other all the time.

Before getting new breeds of ducks, always check if they can be kept with your existing flock.

In case you’re wondering if you can raise Muscovy ducks with chickens, I have good news for you.

Muscovies are friendly ducks that can easily coexist with chickens and mallard ducks.

Let’s explore more into this matter and weigh the perks and drawbacks of keeping Muscovy ducks with chickens.

 

Keeping Muscovy Ducks With Chickens

 

Can Chickens Live With Muscovy Ducks?

The good news is that chickens and Muscovy ducks don’t mind sharing the same space.

Your Muscovies will happily coexist with your chickens as long as they’re introduced properly.

It’s easier if you raise chicks and ducklings together, but introducing mature Muscovies and chickens isn’t too hard either.

Do Muscovy Ducklings Get Along With Baby Chickens?

Baby chicks and Muscovy ducklings get along quite well, and as I mentioned earlier, it’s the best way to introduce the two species to each other.

Raising them together allows them to get accustomed and friendly towards each other from the very onset.

Do Adult Muscovy Ducks Protect Chickens?

While we do not know for sure if Muscovy ducks would specifically protect chickens, raising them together certainly keeps your chickens safer.

While Muscovies are calm and friendly, they’re also territorial and fiercely protect their nest, eggs, and offspring.

Muscovies flock together quickly to fend off intruders, which is a big plus.

Besides, the fact that they are one of the largest duck breeds certainly helps too.

I have good reason to believe that adult Muscovies might be protective of chickens raised together with them, though.

These friendly ducks have been found to take care of chickens and nurse them when needed.

 

It might be a good idea to get them to come together as ducklings and chicks

 

Keeping Muscovy Ducks With Chickens

Let’s now get a deeper understanding of how to raise Muscovy ducks together with chickens.

When adding Muscovies to the flock, you’ll have to make some changes to the coop.

Like wood ducks, Muscovies are capable of roosting despite their webbed feet due to their claws.

The duck house must have some perches installed for them.

Also, make sure the coop is large enough for the entire flock, considering Muscovies are large and capable of flight.

How to introduce adult Muscovies and chickens to each other?

While getting adult chickens and Muscovy ducks to cohabitate isn’t a problem; you must introduce them properly first.

Both chickens and ducks have a pecking order in their flock, and suddenly introducing a new breed might disrupt it and lead to fights.

You will initially have to keep your ducks and chickens separated.

However, they should be able to see, hear, and smell each other, i.e., they need to be nearby.

 

Introduce your muscovies and chickens slowly and let them get accustomed to each other

 

Once the Muscovies get comfortable with the chickens’ presence and vice versa, you may release them into shared areas for short periods.

However, never leave them completely unsupervised – you’ll have to break any fighting and pecking that breaks out between them.

Gradually increase the frequency and duration of supervised visits until they can live together permanently as a mixed flock.

It usually takes a month or so but might vary a little.

Benefits of keeping Muscovy ducks with chickens

Apart from not needing two separate coops, raising Muscovy ducks and chickens in the same coop also offers several other benefits.

Protection

As I explained earlier, your chickens will be safer when kept together with Muscovy ducks. Muscovy drakes make excellent guard birds and can scare away predators.

Muscovies are quiet

One of the main challenges in raising chickens and ducks together is that the former prefers to sleep through the night.

Ducks, on the other hand, wake up several times and may disturb your chickens by quacking loudly among themselves.

Thankfully, Muscovies are very quiet ducks, and unlike most domesticated ducks, they can’t quack.

 

Muscovies are fairly sociable birds

 

Social birds

Both chickens and Muscovies are very social, which allows them to bond well.

Ultimately, they’ll have more flock members to socialize with.

Disadvantages of raising Muscovy ducks with chickens

Now, before you start raising chickens and Muscovy ducks together, there are a couple of concerns you should know about.

Water source

Of course, both chickens and ducks need a water source in the coop.

However, they have different bathing habits, and this might cause an issue.

Chickens aren’t very fond of water and prefer to bathe in the dirt, while ducks enjoy a nice splash.

A big water trough will quickly turn into a pool for your Muscovies to bathe in, which would contaminate the water.

You’ll have to provide them with multiple water sources – one or more troughs that the ducks can swim and bathe, and several containers for drinking water only.

The latter must be too small for the Muscovies to get in for a bath.

