Last Updated on November 27, 2022 by Pauline G. Carter
If you own both ducks and chickens, you may wonder whether they can mate. Or probably you have witnessed ducks and chickens trying to mate. The interesting question is can ducks and chickens mate? Though ducks and chickens have a lot of similar traits, the simple answer to this question is that they cannot breed.
Thanks to the natural fundamental differences between ducks and chickens in reproduction, the duck/chicken hybrid is rare. An occurrence of ducks and chickens mating is rare. This does not mean there won’t be attempts, though. However, such hybridizations attempts lead to unpredictable results.
Why Ducks and Chickens Can’t Mate?
The main reason ducks and chickens cannot mate their different reproductive organs. A male duck, also known as a drake, has external sex organs that they use to penetrate a female oviduct.
On the other hand, Chickens have a single opening known as a cloaca designed not to be penetrated as it cannot accommodate an external sex organ. Their different reproductive organs aren’t compatible, making it difficult to mate.
Ideally, roosters have internal testicles. They do not have any external sex organs that stick out to insert into the chicken. When mating, the rooster will usually put his cloaca on the hen’s cloaca and transfer sperm during this interaction.
Ducks, on the other hand, are different. The drake has an internal penis that it uses to penetrate the oviduct of the female duck so that the semen goes deep enough to fertilize the duck hen eggs.
The structural differences in the anatomy of the duck and chickens make it a great barrier for the ducks and chickens to mate successfully.
Why Ducks and Chickens Should Not Mate?
If you have ducks and chickens living together, don’t rule out that they may try to mate though having incompatible sex organs. If you observe such happenings, you should separate the two because, ideally, ducks and chickens should not breed for the following reasons.
1. Chickens are Not Meant to be Penetrated
Drakes have an external penis which they use to penetrate female ducks. Since chickens are not designed to be penetrated, any attempt of a drake to mate with a chicken would potentially injure it.
Chickens can also suffer a common issue known as vent prolapse if a drake penetrates them. When prolapse is left untreated, it can easily lead to the chicken’s death.
2. Ducks are Physically Larger than Chickens
Due to their size differences, ducks can injure chickens during the mating process. The ducks’ sex organ can also damage the internal organs of a chicken, which can cause internal bleeding and the introduction of bacteria that can lead to the chicken’s death.
3. Ducks are More Violent When Mating
By nature, ducks are more forceful and violent during mating, unlike roosters. Therefore, hens that mate with a duck are more likely to encounter various injuries like bleeding around the neck and torn skin. Drakes treat their mates roughly and may even break the chicken’s neck while mating.
4. Drakes Have a Very Active Sex Drive
Usually, drakes are very active sexually. For example, a single male duck can mate with dozens of female ducks in summer or spring. The drake will probably injure the existing duck hens in a scenario where the female ducks are few to mate with. If the drake can damage its fellow duck hens, mating with chickens can cause severe injuries.
Can Ducks Fertilize Chicken Eggs?
Though it rarely happens, a duck can successfully mate with a chicken and fertilize its eggs resulting in a successful cross-breed. This results in a duck/chicken hybrid though this is a topic that some people say is not possible, while to others, it is very likely for cross-breeding between a duck and chicken to occur.
This is because no structured results nor laboratory testing of DNA has been conducted to support whether a true cross-breeding of ducks and chickens is possible. However, this shouldn’t be encouraged and shouldn’t be allowed when possible.
It’s perilous to allow a duck to mate with a chicken as it can cause severe injuries and even death of the chicken. However, in a case where a duck/chicken hybrid has genuinely happened, there are several possible outcomes like:
- The duck/chicken hybrid eggs are inedible and will burst out soon after they are laid.
- The resulting hybrid is sterile and cannot reproduce.
- The duck/chicken hybrids are very weak and do not live for long.
- These ducks/chicken hybrids portray a wide variety of distinct characteristics that you can quickly tell are different.
Can Ducks and Chickens Be Raised Together?
With the possible mating attempts of ducks and chickens, you may wonder whether it’s possible to raise the two together. The answer is yes, and you can do it with ease like many other successful gardeners and farmers. You only need a little knowledge and understanding of how the two want their habitat, and they will leave together in harmony.
For example, ducks require a nice pool of water where they can splash and throw the water around to keep them happy, while chickens only require fresh drinking water.
The best thing is that ducks and chickens can eat the same type of food, which makes it easy to raise them together as you only need to provide enough food. They can also be raised in the same coop as long as there is enough space to house the number of birds you have.
Ducks and chickens can live together in peace. A common thing you will observe is a rooster trying to mate with a female duck. On the other hand, Male ducks may attempt to mate with female chickens.
This should be prevented at all costs as it can injure, harm, and even lead to the death of your chicken. The difference in their sex anatomy makes it hard for ducks and chickens to mate.