Merging a duck and chicken flock

Duck and chicken standoff

After whittling down our
replacement layer flock to a cockerel and three pullets, I decided to
merge the chickens with our young ducks.  The starplate pastures
where the young layer flock has been browsing is pretty barren at the
moment, since the sward hasn’t entirely developed yet and since lack of
rain has slowed regrowth of what herbaceous plants do exist.  In
contrast, the duck coop has three lush pastures around it, very little of which the ducks are deigning to eat and almost none of which the Cornish Cross broilers
consumed.  Why not move the hens down to eat that greenery, and
also save me from having to manage food and water in two separate coops?

Mark and I always move
chickens at night, counting on the birds’ inability to see in the dark
to make the transition go smoothly.  Plus, if a hen wakes up inside
a new coop, you often don’t even have to shut her inside for a day to
teach her that’s her new roosting spot — she just heads back inside
the next night to eat and sleep.  I didn’t count on how aggressive
the ducks would be at having their slumber interrupted by gallinaceous
interlopers, though.  The ensuing ruckus was so loud that I began
to despair of the two flocks’ ability to merge successfully, but I
crossed my fingers and went to bed.

Chickens hanging out with ducksThe
next morning, there was a standoff in the coop — ducks on one end and
chickens on the other.  When I opened the pophole to let them all
out onto pasture, the rooster immediately took his harem up on the hill
where ducks couldn’t easily waddle, and he stood guard between his
ladies and the terrifying waterfowl for hours.  However, when I
dropped back by after lunch, a hen was walking between the ducks with no
one batting an eyelash, and the other chickens were inside enjoying
their repast — a good sign for domestic tranquility to come. 
Despite the initial drama, it’s looking like merging a duck and chicken
flock will be easier than putting two packs of unfamiliar chickens

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