Chickens Mating with Ducks: Here’s What Will Happen 

It might seem like a bad idea on the surface, but mankind has a fair track record of hybridizing kinds of livestock animals. Mating horses and donkeys gave us mules, for instance, and crossbreeding various other breeds has given us the purebreds we all know and love today.

chickens and ducks getting out of the coop
I don’t know what happened in there last night but it can’t be good!

But as you probably imagine, not all pairings are destined for success. Let’s take chickens and ducks for instance. What will happen if a chicken mates with a duck?

Nothing will happen if a chicken mates with a duck. There will be no resulting hybrid of the two species because successful fertilization is nearly impossible since the reproductive systems of these birds are so different.

You can scratch this one off the list, and you won’t be coming up with any new aquatic chickens or terrestrial ducks this way. But I must point out that, although a successful pairing between the two birds is essentially impossible, that isn’t going to stop them from trying…

This is stuff you need to know if you plan on keeping chickens and ducks together regardless, so keep reading!

Can Roosters Mate with Duck Hens?

No, they cannot. A rooster’s reproductive organs are inside his body, and the best he can do is attempt to press them into the open vent of a female chicken when mating in order to transfer sperm and fertilize eggs.

The greater size of the female duck hen, and the necessity that a male duck’s penis must penetrate the female for successful mating means that a rooster simply doesn’t stand a chance of breeding with a female duck.

Can Drakes Mate with Chicken Hens?

No. At first glance, it might look like a male duck, a drake, has a much greater chance of successfully breeding with a female chicken because the male duck has a penis that is on the outside of his body during mating, and that could certainly enter the vent of a chicken hen.

Regardless, copulation does not result in successful fertilization, though it can easily result in injury to the female chicken owing to the protruding nature of the drake’s anatomy which can injure her.

The Sex Organs and Physical Mating Behavior of Ducks and Chickens are Incompatible

Chickens mate very quickly and have internal reproductive systems designed for a quick touch or kiss for the transfer of sperm and subsequent fertilization. This mating happens on land.

Duck reproduction typically occurs on the water and, as mentioned, is lengthier and more involved since male ducks have an external penis that must penetrate the female to reach her reproductive organs.

There are simply too many differences between these two bird species for successful copulation to ever take place.

Ultimately you don’t have to worry about any hybrid fertilization of eggs if you’re keeping both chickens and ducks. Even if males from one species attempt to mate with the females of another, you won’t be dealing with any stillborn or abnormal eggs. These attempts will always fail.

Reports of Duck-Chicken Hybrids are Hoaxes or Misconceptions

It doesn’t take much searching to find reports, even newspaper articles, about chicken-duck hybrids, often referred to as duckens.

I’ve looked high and low, but further investigation has been unable to corroborate any of these stories, and the ones that do have pictures or substantiation have proven to be outright misconceptions if not flagrant hoaxes.

Arguably the most well-known, a story out of Tucson, AZ, followed by the story of a purported chicken-duck hybrid unimaginatively named Ducken.

The owners reported that one of their roosters was mating with a female duck, and sometime later the duckling in question was born, though he had a peculiar, horn-like growth on his head and many physical abnormalities.

This was taken as proof that hybridization was possible, however unlikely it was, but later testing revealed that the ungainly bird was actually the result of an unlikely occurrence: two male ducks had mated with the hen, and sperm from each was used simultaneously to fertilize a single egg resulting in substantial birth defects.

With that settled, the search for a true chicken-duck hybrid continues despite the assurances of science that such a pairing is absolutely impossible in any practical sense.

Males of Either Species Will Still Try, Though!

One thing you must keep in mind is that male ducks and chickens alike get extremely, ah, insistent when they are ready to mate, and they will attempt to mate with virtually any animal that is nearby— that includes your leg if you aren’t careful!

Sure, it might be funny, but this can lead to serious problems. Roosters can claw and injure the necks of duck hens when they try to mount them. Drakes are an even bigger problem for female chickens owing to their greater size and strength and the tendency that drakes have to outright injure their own females during mating…

As mentioned, the long, protruding, corkscrew-shaped penis that all drakes have might cause actual physical injury to the vent or other organs of a female chicken.

Worse, if a drake is feeling rowdy near the water, there’s a non-zero chance that he could easily drown a female chicken if he’s able to force her into it. Much duck mating takes place on the water, remember!

This is no joke because female ducks are routinely drowned in the wild and in captivity during the same circumstances, and they are designed to swim. Chickens are not!

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