According to statistics, over 8% of Americans raise chickens and ducks as pets, with Silkies being the most popular choice. If you already have a flock of Silkies, you know they make great companions for ducks. However, which breed of ducks can live in harmony with Silkies?
After our due diligence, we’ve found the best duck breeds that make great companions for Silkies. We took into consideration factors such as size, temperament, and compatibility.
By learning about these duck breeds, you’ll be well on your way to successfully raising ducks and Silkie chickens together on your homestead or in your backyard.
Let’s dive into 15 duck breeds that can live harmoniously with Silkie chickens and some tips for ensuring both species thrive in their shared environment, but first let’s discuss the benefits of raising ducks and Silkies.
Benefits of Raising Ducks With Silkie Chickens
Raising ducks and Silkie chickens together can be a successful endeavor, providing various benefits for the poultry and the owner.
Here are some advantages of keeping these two species together.
1. Efficient use of space: Sharing the same living area can result in more efficient use of space, particularly for those with limited land or resources. This can lead to a more organized and cleaner environment for your poultry birds.
2. Complementary foraging habits: Ducks and Silkie chickens have different diets, which allows them to coexist in the same area without competing for food.
Ducks are fond of aquatic plants and insects, while Silkies are known for their ability to forage for other pests, such as ticks and small insects. This balance helps keep your yard and garden healthy and clean.
3. Disease resistance: Ducks are generally healthier as they are less susceptible to mites and other external parasites than chickens, thanks to their frequent exposure to water (HGTV).
This makes them beneficial companions to the Silkie chickens, as the ducks can help minimize the risk of disease and infestation in the coop.
4. Enhanced social interaction: Although ducks and Silkie chickens may have their preferences in terms of who they hang around with, they can still coexist harmoniously and even interact with each other.
5. Increased productivity: Raising both species together allows you to enjoy a diverse range of poultry products, including eggs and meat from both ducks and Silkie chickens. This variety can contribute to a more profitable and sustainable farming endeavor.
Overview of Silkie Chickens
Silkie chickens are a popular and unique breed known for their soft, fluffy feathers, which give them a fur-like appearance. People keep them as ornamental birds or pets due to their friendly and gentle nature.
Silkies were accepted into the North American Standard of Perfection in 1874 and come in various colors recognized by the American Poultry Association as breed standards, such as white, black, buff, gray, splash, partridge, and blue. (source)
These chickens have a few distinct physical features, such as a crested head and an extra toe, carrying five toes per foot instead of the usual four.
They are smaller in size compared to other breeds, making them a perfect choice for backyard flocks and homesteaders. (source)
When raising Silkie chickens with ducks, it’s essential to consider specific factors like their temperament, size, and care requirements.
As mentioned earlier, Silkies are known for their friendly behavior, which makes them a suitable choice for coexisting with ducks.
Additionally, their small size means they won’t overpower or bully other animals in the flock.
15 Duck Breeds That Make Great Companions for Silkies
Silkies and ducks can live harmoniously together, and below are 15 breeds of the best duck breeds to raise with Silkies. These are in no particular order but meet the criteria that would make them great companions for Silkies or other docile chicken breeds.
Mallards are small, hardy ducks that can adapt to various environments. They’re low maintenance and can coexist peacefully with Silkie chickens and make good pets when they are young.
However, they can be challenging to handle as they age.
Mallard’s forage for food and often become quite friendly with their caretakers.
#2 Pekin Ducks
Pekin ducks are among the most popular domestic duck breeds due to their calm disposition and good egg-laying abilities. However, they are larger than Mallards and require more space.
It is a multi-purpose breed raised for eggs and meat production. However, their docile and affectionate personality makes them popular farm pets to keep with chickens.
#3 Indian Runner Ducks
Indian Runner ducks are known for their unique upright stance and excellent foraging skills.
Some people say they resemble penguins because they don’t waddle like ducks. They are often referred to as “Penguin Ducks.”
The breed is excellent egg-layers; the females lay 300-350 eggs annually.
They are great foragers and have a friendly disposition.
People raise them exclusively for their eggs and not for their meat production.
