Hi all - I'm getting just 2 runners in April and am trying to plan for proper housing .. I have a large yard that is unfenced and opens to woods .. all the predators are around :( fox, raccoon ,coyote possum etc . I'm also on a tight budget , and not much of a carpenter type. my thought is to use existing wire fencing to make a fairly large pen , height about 5' , use chicken wire to skirt the perimeter , and secure it so digging under cant happen easily/quickly .. basically it would be secure enough for daylight hours .. at dusk I would like to move them into the garage , which is totally secure ... I would have a decent sized corner area made up with hay bale walls and a dog house for warmth and sleeping in . Is that a crazy idea ? I can spot clean poop daily , and tend to them often. I've heard so much about the volume and smell and mess of their crapping , that I wonder if I am mistaken ?? it is only 2 ducks , who will be outside foraging and pooping for almost all daylight hours. will it really be that bad to do this ?? any advice is greatly appreciated! thanks.
using part of garage as safe house for 2 Indian Runners ???
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Sounds pretty good, to me.
If you can get ahold of some half inch metal hardware cloth - that will provide protection from predators much much better than chicken wire, just two or three feet along the lower part of the sides of the fence will help.
Something I did was use coated chain link fence across the bottom of the day pen, attached to the base of the fence. That way if something good-sized (larger than a rodent) tries digging under, they cannot get up into the fence.
Folks who are done with old dog runs and sections of chain link fence may be glad to have you carry it away. You just need the fence, no posts. I attached the fence to 1x6 inch boards around the perimeter of the fence.
Something across the top of the pen will be needed, too, in my opinion, because foxes jump and hawks sometimes make a go at smaller ducks.
The indoor night pen sounds great - just make sure there are no ugly fumes, and be sure to get every piece of metal small enough for them to swallow out of there before you bring them in. They are very curious and will eat nails and keys and coins, etc. and that is fatal.
all great advice , and very much appreciated .. I guess the "mess" production of 2 ducks isn't as awful as I've imagined ! I daytime is no guarantee against hungry foxes or hawks .. so I'll make the day pen with that in mind ..
how trainable are the runners ? I'll be raising them as day-olds , and will have alot of time to spend with them , even when older and outside. I've read that they are pretty easily directed and respond to routines that pair whistling with feeding , or even planting a flag in the same spot everyday , that they will stay near to. I've actually thought of getting a duck call to use in training them ??? also read that peas are a great snack to use in training them. These girls are going to get alot of t.l.c. and supervision .. I just fear what may happen when I'm not around during the day .. and I dont want them in the garage during daylight ... are they smart enough to run to a safe area within the daypen if a fox got into it ? something like a wooden box shelter with a small hole in it , that wouldnt allow a fox access ?? thanks again. Cheers !
A fox can go through a 6" hole in a fence (had one go THROUGH out field fencing).
So for your day pen, 5' could be ok, but put something stronger than chicken wire along the ground at the edge to prevent digging - chicken wire keeps birds in, does nothing to keep other things out - easily ripped apart.
If you know you are crawling with predators, you'll want a way to cover your pen. Many people use bird netting, but a fox can climb a 5' fence and then onto bird netting and it will just land in the pen.
Ducks are not smart or quick enough to evade a fox.
thanks a lot . the wire fencing is strong and holes 1" x 2" , so that should be fine. If it was an all the time pen I'd be more worried . I dont know whats out there that will hear,smell,see new ducks as prey ..as it is I see no predators during the day , but a neighbor had fox attacks at noon recently - so they are around. maybe I'm naive , but I think a solid pen for daytime only might be enough ??? I also have hard clay/stony soil .. can a fox dig through chicken wire skirting in the daytime , near the house ? Is that a real concern? just curious . this is new to me. also thought about razor wire across the top of the 5' .. is that stupid ? I dont care that much what it looks like and there are no kids or anyone around who may be stupid around it .
another question. any ideas on how to make a gate , or entry/exit way , in a wire mesh, steel poled pen? havent figured that one out yet either !