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Getting Ducks, few questions

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello All!

 

I have been lurking for some time but I have finally decided to post as I am getting ready to buy a couple of Rouen Duckies (hens) and had a few questions.

 

Background - We are buying the ducks for pets and buying two of them so they don't get lonely. If they lay eggs, awesome and we will have tasty duck eggs, if not then we have awesome pets.

 

I am planning on keeping them inside in a brooder for about 4 - 6 weeks. I will take them outside, let them roam (supervised) and teach them to swim of course, but I don't want them in an outdoor coop until they are at least a month or two old? Is that too long to be inside? (I know they make a mess and I will be ready for that, i am more concerned with weather and predators) We are in San Diego, CA but it can get cold in fall at night.

 

I had lots of plans for a nice pond and a filtration system, but now I am rethinking this. Since the water will need to be changed regularly regardless of filtration I am thinking about a smaller pond so I don't use so much water when I empty and refill. (we are in a drought after all). Something like a small kiddie pool. Any problem with this plan?

 

Should the ducks be in a protected run during daylight? the current yard has six foot fences, but is not predator proof by ANY means. The coop I am building will be predator proof. There are coyotes and raccoons, and other things that im sure im not aware of, but are these daytime threats in addition to nocturnal?

 

How big of a coop? I have the room to build a decent sized coop. I want to build one big enough so they can have a small container of play water in addition to the normal food and drinking water. I am thinking 4 feet wide, by 5 feet long and 5 feet high. I want to be able to have room to move around in there while im doing food and water etc. I plan on using 1/2" plywood and 2x4's for the coop. The windows I want to use a steel mesh to use as windows for ventilation and drainage for the floor under the water.

 

I think that's about it, please let me know what you think.


Edited by revans2003 - 9/24/15 at 12:35pm
post #2 of 6

First off... :welcome

 

I only just got my first ducks 7 weeks ago so I'm no expert but I'll tell you what I experienced so far. I got 4 WH and was brooding them in a large Rubbermaid container. They outgrew that in 4 weeks and I had to move them to my bathtub. I ran into an issue getting my coop built (person who said they would help only put in 5 hours and disappeared :somad) so it took me longer to get my coop/run finished. They were outside by 6 weeks but I think I would have put them out at 5 if the coop was done. We were all much happier once they went outside. I should note mine were fully feathered at 4.5-5 weeks and it has been warm so your weather would play a factor in when you want to put your birds out. I think mine feathered early because they had swim time every day starting at 3 days old.

 

In my run I have a 50 gallon stock tank and in my yard I have a large kiddie pool. The stock tank I empty every two days and the kiddie pool every 3-4 (depending on how often they use it). I have a submersible pump with a long hose I use to empty them and water my plants. I was using a bucket but the pump is so much easier and worth the extra money. This setup is working well for my girls right now.

 

Building a protected run is up to you. There are also daytime predators you might have to worry about, like hawks and stray dogs. I have a fully enclosed run connected to my coop so I don't have to worry about my girls too much when I'm at work.

 

They say minimum coop size is 4 sq ft per bird and run size is 10 sq ft per bird. Your planned size is plenty big for 2 ducks. It would fit up to 5 ducks. I would say that you should think about the future too. You might only want 2 ducks now but will you want more in the future? I only just got mine but I already know I want more in the future. I built my coop/run to accommodate up to 10 birds (max by law here).

 

I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by using windows for filtration. Do you mean ventilation? You want lots of ventilation, better to have too much than not enough. My coop is 8 ft x 6 ft and 4 ft high. It is raised off the ground and has a mix of trex flooring a hardware cloth so air can pass through the pine shavings. I also have two 2 ft x 2 ft windows, a 4 ft long roof ridge vent, 5 ft long under eave soffit vents on 2 sides, and 4 face-on soffit vents. I might have gone overboard. :idunno 

 

Hope that helps.


Edited by lomine - 9/24/15 at 12:49pm
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info, and yes I meant ventilation!!

