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Duck Coops - Advice!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Now that the weather is warming up and spring is around the corner here in Vermont, we are beginning to think of the outside duck coop we are going to be making to get Nibble outside, and for his buddies when they are born and come home with us as well in April. We are thinking of making something for a shelter out of old unused pallets, but I am curious for an advice other duck owners have to offer in building a duck coop and run. What is necessary, what isn't, what works for easy clean up and feeding, etc.? We plan on having a kiddie pool, but I am wondering the best way to empty that since it won't be easy to carry too far anywhere to dump it out of their general living area. I also want easy cleaning, of course, and do we need a top fence to keep predators out or just one around their run and house? What is the best thing to use for bedding on the floor of the house? Hay or something else? 

 

~Blake

post #2 of 5

There are many ways to make a good duck coop. Pallets are not the way to go, but coops don't need to be big. Your minimum requirements for the coop itself should be about 2 ft per duck. It needs to be 3 feet tall minimum. You can build a simple square coop easily in maybe 2-3 days, 12 total hours. If you are willing to spend a little money you can convert a garden shed, with a little reno work. For me, we just fixed up and old chicken coop on our farm. You can also, if you like, buy from egloo, it's a really good company but a bit pricey.

Fore cleanup, we took an old sheet of plastic on 'feet' attached to a gutter that drains into a low spot in the barnyard. Food can go on this also, but you can put a simple tray or shallow box under food that you can clean every day. Kiddie pools? We have a tub like that too and we have that on the plastic too. We just tip it over and it drains. I have also seen people put holes in the sides that they put air-seal plugs into and when they drain it, it drains into pvc pipes that also drain into a low spot. 

For predator control we did a top fence. Almost all predators can climb. You either need to electrify the fence or have a tight top. If you hav large predators, like bears or cougars, in your area, you'll need really strong fencing and very high voltage electricity. If you do high voltage, you need to have an inner fence so your ducks don't fry themselves. For us, we have found that straw and pine shaving are the best. I've had our ducks for a year now, and we usually do about an inch or two pine shaving with straw on top of that. It works well. For broody's we do a total of about 8 inches of bedding. Right now we are using pine. For easiest cleanup, it depends on the tools. For straw it kind of weaves itself together so you need a strong rake and a shovel. For shaving they just clump so it's a bit easier. However, I've found that ducks prefer straw for nest making.

post #3 of 5

For any more questions, feel free to contact me at quackhouse2015@gmail.com I'd be happy to talk more in depth when I have more time.

Hope I helped!

post #4 of 5
I have 2 duck houses that are 2x4' each that I built to house 2 pairs of breeders or to let babies grow out that has a 1x 2 ' wire floor right by the door so they can have water and food at night without wetting the bedding
There is also a nest box window that I could open the door to collect eggs in the morning
It is built out of one sheet of 1/2" ply that Home Depot cut into exact size for me 😀 Bless their heart

Holderread also has an illustration of a very easy duck house and pen
Storeys guide to raising ducks -Dave Holderread
Hope this helps [/IMG]

Exclusively breeding a Holderread line of rare coloured INDIAN RUNNERS. Blue Trout, Trout & Gold Trout

 

 

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Exclusively breeding a Holderread line of rare coloured INDIAN RUNNERS. Blue Trout, Trout & Gold Trout

 

 

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post #5 of 5

I'm in New England area also.  My hens are loving the dogloo I bought for them.  All four can fit in it comfortably.  I also have a cedar  dog house that all four can fit into comfortably.    They usually use one for laying and the other one is shelter. But honestly, unless the windchill takes it below zero they re usually sleeping outside under the stars.

 

They also do a fantastic job of not pooping up the laying dog house.  I fluff that bedding every day.

 

I have a doggie pool in the forage pen and the duck "yard".  I thought it took up too much room so I got a rubbermaid stock tank (70 gallon) on deep discount.  It was so tall that it needed a ramp for them to get into easily.  They adjusted to it and they love using the ramp as a sunning spot.   For christmas they got a new long n low 50 gallon stock tank that I'll be moving into their pen in the spring.  They've been practicing using it on warm days in their forage pen.  I'll still use the ramp with it.

 

I'd recommend thinking about how you want to gather eggs.  I'm short and i have to  use a garden tool to reach the eggs.  It's not too bad but on the days the ground is frozen it sucks having to kneel down to reach them.

 

I used a self priming hand pump to empty the 70 gallon stock pond before we got a tractor.  Now I use the tractor as a powersource to power the pump.  We don't have outdoor outlets we can use down by the duck pen yet. I use the duck water to water plants and trees in the orchard so I don't just dump it out.

 

Personally, I wish I'd gotten two dogloos for them to use.  The dogloos have built in  ventilation.  And they're cool in summer and warm in winter.  I just have to be vigilant about keeping the vent snow free.

 

Our basic pen is a 8x 10 dog kennel,.  We used hardware cloth from about  4 feet up the sides down to the ground & stapled it into the ground.  We used  rabbit fencing to cover the top.

 

I use straw& oak leaves  for bedding but I think when I clean it out in the spring I'm going to switch to shredded mulch.   I have a hard time buying straw in my area because it is bought up by the large animal keepers.  It costs me between $8 and $12 a bale in the quantities I buy.  The best bargain I found was the double size compressed bales sold by TSC.  But those are a seasonal product  and super heavy to carry.

 

I wish I'd gotten two of those dog kennels  and put them together to make one big pen. Maybe I'll do that this spring.

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