This is my duck house I built for my daughter. Building this duck house, I felt like I reinvented the wheel sometimes and even now, I’m thinking if I were to do it again, how I would do it differently.
My thoughts on building it were to have a secure house that opened via a door on a timer. The ducks can then enter a locked enclosure. If a predator wanted too, they could dig under the walls during the day.
The footprint of the house area is 5.5' x 3'. The enclosure area is 5.5' x 5' for a total footprint of 5.5' x 8'. The rails (or wheel barrow handles) are 10'. The height is 5' high. About halfway inside the house is a shelf that almost cuts the interior in half. The shelf has lighting, electrical stuff and I put a bag of food and flashlight in it. The shelf doesn't touch the sides so it can vent (or waft) upwards. On the 2nd photo, you can see an attic vent attached.
The one part of this design that is really not so great is the wheels setup. I wanted this to be built like a tractor design so I can move it around me yard easily. Well, 300 lbs later, I couldn't figure out a good method for attaching wheels to this. I chopped down a dolly and attached it to one end. The dolly worked just dandy inside my garage while building it. Rolling it across the grass is more like an Olympic snatch and jerk and then pulling it over my grass.
Electronically, I have a trickle charger solar cell, which leads to my old truck battery. The battery powers my Pullet-Chicken door. I researched doors extensively and considered making my own. I finally decided that $200, while steep for a duck house, really doesnt have a good alternative. Doing a project like this, I tried to just bury my head and not ask myself what my hourly rate is.
For lighting, I installed 4 G4 lightbulbs into 4 G4 halogen sockets, placed inside 4 baby jars. These were wired to a digital switch which also fed to my battery. The lights and door barely use any power. The trickle charger is more than enough to keep up.
I have a solar powered Nite Guard for predators. My sister tells me this is an effective model but the same animal can eventually learn what it is.
Finally, I tried using butt splices for the wiring but I needed to put my head and torso inside the upper half to wire it. By the time I get two wires spliced, my elbow would yank the another one out. I finally broke down and soldiered the entire thing together and put shrink tape over the exposed areas.
Inside the duck house, I painted the floor and about 1' up using roofing cement. This is so I can hose out the lower area. There is no lip to keep things in and also so I can hose it out. I hope this was a good design idea. The wire is not chicken wire but is galvanized hardware cloth and a few 100 staples.
For framing, I didn't want a factory edge on a 2x2. I wanted square corners so I ripped pressure treated 2xs to give me a nominal 1.5x2.0" board. There are a couple screws in this but it's mostly held together with 18g finish nails and 6 tubes of 3000psi liquid nails. I built some extra webbing for sturdiness but when it was finally built, I'm not sure if this was necessary.
After finishing this, I wish it was lighter and had a better wheel system. I would make the house first, then frame the enclosure around it to avoid so much custom carpentry. I think I dropped $500 on this. $200 for the door, $100 in lumber, $100 in hardware cloth, another $200 for paint, hinges, vent, hasps etc. I spent about 16 hours making this.
Today, I was at a feed store and there was a large chicken coop that was built using 2x2s, framing nails and chicken wire. It was about the same size. No electronics. It was for sale for $900. I needed something to make me smile and this did.
I had two different people that saw me building this from the street come over and ask me to build them one just like this. I quoted $1,600 and they didn't think that was out of line.
Ideas bouncing around my head to make this lighter is welding PVC together. I would need a drill press which I don't own. Instead of plywood siding, maybe use acrylic boards or some kind of thin siding. I also think a Chipolte style house would look pretty good if done right. Stained wood, galvanized corrugated siding but then the weight might be a problem again. If inclined, weld aluminum together. I doubt the cost difference is much. You need an alum line feed welder though. If you made that, you might need to preemptively post photos of it at the scrap yards though.
Finally, the real payoff is my daughter. She loves it. She would love anything I made of course but she knows I put a lot into this. She calls this her Pinkalicious duck house and Daphne, Velma and Dora seem to enjoy it too.