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Pekin & Runner Duck housing/pond/nest box ???

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone!  I have three 43-day old Pekin's...wow, do they grow fast!!  One drake & 2 'hens'.  Sorry, can you tell I was 1st a chicken person?  LOL!  Anyway, this next spring I'm planning to add 2 or 3 Runner female ducklings to join my small herd.  So.  Here are my issues/questions...tee hee...

1).  My Pekin's have been living at night in my chicken coop...in a separate area underneath my raised Silkie Crib.  They currently have about 5' x 6' of floor space with FRP board as the flooring, layers of hay & a grate their feed & water sit on.  OK.  So we all know how extremely messy ducks are.  This is seriously a pain to keep clean.  I'm building them their own structure today.  About 4'x8' and 3 or 4' tall.  My plan is to use skids, covered with plywood & FRP board for the floor.  The walls will be 2x4 construction with exterior wood siding...and a roof probably made from either metal or fiberglass roofing panels.  I want to hinge the top for easy catching of the ducks when necessary.  I also want to hinge an entire wall for easy clean-up...ie: Hose it out!!  And, of course, their ducky door.  Do I need to be concerned about nest boxes for Pekin's and/or Runner's??  I have found all kinds of info regarding Wood, Muscovy, Mandarin's, etc.  If I make them a side of their house with 'cubbies' in it, will they use them to lay their eggs?  We are keeping ducks for eggs & amusement only...not food.

2.).  I am putting in a 1,000 gallon pond for them...approximately 6'x10', 2' deep.  I'm purchasing an industrial skimmer, waterfall bio-filter & pump that is for up to 3,000 GPH.  A fish & duck friendly 'natural' water soluble anti-algaecide.  No plants.  Will this help prevent me from needing to change water as often??  Right now I'm using several storage totes - I have to dump them & refill at least once per day.  Their favorite one, a small clear one that was originally meant for under the bed storage (LOL), I have to change as much as 5 times a day!!  They take turns, literally, getting in & out of this little tote.  Of course, these are just totes filled with water.  Anyone have any experience with a system like I'm going to be using?  Please tell me this will drastically cut down on my changing of the water!!  LOL!

3).  I've read a lot about using sand around their housing and pond to help with drainage of their messy poo.  Basically you're supposed to be able to hose it down & the ick returns to the earth...correct?  What about pea gravel or something along those lines?  Is sand the best way to go??

4).  I was planning to use natural mulch for my raised garden beds...the ducks will have access to this area.  Should I reconsider the mulch?  If so, what would be recommended?  Obviously, I'll be using poopy straw & hay from the chickens & ducks also.  But, I mean for around the beds.  The ground.  LOL!  I take care of my 'bird & garden' yard - mostly because I don't want my family to be burdened with my little farmetting hobby.  However, it would be very nice if I didn't need to worry about mowing between beds!!  I can't afford that much sand...it's a very large area.  The duck yard is about half an acre all-together.  It is separated from our German Shorthaired Pointer's by field fencing with electric fencing run both along the top and about 1' above ground level.  The dogs have completely lost interest in my ducks & chickens.  LOL!  The chickens have their own runs inside this larger yard.  Between our garage/house & the chicken yards is where the duck house & pond will be.  Behind my coop is where the garden & small fruit orchard is located.  So far the ducks haven't even ventured back there yet, prefering to stay closer to the chickens for some reason.  They will, however, undoubtedly make their way around to the back, which I want to help with insect control.  What do I cover the ground with that is economical, but will help control the weeds & grass from growing while still being duck-friendly?  What about construction gravel/grit with weed block underneath?

5).  Currently, the ducks are using those large, round, rubber bowls for water in the coop.  I want something less messy in their duck house.  Keep in mind, they will have free access to plenty of water during daylight...this is only for at night when they're locked up.  I'm considering purchasing a heated plastic poultry waterer with a deep base...and probably putting it on patio bricks to raise it so they aren't trying to splash around in it.  Will this work well for them?  I want to make sure there is no chance of their water freezing at night...but obviously have to take into consideration their propensity for extreme muck.  Will a plug-in be safe as long as I'm sure it's secured so no water gets to the plug?  Also, is it better to hang the waterer or put it on something for ducks?  I don't know whether I want to use a galvanized waterer with an overturned bucket (or cinder blocks with the holes) & light bulb underneath...or the plug-in variety?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!  big_smile

I put my Polish in ponytails, watch TV with my Silkie's, sing silly love songs to my dogs &, well, my husband is amazing! My life rocks!
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I put my Polish in ponytails, watch TV with my Silkie's, sing silly love songs to my dogs &, well, my husband is amazing! My life rocks!
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post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by CamsCluckinChicks 

One drake & 2 'hens'.  Sorry, can you tell I was 1st a chicken person?