 

The coop will have to be modified to including roosting perches

 

Feeding habits

Adult Muscovies and chickens can eat the same kind of food, and both need 16% protein in their diet.

However, keep in mind that baby chicks and ducklings have different dietary requirements.

Chick starter blends contain medications that are too concentrated and toxic for ducklings.

Ducklings, on the other hand, can eat various foods that baby chicks won’t.

Take care to feed them separately, and make sure the Muscovy ducklings don’t eat the food blend meant for your baby chicks.

Will Muscovy Ducks Kill Chickens?

While Muscovy ducks generally get along well with chickens, they might often end up fighting.

This is especially true for males during the mating season.

Muscovies have a huge upper hand over chickens when it comes to fighting, thanks to their size.

They might severely injure or even kill the chickens if it comes to that.

Ensure that both your roosters and drakes have enough hens of their own species.

Keep an eye on them if they seem aggressive toward each other, and separate them temporarily if needed.

Can a Muscovy Duck and a Chicken Have Offspring?

If you’re thinking of cross-breeding Muscovy ducks and chickens, note that they cannot have offspring even if they try to mate with each other.

For a rooster, it’s physically impossible to impregnate a female duck. Roosters and drakes have very different sex organs.

Similarly, a drake is very unlikely to be able to mate with a hen due to anatomical differences.

Even if they somehow manage, it won’t fertilize the egg as the two species have different chromosomes.

 

Make sure to have appropriate water containers in the coop for both bathing and drinking

 

Can Muscovies and Pheasants Be Kept Together?

You may keep Muscovy ducks and pheasants together as long as you can provide them with the right conditions.

Pheasants and ducks don’t have the same dietary needs, which means you must feed them separately.

As for housing, you need a large enclosure as both Muscovies and pheasants are flight birds.

On the bright side, they have similar housing requirements as both Muscovies and pheasants like to roost at night.

Ducklings and pheasant chicks must be raised separately, as ducklings grow faster and might injure the chicks.

Can Muscovy Ducks Live With Turkeys?

Muscovy ducks can live with Turkeys, but once again, they need different diets.

You must provide sufficient coop space to prevent your ducks from getting bullied.

Turkeys are larger and stronger with sharp beaks and can easily hurt your Muscovies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Muscovy duck poop toxic?

Muscovy duck poop does not contain any specific toxins known to be harmful.
However, they do poop a lot, and it can be a big nuisance in places where they are not domesticated.
Moreover, if you let the feces stay in a single place like a coop, it can attract flies and other pests, which might be carriers of diseases.
You should wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning up the poop.
Additionally, make sure to keep areas where ducks are kept clean and well-maintained.

Do Muscovy ducks need a nesting box?

Yes, Muscovy ducks need a nesting box to lay and incubate their eggs.
Muscovy ducks prefer boxes with an elevated rim to keep the nest high and dry, as they dislike wet conditions.
The nesting box should have several compartments, so there is space for more than one female duck to lay her eggs.
It should also be made of durable material such as wood, so it can stand up to the weather and predators and provide a safe environment for the ducklings when they hatch.

How many times a year do Muscovy ducks lay eggs?

Muscovy ducks typically lay 15-20 eggs in a single clutch, with individual birds beginning to produce eggs at eight months old.
Annual egg production can reach up to 100-120 per year.
These ducks have fewer health issues than other breeds and are relatively straightforward to keep, making them suitable backyard egg producers.
However, they are also notoriously broody which is why their egg production is somewhat lower than khaki Campbells and other similar birds.

Is it OK to keep ducks and chickens together?

 Yes, ducks and chickens can live together as long as they are given the right conditions to stay in.
As I mentioned in the article, it is important to make changes to their housing to provide for perches for roosting.
Secondly, there need to be multiple water containers in the ground – one for the muscovies to bathe in, and others for the chickens and ducks to drink water from.
Lastly, it is best to get chicks and ducklings to be reared together, which makes the process easier for both of them.

Wrapping up

Their strong immunity to diseases and the ability to adapt to cold weather makes Muscovies one of the particularly hardy domestic ducks.

Muscovy duck eggs are also much tastier than chicken eggs, which is yet another reason to get some of these ducks for your poultry.

Thank you for reading, and I hope the article has answered all your queries about keeping Muscovy ducks with chickens.

 
 
 
 
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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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