#4 Khaki Campbells
The Khaki Campbell duck is a medium-sized breed known for its hardiness and good egg-laying abilities. They are great foragers and will be happier when free ranging.
The Khaki Cample Ducks are the most popular domesticated breeds in the United States. It is a multi-purpose duck raised for eggs and delicious meat.
This breed does excellent with chickens and imprints on their mates, making them inseparable.
#5 Call Ducks
Call ducks are small, decorative ducks that originated in Asia. They have a peaceful temperament and are easy to tame, making them great pets.
They come in various colors, such as; white, black, magpie, silver, etc. While they don’t lay as many eggs as a chicken, Call ducks lay about 50-150 eggs yearly.
Call ducks are incredibly docile and sweet, making them the perfect companion for Silkies and pets for children.
#6 Rouen Ducks
Rouen ducks are a domesticated breed raised for meat, eggs, and pets. The breed resembles the Mallard breed in color and size.
That said, they are easy going and docile when allowed to free-range, making them a great companion for your Silkie chickens.
#7 Swedish Ducks
Swedish ducks are hardy, good-natured birds that can adapt easily to various climates. They can coexist with Silkies and other poultry, making them ideal for co-raising.
#8 Muscovy Ducks
The Muscovy duck is a unique breed known for its large size and meat quality. They are also good foragers and have a calm temperament, making them a great addition to any backyard flock.
However, they are not as good egg layers as other breeds, producing only 60-120 eggs per year.
#9 Cayuga Ducks
The Cayuga duck is a beautiful breed known for its iridescent black bill and black plumage, named after Lake Cayuga in New York. This is a popular breed raised for eggs and meat production in the United States.
The Cayuga duck has a good personality with a docile temperament. They are great free-range animals that love foraging on slugs, snails, and other insects.
#10 Buff Orpington Ducks
Buff Orpington ducks are friendly, easygoing birds that get along well with other poultry, including Silkies.
They’re good layers and make an excellent addition to a mixed flock.
#11 Welsh Harlequin Ducks
Welsh Harlequin ducks are a versatile, friendly breed that can adapt to various environments. Although people raise them for their egg production (an average of 300 eggs annually), some people raise them for their meat.
They’re popular as backyard pets because of their docile nature.
Once they trust you, they don’t shy away from human interaction.
#12 Aylesbury Ducks
Aylesbury low-maintenance ducks that don’t require a lot of care, making them popular as pets. They have a friendly and docile temperature and don’t make a lot of noise.
People raise them for both egg and meat production. They have very little body fat and their meat is considered a delicacy.
That said, they need a lot of space to forage, at least 10 square feet per duck.
#13 Ancona Ducks
Ancona ducks are a dual-purpose breed that is popular among backyard keepers and homesteaders. Most people keep them as pets, but they can also be kept for meat production.
They are a socky bird, with a medium length bill. Females and drakes (males) have a calm demeanor, making them a good compnanion for chickens or other poultry.
The ducks are great foragers and prefer to free range, but won’t wander far from their coop.
#14 Saxony Ducks
Saxony ducks are a versatile, good-natured breed that can adapt to various environments. They coexist well with Silkies and make great additions to a mixed flock due to their friendly disposition.
#15 Silver Appleyard Ducks
Silver Appleyard ducks are an attractive, dual-purpose breed known for their meat and egg production. Many people mistake them for Mallards, because they look alike.
When hand-raised, the waterfowl breed is calm, friendly and docile, making them a great companion for Silkies. They also get along well with kids, so you’ll want to teach your kids how to interact with them.
They are excellent foragers, that need a lot of space for foraging.
Silkies and ducks can make excellent pets because they require the same living conditions. However, not all duck breeds can live with chickens, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.
The key is to find ducks with a docile temperament and introduce the birds slowly.
The best scenario would be to raise both birds as babies, allowing them to grow up together and become inseparable and form lasting relationships without becoming territorial over their living space or undesirable behaviors.
When raising ducks with chickens, expect a little bit of work. Ensure you provide the necessary care, including housing, nutrition, and access to water. This will ensure both species are happy and less likely to have conflicts.
PoultryPoultry crafted with the help of ChatGPT, the backyard-chicken friendly AI.