Nope there called hens here to, sometimes Drakes and Ducks, but mostly hens.

Probably not exactly what your looking to build but try the link in my signature.

Nest boxes, with the domestics, if you let them they will lay them just about anywhere on the ground.
But the cubbies sound like they will work.


Edited by KansasKid - 9/15/10 at 3:01pm
post #3 of 13

It sounds as if you have wonderful plans for your duck housing.  I purchased a 10x10x5 kennel (wish it was taller) and use two plastic dog house/carriers for them and I use a cat litter box filled with hay for the nest box.  My pekin hen was laying her eggs in the pool, on the ramp to the pool, any and everywhere, until I put one of her eggs in the nest then put her on top of it.  She's layed in the box ever since.  I wish I had the time, space, and money to build a pond - maybe one day...until then, I have a 5 foot diameter plastic pool that I put a drain in.  my kennel sits on concrete paver stones - easy to spray off!  They free range during the day and are only in the pen from around 7:30 pm til around 6:30 am but the concrete was starting to rub their feet so I bought out door, rubber padded, carpet to line the front half of the pen.  works great!  I just spray it all off each morning after I let them out.  I put 3 foot high hardware cloth around the bottom of the kennel to protect them from anything (coons) reaching through and grabbing them.

I have a plastic dish pan that I put clean water in everyday that sits next to their food - they never touch it - they prefer to drink out of their poopy pool!  I'm not sure what to do this winter - I am looking at the heated water bowls but haven't decided yet...

Hope this helps a little!  Good luck and congrats!!



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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

KansasKid - Ha ha! Yay! Is it also common to call their bills beaks?  I just can't help myself!  Of course, it doesn't make it easy when the ducks insist on staying close to the chicken runs...and 'kissing' certain ones through the poultry wire!  I think they're actually allowing the chickens to clean the dirt & grass off their beaks.  But, I swear...it looks like they're kissing!! wink  Anyway, I picked up a Ducks magazine, one of the "Popular Farming Series" ones.  They called the males drakes & the females ducks.  I found this confusing as I think of them ALL as ducks.  But, I'm glad to know us in the 'real world' call them drakes & hens.  LOL!

I went & looked at your link.  I'm quite pleased with all I saw.  I'm right on track apparently.  LOL!  I ran out this morning & took a few pic's before the rain started.  Keep in mind, the duck house is barely started & my pond is currently several storage totes.  And the chicken coop isn't sided yet.  And... the list goes on.  Sometimes I think the work will never end!!  roll  Right now my ducks live in the chicken coop under my raised Silkie Crib...and I enlarged their area so that it's clear across the 8' portion of the Coop.  They have FRP flooring, a grate I made for under their water/feed and bunches of hay for softness.  I wouldn't mind them living here except I have to walk through their area to get to all my Crib's.  Ick.  Granted, I wear heavy-duty garden clogs in the warmer weather for any coop work, but all that muck is slippery!!  I have MS & have enough trouble keeping my balance, etc.  LOL! big_smile

This is the Duck Hut floor - with the front wall laying on it.  LOL!  It is up against our garage & close to a water supply.  The floor space is 6' 3/4" W x 4' 4" D...The walls will be 31" high - maybe. If I can decide for sure how I want to do the roof!! But, at the very least, they will be 31" high.  LOL!
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad267/LovinChickens/Ducks%202010/100_1548.jpg

Temporary duck 'ponds'...and the sight of the permanent pond.  It will be 6'x10' with a waterfall feature.
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad267/LovinChickens/Ducks%202010/100_1550.jpg

Chicken runs & another look at the future pond sight...
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad267/LovinChickens/Ducks%202010/100_1555.jpg

One of the ducks favorite area's to hang around, hence the water-filled tote.  They like eating at my decorative gourds on the side of the coop!  LOL!  For whatever reason, they haven't noticed that small plot of tomatoes growing - just harvested about a dozen this morning...as soon as they do notice it, my tomatoes are done for!  Luckily I have another larger tomato plot in the back!!  The Coop is being vinyl sided this fall.  Behind the coop is our garden/orchard area.  There will be raised vegetable beds and at the very back, some fruit trees, grapes & blueberries.  It's just shy of being the size of a football field back there - and the dogs have a full acre on 'their' side.  LOL!
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad267/LovinChickens/Ducks%202010/100_1554.jpg

