which is best for you?

Ducks vs. Chickens

For clarity, by “ducks” we mean mallard-derived domestics, NOT muscovies which are considered invasive in the US.

Both ducks & chickens have pros and cons you should know about before choosing one - or both.

Here’s a 12-point comparison of ducks vs chickens:

Ducks win. They lay more and larger eggs than chickens, plus duck eggs are richer-flavored & more nutritious. .

1. Egg production:

Ducks win. Ducks & chickens start laying eggs roughly the same age, but ducks maintain peak egg production for more years and live longer than chickens.

2. Months to production, productive life, & lifespan

Tie. If you’re looking for a meat producer, meat breeds of ducks and chickens finish at around the same weight and time.

3. Meat production:

Ducks win. Ducks are less prone to diseases & illnesses (espc. in wet climates), but vet care is harder to find & more costly.

4.Healthcare & illness susceptibility

Ducks win. Ducks can thrive in a wider climate range than chickens — especially in wetter, cooler climates.

5.Climate adaptability

Tie. Ducks & chickens both need coops and other protective infrastructure. Ducks are flightless, chickens may need their wings clipped.

6. Housing & living areas

Chickens win. At a minimum, ducks need a water bowl deep enough to submerge their heads in (and ideally a pool). All chickens need is a drip nipple.

7. Water needs:

Chickens win. Chickens eat less than ducks, and their food is usually easier and less expensive to find (especially in organic formulations).

8. Feed needs & cost:

Tie. Both ducks and chickens are excellent foragers & pest control, but chickens can do more damage to a landscape since they scratch and dig.

9. Foraging ability / pest control

Tie. Ducks and chickens are both highly susceptible to predation in both rural & urban environments.

10. Susceptibility to predators

Tie. Starting young with regular handling and treats, both ducks and chickens can make excellent pets.

11. Sociability as pets

Chickens win. – Female ducks are much louder than female chickens; male chickens are much louder than male ducks.

12. Noise

Can’t decide which is best for you? You can get ducks AND chickens, but raising both is more difficult.

Flap on over for a deeper dive into ducks vs chickens!

Interested in learning more?

And, be sure to check out all of our other duck content while you're there!