I'm brand new to ducks so this will definitely be a learning experience! I've owned chickens before, but had been out of them for a number of years, until this year! I was given 8 chickens from one of my school's elementary classes who hatched them and did a great job raising them. Then someone posted on a facebook page and the next thing you know ... we purchased 6 Rouens and as luck would have it, ended up with 4 ducks and 2 drakes! The ducks are currently in with the chickens, but making such a mess of things that I decided they should have their own run ... so this is where we are at!
I've only just begun to build my Rouen run and duck house so will update as we go! I do have a plan on paper for the 500 sq ft run as well as my duck house but I have to scan them in before I can post. In the meantime, here are some pics of my ducks.
And this is the area where we plan to build the pen. I stood in one place and took consecutive photos that I knit together. From the left - our little barn, the chicken pen, coop and where you see the kiddy pool is the start of our duck pen. The pallets will be where the duck house goes and then the rest is all their run.
And here is the same area cleared with a few post holes dug, but viewed from the adjacent corner as above. This is the view from the corner along the path looking toward the barn. Top left, you can see the first 2 posts - the fence is angled in between them with a gate in the middle. To the far right (behind the big stump) is where the raised pond will be. The ground slopes back there so the front of the platform will be almost at ground level, while the bottom will be several feet up allowing us access behind/under to drain the pond. It will drain right into a natural run off ditch or into a bucket to use as fertilizer in the garden. In the centre where the pallets are is the location for the duck house.
That's all for now!
Sept. 3: Well, we've made a bit of progress, but not much as we've had lots of company and many dinner invitations to attend these past weeks. Since my last report we finished digging the last 3 post holes and have levelled and tamped all the posts in. We used 10' poles and set them 2.5' in the ground. We could have dug further, but for this application we figured that was deep enough. Aside from that, I dug the post holes by hand and our ground is hard pan clay, in addition to dealing with the first 6" of roots from the surrounding forest, so it was not an easy task. There was not enough room to bring in a pounder or auger because of the trees, so it was a necessary step.
We also started putting up the wire, but let me just say - I will never use poultry netting again. I had hoped to use hardware cloth - at least for the first 3' up - but it proved too costly for my budget. Another option was stucco mesh, but it only came in 54" and I decided the 2x2" holes were too large if we ever decided to have ducklings/chicks in there. Of course, living in the boonies of northern BC Canada hindered our progress too - our local stores didn't have any hardware mesh in stock - so we opted to use 1" x 72" poultry wire. BIG MISTAKE. I found it nearly impossible to get a nice tight fence with this stuff. It's all wobbly looking and so flimsy. Another issues revealed itself as we went around the posts - we found that despite it's flexible nature we could not follow the lay of the land without it bobbling out and ended up having to cut it at the posts. If we were working on level ground it might be a different matter, but unfortunately that isn't the case. AND once we had it strung all around we realized a couple other mistakes we made. We should have marked the 6' height on each post prior to stringing/stapling the fence wire; some of the heights are 4" shorter than it should be - as we pulled to make the fence as taught as we could, it condensed the height. Since we realized this after the fact, we now have to go back, undo the staples and stretch the wire vertically to regain the full height. This discrepancy in height could also account for some of the waviness in the wire so I guess we'll see what happens after this process. We had placed the posts 12' apart since I had been planning to use stiffer wire. So now we are in a position where I need to add cross pieces to support the wire at top and bottom. That's where we got to as of yesterday. Today I will try to correct the height issue, and add the cross pieces in the hopes that it will add enough support to the wire to correct some of the bowing/waviness. This is definitely not turning out as I had hoped and costing much more than planned. In hindsight I wish I would have gone with the stucco mesh despite it's shorter height.
Okay - we did get some work done today! We fixed the wire height, added the top/bottom boards and started stretching the wire. Not looking too bad now actually. What do you think?
Here is a view from the pathway to the barn (as shown above).
And here a view from the front where the gate will go. The gate looks a little wonky at the moment because we have a temporary board there holding the posts the proper width apart. We'll put a permanent, level top there at some point. You'll also notice that the rest of the boards follow the lay of the land ... we kinda have to do that since we live on uneven ground. Just a bit more stapling/stretching of wire and the gate and we can put the ducks in while we build their house and raised pond.