Can Chickens Breed With Ducks? What To Do If They Try?

If you own chickens and ducks, you may have seen your rooster trying to make with a duck, and you’ve wondered, “can chickens breed with ducks?” Find out what you need to know about the mating behaviors and some possible problems you can encounter.

Can Chickens Breed With Ducks?

Chickens and ducks have different reproductive organs, which makes it dangerous for them to mate. Chickens have a cloaca, a single opening, making it impossible for them to mate with a female duck. Ducks have an internal penis that makes it impossible to insert into a chicken.

To better understand both animals’ mating habits, we first need to take a look at the mating behaviors. If you have chickens and are considering getting ducks, be sure you understand how to introduce them, so no one gets killed.

Let’s take a look at the myth of the chicken duck hybrid.

Can You Crossbreed the Chicken and a Duck?

If you have chickens and ducks living together, you may have seen a duck trying to mate with a chicken or vice versa.

It doesn’t usually happen, as ducks and chickens aren’t supposed to breed, but according to Patricia Ryden, owner and operator of Pat’s Ears Wings N’ Things, Ducken was born in 2012, and it was thought to be from a rooster mating with a duck. 

However, according to the unnamed bird club president, it’s impossible for a rooster and duck to mate. It turned out that Ducken was the result of two male ducks mating with one female and both sperms fertilizing the egg.

Duck Mating Behavior

Ducks are serious maters and can be overly aggressive. The uniquely shaped vaginas and penises of both the male and female ducks make it easy for them to mate.

Backyard ducks usually mate in the water but will also mate on land. Mating in the water is easier on the female’s legs and backs and reduces the chances of her getting hurt.

Some domestic ducks will mate year-round, like chickens. However, some breeds like the Muscovies will breed in the warmer weather. Other breeds like Indian runners will stop laying eggs in the winter but will continue mating.

 Courtship Behaviors

muscovy and mallard duck mating in the water
Ducks mate in the water and should only be allowed to mate with other ducks.

If you’ve ever watched a mallard duck around female ducks, you may have noticed some of the flirtatious behavior they display before mating.

Nod Swimming

Both a female and male duck will swim a short distance very quickly, with its neck held high enough to graze the top of the water. Females will nod swim to show interest in a male before mating. Males will perform this behavior immediately after mating.

Grunt Whistle

A grunt-whistle consists of a male giving a remarkable whistle while raising its head out of the water. Before returning to its normal posture. The grunt whistle is usually done in large groups of males to show off for the girls.

Head-Up Tail Up

This is a quick gesture that involves showing off his purple and blue secondaries by raising its tail and wings to impress the females.

Head Pumping

Both females and males will bob their heads rhythmically, which is often followed by mating.

Do Ducks Mate for Life?

Neither the rooster or duck are monogamous animals. Ducks will choose their favorite female and spend most of their time with her, bringing her treats and flirting. 

Roosters, on the other hand, will fight other males for supremacy over the hens.

Chicken Mating Behavior

Roosters think about mating year-round, and many experts say chicken owners should have no less than four hens per rooster.

In the springtime, you’ll start to notice “courtship” behaviors. A rooster becomes very attentive to the females. They are known to court a hen with ritualistic movements that involve dropping a wing and “dancing” around the hen in circles.

If the girl chicken is interested, she will lower her back. At that point the rooster will mount her by grabbing onto her back to balance himself. It’s also why you may notice your female hen missing several feathers on her back. 

Why Is My Rooster Trying to Make With A Duck?

Your rooster may try, but they are two different species, making it impossible for a rooster to fertilize duck eggs. Their sex organs are not compatible with each other.

If you notice your rooster trying to mate with your chicken, there’s nothing to worry about, and he won’t hurt her. However, if you see a male duck trying to mate with a girl chicken, you’ll want to stop the behavior and separate the duck from the rest of the flock.

A male duck can’t fertilize a chicken egg, but he can hurt and even kill a female chicken if they try to mate with them. Ducks are aggressive when they mate and should only be allowed to be with their own kind.

Ducks can and will bond with female chickens, but it’s best if they have duck friends.


Chickens and ducks can coexist peacefully and will usually mate their own kind. However, it’s not unusual to see a rooster mounting a duck. If this happens, it’s fine, and the male chicken will quickly learn he can’t mate with her.

A domestic duck should never be allowed to mate with a chicken, as they can hurt or kill her. On chicken forums, ducks are known as “wife beaters” to both female ducks and chickens because of how aggressive they can be when mating. 

Keep an eye on your chickens, especially during duck mating season, and be ready to separate the males if you notice them trying to mate!

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