My German Shorthaired Pointers and ducks. Tomorrow I am putting up the electric fencing along the current fence separating them.  I'm putting it at about 1' - on the dogs' side.  The ducks have a very healthy fear of the dogs & this is as close as they've ever gotten.  The entire outside of our fencing already is electrified, so they're only real danger are our dogs.  The dogs are locked inside if we leave or I'm in the shower, etc.  For whatever reason, opposums & feral cats are the only other predators we've seen in this area.  And the opposums have never actually come this close - about a mile away - but I keep an eye for any evidence of them.
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad267/LovinChickens/Ducks%202010/100_1552.jpg

Now for the obvious...  I'm not putting the Duck Hut & pond behind the Coop because of the North winds.  Also, I'm planning to put down weed guard, sand & then stone in the majority of the area between the house/garage and the chickens.  I think I've decided to purchase a reel mower & use that in-between the garden beds.  This way I can take care of my bird/garden area & not have to worry about the expense of covering the ground in something duck-friendly.  If I get a reel mower with a bag attachment, I can also use the cut grass to throw into the chicken runs so they get to eat 'fresh' grass regularly.  I can't allow them to run around the entire yard because many of them can fly.  Can anyone say fresh chicken snacks for dogs?  Blech.  I don't think so!!  We don't even eat our chickens.  They're pets & provide us with enough eggs to feed ourselves, our neighbors & to sell enough to pay for themselves.  What more could you possibly want in a pet?! cool  My garden beds will be approximately 2' high...and if I find I'm having trouble with my beautiful duckies eating my veggies, I'll poultry wire a foot or two above that.  Assuming they ever decide to even wander back there.  I wish they would - I might have to physically take them back there - I need bug control!!  Ha ha!!

I was planning to put Hosta's of different varieties along the rest of the house and then some tall ornamental grasses here & there.  I was planning to use some landscape fencing - like little white picket fencing - to enclose the Hosta's.  That's to protect the Hosta's, though.  I have some of that crappy Night Shade growing between the Coop & the fence in about a 1' area...it came up behind my Lilacs.  I'll be removing that next rain break.  They haven't messed with it - don't think they've even noticed it, but still!!  I'm also going to have to put fencing around my rhubarb.  It's 'technically' not poisonous, but my chickens got into it one day & they layed some really 'wobbly' & thin-shelled eggs for a couple days.  Plus, we use the rhubarb!!  I have sunflowers, cone flowers (which chickens LOVE the flowers!!) and was planning to plant Purple Wysteria vine up the fence between the dogs & ducks (where the white play fence is attached to the field fence - white plastic fence will be removed).  I've heard the ducks will destroy the vine.  But what if I cage it off until it really takes off, then uncage it?  I currently have 2 Willow trees we started from branches...they are growing together in a flower pot, but I'm getting ready to transplant them for winter.  I'm putting wire caging around them...One is going in the bird yard and the other is going in the dog yard.  Either way, until they're TALL, they need to be caged.  Thankfully they can grow as much as 10' a year!!  Ha ha!!

I have sedum in my bird yard.  My old rooster Jake 'planted' it from some millet I had given him.  Had to rehome Jake because he was so big, he was really damaging my girls.  The ducks like to lay under the sedum for shade.  Not the most beautiful of 'plants', but it'll do.  At 1st, we thought he had planted corn...but no, just sedum.  LOL!  How can you possibly argue with the logic of a 14-pound rooster?! wink

I put my Polish in ponytails, watch TV with my Silkie's, sing silly love songs to my dogs &, well, my husband is amazing! My life rocks!
Reply
I put my Polish in ponytails, watch TV with my Silkie's, sing silly love songs to my dogs &, well, my husband is amazing! My life rocks!
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post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kylee2katie 

It sounds as if you have wonderful plans for your duck housing.  I purchased a 10x10x5 kennel (wish it was taller) and use two plastic dog house/carriers for them and I use a cat litter box filled with hay for the nest box.  My pekin hen was laying her eggs in the pool, on the ramp to the pool, any and everywhere, until I put one of her eggs in the nest then put her on top of it.  She's layed in the box ever since.  I wish I had the time, space, and money to build a pond - maybe one day...until then, I have a 5 foot diameter plastic pool that I put a drain in.  my kennel sits on concrete paver stones - easy to spray off!  They free range during the day and are only in the pen from around 7:30 pm til around 6:30 am but the concrete was starting to rub their feet so I bought out door, rubber padded, carpet to line the front half of the pen.  works great!  I just spray it all off each morning after I let them out.


