Can Chickens Mate with Ducks?
Thanks to their dissimilar reproductive organs, it is nearly impossible for ducks and chickens to mate. However, do not rule it out entirely, as some mischievous birds would still make an attempt even if it is potentially detrimental to their health. After all, ducks are more aggressive than chickens. For this reason, it is not unusual to find males (drakes) forcing themselves on the hens.
There is nothing immoral or mean about the behavior. In fact, experts consider it normal and reproductively successful. If you intend to keep both species together, learning more about their mating habits matters a lot. This piece aims to elaborate more on how to keep your ducks and chickens safely together.
Duck-Chicken Hybrid – Myth or Reality?
For quite some time now, there have been numerous reports of chicken-duck hybrids. Unfortunately, none of these findings have been scientifically substantiated fully. Still, you can find ducks with chicken traits and vice versa.
Scientists often consider this a random mutation and not as a result of ducks mating with chickens. Whatever the case, this is a rare occurrence and not likely to happen to all ducks and chickens that cohabitate together.
What Happens When a Duck Mates with a Chicken?
There is nothing much to worry about if you notice your rooters attempting to mate with duck hens. Nonetheless, you should never allow your drakes to mate with chicken hens in any way. You see, both birds have incompatible sex organs. In short, chickens have a single opening known as a cloaca.
When mating, roosters and hens place their cloacas together as the former transfer semen. Furthermore, roosters have internal organs and nothing to penetrate into a hen’s cloaca.
On the contrary, ducks have a totally different reproductive system. In other words, drakes have an external penis which they use to penetrate the female’s oviduct. That explains why a drake would potentially injure a chicken if they attempted to mate.
Even so, the act would most likely be unsuccessful, but it is prudent not to take any chances. Worse, a drake’s aggressive nature might harm chicken hens in the process.
Can Ducks Fertilize Chicken Egg?
This rarely happens, but there are special cases documented about ducks fertilizing chicken eggs. For instance, in 2012, a renowned farmer referred to as Patricia Ryden, reported the hatching of a hybrid named Ducken.
There were plenty of misconceptions about these findings. In fact, an unnamed chicken club president claimed that Ducken was a myth and probably a result of random mutation. Others claim that most probably, the hybrid was a result of one female duck mating with two male drakes and fertilizing the egg at the same time.
Nonetheless, this topic can go on without coming to a conclusive verdict. Either way, keep in mind that it is quite unlikely that you will get a duckling or a hybrid chick on your farm. More so, even if a duck manages to fertilize your hen’s eggs, the stakes are high that it might never hatch.
Why Drake Try Mating with Chickens?
Drakes trying to mate with chickens is nothing abnormal. In reality, as the breeding season beckons in early summer and spring excited drakes will attempt to mate with any animal around them. It is no surprise that an aggressive drake would even attempt to mount its owners. Nevertheless, not all male ducks tend to possess this alarming trait.
Some do a perfect job of taking care of the flock, especially when free ranging. In the process, you may hear them quake constantly in case they spot a predator in the yard. Surprisingly, roosters and drakes may coexist peacefully in a flock.
In such a scenario, drakes would rarely attack chicken hens in the presence of roosters. In truth, the boys may get along well without any cause for alarm for a long time.
Can a Chicken Hatch Duck Eggs?
Certainly, it is possible for a chicken to hatch duck’s eggs. Given that the eggs look and weigh almost the same, your roosting chicken hens may fail to detect the difference. Later, when baby ducks hatch, they may consider hens as their mothers and follow them wherever they go.
Luckily, a mother hen seldom abandons anything she hatches. Therefore, you may not have a tough time bringing both birds together.
The advantage of this technique is that farmers may quickly expand their duck flock if they have broody chickens in the yard. One ideal poultry variety for hatching duck eggs is the Silkie chickens.
The beauty of these birds is that they often go broody without major motivation. Most impressively, they hardly leave their nesting boxes even when provoked by predators.
Can Ducks and Chickens Live Together?
Chickens and ducks can cohabit peacefully. Astonishingly, even the most aggressive roosters can get along just fine with drakes. However, be wary of drakes trying to mate with your chicken girls. It is worth pointing out that drakes and roosters may become territorial sometimes.
Often, this happens when there is insufficient food, water, or deficient living conditions. Moreover, both birds may fight over hens in the flock.
Experts recommend that farmers plan this arrangement well from the beginning. Start by building a spacious enclosure that meets both species’ needs. For example, chickens love roosting at night and may require comfortable perches. Furthermore, they may navigate steep ramps much more easily compared to ducks with their floppy feet. Then, allow your birds to forage daily or when the weather allows.
The beauty of scavenging is that your birds get an added source of much-needed protein. Do not forget to offer enough food. A balanced diet of fresh vegetables, selected fruits, and grains goes a long way towards keeping your feathered friends contented.
Finally, balance out the number of hens you wish to pair with male birds. In most cases, scientists advocate one rooster or drake for every six hens.
Usually, ducks and chickens mate with their own kind when kept together. However, there are selected cases where a duck attempts to mount a chicken and vice versa. Thankfully, this article explains why you should never allow this to happen, especially if you have drakes in the coop.
Instead, provide your birds with a balanced sense of satisfaction by meeting their daily needs. Above all, separate your males from the females if you notice alarming behaviors likely to cause harm.