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I am new to Ducks. I have three, and they have been spending their nights in one of the chicken houses, in a seperate enclosure that is secure from rats. They hate it. I need to build them a house of their own. What I need from you is direction.
From what I see, they don't need "roosts". Or, _should_ they be sleeping on roosts? They don't seem built for it, but what do I know?
How much room per duck? I have three now, but see up to 6 possible. This is just for night-time use, they'll be free during the day.
How tall should the inner ceiling be? I usually build things to be just above standing head height for the critters that will occupy it, to conserve heat during the cold weather, but I'm also usually building for mammals. These fellers seem to be well insulated without my help *G*.
Windows? I'm planning to hinge the roof if I can figure a way to secure it when closed.
It will be inside a chainlink pen (roofed?), that will be closed at night, open during the day.
Any advice is welcome, I find them very endearing (even though they hate me), and it worries me...
p.s. One of them seems to be longing to run with the chickens, which is what he's always done. Can I allow that? Currently they're seperated by the duckyard fence.
Catmad - I personally don't think you really need to keep them separated. I didn't when I first got them and they were all fine together. If the chickens were in their way they would just nudge them out of the way.
I found a few duck type houses online that you may be able to use as a guide, but some of them look like enlarged dog houses...so that may help you find a cheap alternative.
We have a pond, but it is in coyote territory. They are not going there :(. They have a boat to swim in, but it isn't big enough to support a house, I'm afraid. I worry more about the ducks, they seem less able to take care of themselves, and less aware of what goes on around them.
I don't mind them with the chickens during the day, but if I just let them go into the chicken houses at night I can only imagine how they'll look in the morning, wth chickens roosting above them at night. Plus, although I don't have a big rat problem at the moment, the occasional one get past my sentries. The chickens on the roosts seem okay, but a hunkering duck seems as if it would be in jeopardy. Thanks titaniumRX8, I have some sites as well, but would like to know more of what they actually need before I start construction on Duckingham Palace. I'll check those now.
Chicken tractor is not secure enough, nor does it offer much protection during inclement weather, so I'll keep researching...
*grin* Fort Duck, I guess. I do like to be able to relax once everyone's in for the night. Right now they're safe in an interior room in the main chicken house, but they hate it. And I hate chasing them to put them in, they get so stressed.
I have ducks and I've been herding them into a big dog crate at night. We've attached a second wall of chicken wire to the inside of the crate. The crate is inside the fenced area where they spend the day.
Racoons are the predator we're protecting against and so far it's worked. I'd like to move mine to a more traditional duck house eventually but for now the dog crate works great.
That's one of my number one questions!! Also, would they prefer solid walls, or 1x1/2" welded wire in some "windows" so they're not completely enclosed? We're worried about raccoons and dogs, mostly, but there are coyotes in the vicinity.
I wish I understood them better, I so want them to be Happy Ducks...
A while back I had runner ducks. At first I used a large heavy plastic barrel (the kind some ppl build a dog house out of) for my ducks. I had it in the backyard, then in the chicken run. They didn't like it either way. The hens loved it and some broody always claimed it.
I tried to herd the ducks into an empty coop, they hated that too. The only place they loved to go at night was under the original chicken coop. It was built on a platform about 2 ft off the ground and had wire fencing around two sides, the other sides were open into the chicken run.
In the winter I would put boards and hay bales around it to give them protection from the snow/ice. The weather never seemed to phase them. They would trail through the snow single file into their sanctuary under the chicken coop.
Eventually I quit worrying over them and let them have their way.
jab91864 - That is what I had to pretty much do with mine. They did not want to go back into the coop once they were out. So I gave up and just left them out by the pond. I have wild geese out there too so I think that cuts down on the predators carrying them off. I see raccoon tracks out there but no losses in the 3 months they have been out there...Knock on wood.
I first read and thought OMG, did I post rubber ducks...lol
The downside for me with the ducks was that when turned out to free range the yard/woods with the chickens they did 3 times the amt of damage the chickens did in much less time. Those large bills would just rip off entire leaves from my plants... tomatoes, peppers, roses...lol. They would jump to reach the higher stuff, sort of comical actually. They were not picky at all.
I also noticed when there was a full moon they seemed to spend most of the night wandering the yard single file quacking up a storm. More than once in the beginning I thought there was an attack because they were so loud and I would go storming out in my jammies only to see them all stop and stare at me like WTH is she doing now...
At that time I was in a more rural area and we had a fox issue, never lost a duck to them but they took enough hens (usually mid day, go figure) . At night the gate was closed and they had to stay either in the run or the backyard area. Most nights I would leave the gate to the run open to the fenced backyard area.
I also had a dog that was free to roam the yard and the run (his brother had to stay in a separate section because he could not be trusted alone with the flock) during the night, and he offered a GREAT deal of protection. More than once I saw him fronting off a fox through the fence. Coons were a huge issue and more than one had to be gotten rid of. Occasionally I would get a hen who would not come back from free ranging because she was sitting on eggs in the woods, most did not survive long if they chose to do that.
Coyotes were always heard close by but I never spotted one in my yard ( I had it lit up pretty well) but could sometimes see stuff moving just beyond the lights. Same with bear, they would do damage in my yard (snap my birdfeeder poles in half) but I never spotted them nor did they attempt to get to my flock that I know of.
The last spring I had my ducks the girls went broody and hatched out babies under the coop. The babies didn't last long... my fault, I didn't realize the drake would kill them =0(
I think I have heard DonnaB say the same thing about her runner ducks too. I don't have any of those, but I will still keep tabs on the ducks egg laying. I don't need any babies for the critters to get. Here on my pond babies are more likely to be taken by turtles than anything else.
yes it was a first time mom and was still young. I guess she didn't know what to do. I felt so bad about it.
The pen doesn't need to be fancy. Good strong 2 x 2 wire on sides and top. A open faced box large enough for all to get under in bad weather. If you line the ground with 1/2" mesh around the outside 2' and use landscape pins nothing can dig in to get them