Outdoor carpet huh?  That didn't occur to me.  Maybe their 'space' between their Duck Hut & the pond...?  Is it slippery when wet?  Like wood or FRP board...or linoleum?  I have to walk daily between the Hut & where the pond is going to get to the Coop & care for the chickens.  I fall easy (MS) and don't want injuries...Hubby will start complaining about my 'hobby'.  LOL!  He's actually already starting to question my sanity - spent $141 yesterday at Lowe's to buy metal roofing, plywood, barn siding, hinges & latches.  I should mention, with the exception of new wood & poultry wire for the runs, the chicken's living quarters were built entirely from 'recycled' supplies.  We had an existing 10'x12' shed in the backyard, our neighbor's gave us their 8'x8' shed & my mother-in-law bought us an 8'x8' shed kit for our anniversary (yes, she's 'different', but wonderful!!).  We built off the existing 10'x12'.  We moved the other 2 sheds using 4" PVC pipe to 'slide' them across the grass & into place.  Then we tore off ends & bolted them together.  I received Amish-made (antique!!) nest boxes from a lady on our local FreeCycle.  We collected several skids, some composite decking boards leftover from a friends deck (this is the Silkie's floor now), windows & insulation from another person on FreeCycle...you name it, we used it!!  I did buy some FRP flooring for the wood floors in the coop, but the original 10x12 has a concrete foundation.  I just keep plenty of hay down.  I should probably mention my husband did construction for over 15 years...this has helped tremendously!!  I am buying new roofing for the coop - we will be roofing in the spring.  This fall yet we are vinyl siding it...also received from a fellow FreeCycler...from a 1400 sq. ft. home.  Included was all the J-channels, etc. & the vinyl shutters!!  Get this - it's all the same colors as our house!! big_smile  Believe it or not, the whole thing is waterproof.  Looks rough, but built tough. lau

So, for a 24 sq. ft. Duck Hut, I spent almost $150.  For a 248 sq. ft. chicken coop, maybe $25 for new screws, etc.  Pathetic, huh?  LOL!  Thankfully the pond liner I'm using for the ducks was what was leftover from re-doing hubby's Koi pond in front.  The filter/waterfall system is a different matter, but they're so cute!!  How could you not spoil them??  lol

I read that if I don't let the ducks out until 9 or 10 am, they will lay their eggs in their home.  Any experience with the time game?  Right now they get let out between 8 & 10, depending on weather, etc.  They are usually headed back to the Coop on their own around 7:30...right when dusk is coming.  I'm really hoping they like their new Hut as much as they do the Chicken Coop!!  I know they are petrified of tarps!!  Can't use one anywhere near where they are going to be - or they aren't going to be there.

OK - going back to my Duck Hut building.  IDK - this is more difficult than I thought.  But I am both bullheaded & determined.  My ducks will have their own Hut!! fl

I put my Polish in ponytails, watch TV with my Silkie's, sing silly love songs to my dogs &, well, my husband is amazing! My life rocks!
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I put my Polish in ponytails, watch TV with my Silkie's, sing silly love songs to my dogs &, well, my husband is amazing! My life rocks!
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post #6 of 13

Try posting the pics again, it won't let me view them.

never mind, its workin now.


Edited by KansasKid - 9/16/10 at 3:13pm
post #7 of 13

1.  [Outdoor carpet huh?  That didn't occur to me.  Maybe their 'space' between their Duck Hut & the pond...?  Is it slippery when wet?  Like wood or FRP board...or linoleum? 

2.  I read that if I don't let the ducks out until 9 or 10 am, they will lay their eggs in their home.  Any experience with the time game?  Right now they get let out between 8 & 10, depending on weather, etc.  They are usually headed back to the Coop on their own around 7:30...right when dusk is coming.  I'm really hoping they like their new Hut as much as they do the Chicken Coop!!  I know they are petrified of tarps!!  Can't use one anywhere near where they are going to be - or they aren't going to be there.


1.   It isn't slippery at all - I got it from our local hardware store and it was fairly cheap!  It is 26 inches wide and they had it in a big roll so I just had them cut the length that I needed.  It was about $1.50 square foot.  It has a rubbery padding on the bottom and the top feels just like a berber carpet. 

