My husband and I have 14 ducks. Five males and 9 females. They are currently kept in a 20x25 ft (ish) enclosure. That gives them about 500 square feet to roam, plus their 10x8 ft shed. Seems like a lot, but it's not really. They've completely decimated the grass. It's all mud. On nice evenings in the summer, we let them free range for a short amount of time. But it always must be supervised because we are on the edge of town with neighbors (in particular, a cranky neighbor with a lovely pond that the ducks would be magnetically drawn to if they ever discovered.
We want to move across the street this year. Good things: the house is newer, nicer, bigger and doesn't have a leaky roof or drafty windows and bad plumbing and isn't constantly breaking all the time like our current 105 year old house. And it's just outside the corporation limit, so no zoning codes, yay! My ducks don't have to be a semi secret anymore lol. Bad things: the yard isn't as big and the neighbors are closer.
All that aside, I want to give my ducks more space to roam. We would still have the shed and enclosure, but I want to fence off the whole backyard with tall chicken wire, which would give them maybe 1/4 or 1/3 acre to roam.
Sounds great, right? I just have a couple concerns I've been playing around with in my head. Main concern: chicken wire will keep my fat ducks (pekin, Cayuga, WH) in fine, what what about the lighter ones and bantams? We clip the wings of the mallards and runners, but they can still get a bit of air (especially those pesky flighty mallards, yeesh!). I'm concerned they could get out and bothering the neighbors, going on the road, discovering the pond...
Next concern: chicken wire isn't nearly as formidable as chain link against predators. We haven't had any problem with predators keeping them in the chain link enclosure so far, partly due to the fact we are inn the edge of town, which is too busy for shy predators. But there are tons of cats around, and I have seen foxes near by. Some dogs in down are loose too. Getting a heavier expensive fence just isn't an option. Buying the house will kind of drain our money reserves. Maybe let them out in the daytime only? Put them back in the smaller chain link enclosure at night? I dunno about this one...
Last concern: how bad will they destroy the back yard. I wish I could give them more room but that's all we could fence off. I do NOT want my backyard turning into a mud slop like their current enclosure. We are definitely culling two males in the spring, maybe three. But that would still be a dozen ducks drilling holes and playing in mud. And we know a corner of that backyard floods with every heavy rain. I would hate to get rid of more ducks but I just don't know.
Anyway, those are my concerns. Are they safe, will they escape and will they destroy my yard to bits. Just wondering if anyone has thoughts to share to help me muse over options. Either way I can't wait to move. I want out of our falling apart house. It's so damp and musty and is causing problems with my asthma.