 

Is the hardware mesh in the flooring sturdy enough to prevent raccoons from getting in from the bottom?

post #4 of 6
The hardware cloth is attached to both the framing of the coop and the bottom of the trex boards. I actually choose it so nothing could get in from the bottom so I sure hope it's enough. Here is a picture of the coop floor from underneath.

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by revans2003 View Post
 

Hello All!

 

I have been lurking for some time but I have finally decided to post as I am getting ready to buy a couple of Rouen Duckies (hens) and had a few questions.

 

Welcome!

 

Background - We are buying the ducks for pets and buying two of them so they don't get lonely. If they lay eggs, awesome and we will have tasty duck eggs, if not then we have awesome pets.

 

Correct!

 

I am planning on keeping them inside in a brooder for about 4 - 6 weeks. I will take them outside, let them roam (supervised) and teach them to swim of course, but I don't want them in an outdoor coop until they are at least a month or two old? Is that too long to be inside? (I know they make a mess and I will be ready for that, i am more concerned with weather and predators) We are in San Diego, CA but it can get cold in fall at night.

 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, my eleven Runners were indoors most of the time their first 3 months.  I took them outside, supervised, on nice days.

 

I had lots of plans for a nice pond and a filtration system, but now I am rethinking this. Since the water will need to be changed regularly regardless of filtration I am thinking about a smaller pond so I don't use so much water when I empty and refill. (we are in a drought after all). Something like a small kiddie pool. Any problem with this plan?

 

We have used concrete mixing pans and kiddie pools.  The former are more durable, the k-p's all developed cracks.  I dump them at night and set them up on their sides to dry.  The dumped water goes into a small channel into garden beds.  Fabulous fertigation!

 

Should the ducks be in a protected run during daylight? Yes. the current yard has six foot fences, but is not predator proof by ANY means. The coop I am building will be predator proof. There are coyotes and raccoons, and other things that im sure im not aware of, but are these daytime threats in addition to nocturnal? Here, foxes will come in during daylight, sometimes coyotes, as well as hawks.  Raccoons do not always wait til full dark to start coming close.

 

How big of a coop? I have the room to build a decent sized coop. I want to build one big enough so they can have a small container of play water in addition to the normal food and drinking water. I am thinking 4 feet wide, by 5 feet long and 5 feet high. I want to be able to have room to move around in there while im doing food and water etc. I plan on using 1/2" plywood and 2x4's for the coop. The windows I want to use a steel mesh to use as windows for ventilation and drainage for the floor under the water.

 

Sounds good.  Our first coop was a double-walled (insulated with perlite and vermiculite for no mold) plywood, 4x8 feet for 11 Runners.  It was just for sleeping at night.  Due to some of the flock not being cold hardy, I now have a 100 s.f. pen in the walkout basement, and it houses 14 ducks - Runner, mini-Cayuga, and Buff.  It is spacious because guaranteed, there will be a week or three in the winter with dangerously low temperatures outdoors, even in the daytime.

 

I made watering stations - they work so well!

 

 

 

900x900px-LL-38d8e122_5729954.jpeg

 

 

I think that's about it, please let me know what you think.

(My responses are inside the quoted text)

Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Awesome! Those watering stations are a brilliant idea, I will be copying that :P

 

I have decided to work on the run and the pond first. I wont be able to get my ducklings until November so I have plenty of time to build the coop and the pond.

 

I was at lowes today and noticed a really nice shed for about 500 bucks. That might be easily and cheaply retrofitted into a coop, and I would have plenty of room for growth. Unfortunately there is lots of vertical room, but not a ton of room on the floor for any more than 2 or 3 ducks. It may be cheaper to build my own but it seems pretty stout and is made from plywood and 2x4's and would be an easy ready made solution.

 

I will post updates of the pond construction as I go, but I have 50 gallon liner and am going to build a nice area in the run for the duckies to swim and forage.

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