2.  I let my ducks out between 6:30 and 7:00 each morning and already have my morning egg waiting on me.

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

1.   It isn't slippery at all - I got it from our local hardware store and it was fairly cheap!  It is 26 inches wide and they had it in a big roll so I just had them cut the length that I needed.  It was about $1.50 square foot.  It has a rubbery padding on the bottom and the top feels just like a berber carpet. 

2.  I let my ducks out between 6:30 and 7:00 each morning and already have my morning egg waiting on me.


Yay! I really wasn't liking the idea of keeping them in their hut until 9 or 10 in the morning!!  They love being out & about so much!! 

Well, I was able to get their Duck Hut done enough for them to move into!! celebrate

This was after I finished the framing, added the front & back siding, made the ducky door, poultry wired the ventilation openings & my husband put the plywood on for the roof.
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad267/LovinChickens/Ducks%202010/100_1566.jpg

Got the ducky door hinged & latched, tar paper & rolled asphalt roofing on, front roof trim attached... The opening on this side (next to my son - lol) will be a door in a few days.
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad267/LovinChickens/Ducks%202010/100_1573.jpg

And here is where we're at for the next few days.  Those antique screen windows have been used for so many things!  LOL!  Right now their purpose is to keep the ducks safe while providing optimum air flow at night due to the warm weather.  But mostly they're a temporary solution to my running to Lowe's & buying another sheet of barn siding immediately!! LOL!! wink  I never claimed to be a carpenter...I only said I was building a Duck Hut for my darlings.  LOL!  As you can see from the 'mess', it was well used last night.  I think they like it!! fl
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad267/LovinChickens/Ducks%202010/100_1598.jpg

This is them today - 47 days old.  From left to right: Donald, Daisy & Daffy.  Daisy has always been the largest of the three & always had the orangest bill.  My husband thought for sure the hatchery had it wrong & she was the drake.  LOL!  Nope.  Donald was Donald all along.
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad267/LovinChickens/Ducks%202010/100_1600.jpg


Edited by CamsCluckinChicks - 9/19/10 at 2:12pm
I put my Polish in ponytails, watch TV with my Silkie's, sing silly love songs to my dogs &, well, my husband is amazing! My life rocks!
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I put my Polish in ponytails, watch TV with my Silkie's, sing silly love songs to my dogs &, well, my husband is amazing! My life rocks!
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post #9 of 13

Wow, what a great setup and so much space! I am very envious wink

You can cut down enormously on the mess inside the duck house by removing the water. They don't need any food or water at night when they are asleep in the coop.

Just keep water outside and they will drink when you let them out in the morning.

Simple!!

Zoo chez moi: Feline fattie Oscar Smoloski and little Mooch, Henny ladies Nugget, Benedict, and Megan, Torty gals Rocky, Roxie and old lady Lucy (aged 85!), and cute funny Runner Duckies Badger and Daisy!

Faithful loving Canine friends Max and Cleo, and Chubby Piglets Rex and Bradley the Ginge all RIP 2010, brave Little Red Hens Lottie and Squishie RIP 2011.

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Zoo chez moi: Feline fattie Oscar Smoloski and little Mooch, Henny ladies Nugget, Benedict, and Megan, Torty gals Rocky, Roxie and old lady Lucy (aged 85!), and cute funny Runner Duckies Badger and Daisy!

Faithful loving Canine friends Max and Cleo, and Chubby Piglets Rex and Bradley the Ginge all RIP 2010, brave Little Red Hens Lottie and Squishie RIP 2011.

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post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejctm 

Wow, what a great setup and so much space! I am very envious wink

You can cut down enormously on the mess inside the duck house by removing the water. They don't need any food or water at night when they are asleep in the coop.

Just keep water outside and they will drink when you let them out in the morning.

Simple!!


Thank you!!

Thanks for the advice!!  I was worried about leaving them without water...I did stop putting food in there as of last night (first night in their hut).  I lured them in with little tomato pieces, which are very watery - I don't think I've ever seen them go drink water after tomatoes.  LOL!  They were hungry this morning!  As soon as I let them out, they ran to their outdoor feed 'trough' and then straight to fresh water.  I can not wait until we get the pond done!! wee

I put my Polish in ponytails, watch TV with my Silkie's, sing silly love songs to my dogs &, well, my husband is amazing! My life rocks!
Reply
I put my Polish in ponytails, watch TV with my Silkie's, sing silly love songs to my dogs &, well, my husband is amazing! My life rocks!
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