The Platform Ducks - from zero to duck in an instance!

This is the story of somebody who only knew ducks from public ponds, did not have a clue how to raise and keep them and suddenly found himself to...
By WannaBeHillBilly · Jan 23, 2019 · Updated Feb 9, 2019 · ·
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5/5,
  1. WannaBeHillBilly
    After moving from Houston, TX to Charleston, WV in 2018 we visited a farm supply store just for fun and discovered six cute yellow fluff balls in a metal tub; the label said »Ducklings $2.99 each«. The store personnel told us that these ducklings were the last ones of the batch, growing too old and if they won't sell asap they would be recycled. (!!!) We could not let this happen and so we returned from the store with duckling food, waterer, feeder, bedding and a large chicken-house puzzle.
    We left the paid ducklings for another night in the store, so that we had some time to assemble the chicken-house first.
    The previous owners of our property had built some wooden platforms, two of them are visible in the picture below. A large work-platform and a small dog-house platform, both with a solid metal roof.

    [​IMG]The situation before ducks: The left platform should become a comfortable duck-home.

    As a first step the pre-built chicken-house had to be assembled, just took me half a day, i broke no bones and poked my hands twice:
    [​IMG]The fully assembled chicken-house.
    Then the house was moved to the smaller platform, the feeder and waterer were installed, straw as bedding and in went the ducklings:
    [​IMG]Six ducklings in their new home
    And the little ones they were thriving… - But after just three weeks the chicken-house became too small for six fast growing ducklings. So the next step was to fence-in the whole platform with chicken wire.
    [​IMG]The fenced in duck-platform with a door for humans and ducks.

    [​IMG]Another picture for the duck-platform with the door open.


    And the ducklings enjoyed their new freedom so much!

    And again: After some weeks as the ducks grew, the platform became too small for the ducks to spend their life on it, so a piece of grass (pasture) was fenced in, then a larger piece and finally a much larger piece, so in the end they have about 2,000sqft to run around, forage and hunt bugs. Then came fall and winter was just around the corner and we realized the duck platform is not good for cold and nasty winter weather...

    So i bought some treated lumber from the local lumber-store:

    [​IMG]A LOT of lumber...

    And i began winterizing the duck's home. The plan was to divide the platform in the middle and create a separate »bedroom« for the ducks to sleep and stay warm while food and water is available all the time on the other half. First the exterior walls needed to be framed.
    [​IMG]Additional support struts and a railing was added.
    [​IMG]The first wall is finished.

    Then a nice short-cut became available: My wife hated the window-shades in our living-room from the beginning! So they were removed and used as temporary walls, you can see where this is going...

    [​IMG]More protection from the weather: Two window-shades.
    The interior divider wall was framed and finished:
    [​IMG]Interior wall frame.
    The duck's »bedroom« is beginning to take shape:
    [​IMG] Finished »bedroom« wall.
    Four electrical outlets were installed in a weather protected spot under the roof and properly wired. You see that little »bump« right hand of the lamp? That's the infamous "DuckyCam"…
    [​IMG] Electrical outlets installed.
    Another lucky twist: The previous owner left us with a large stack of rotten building material, turned out that in between all that rotten stuff there were some good panels of epoxy/wood sheeting, so the ducks got one of the final bedroom walls.
    [​IMG] The finished duck-bedroom.

    [​IMG]A very sunny bedroom!

    Update on 2019-01-29: In late December i started to work on the second bedroom and i also added the smaller sun-shade as an additional weather-protection to the bedroom wall:
    [​IMG]

    Used a tarp to create a temporary outside wall just to see how it will look like:
    [​IMG]

    And i liked it so much that i tried to retrieve another tarp that had been blown off my work-platform onto the hot-tub platform when disaster struck: The floor of that platform was rotten, dropped out under me and i fell 3.5m (~12') down and broke my left foot…
    As many of you have asked for, here are two pictures of the accident site, this is where the floor collapsed:
    [​IMG]

    And this is where i hit the ground, the floor boards are still lying under the platform:
    [​IMG]

    And This is the view from below, you can see where the floor fell out and how far i fell down:[​IMG]



    This is still an ongoing project, i will update this article whenever major progress has been achieved. The to-do-list:
    Replace the large window-shade with a wall and a window or a prop-out wall.
    • Add a second bedroom for the 2019 spring-ducklings.
    • Add more sturdy exterior walls, as the chicken-wire offers almost no protection against predators.
    • Windows for the ducks in the exterior walls, so they can sit in their bed and look outside (they love that!).
    • A large horizontal prop-out door in the back walls, so that i can shovel the used bedding straight out to the compost-pile below the duck-house.
    • Nest-boxes or dividers.
    • A second level for brave ducks to walk on, maybe on top of the nest-boxes.
    There are many more pictures of the duck-platform available in my Duck-House album. Feel free to check it out! Very likely new pictures will be added there before i find the time to update this article.

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    About Author

    WannaBeHillBilly
    A German, living in the U.S.A. for over 10 years, first in the suburbs of Houston (TX), recently moved to Charleston (WV) to experience the much quieter and relaxed country life. I am working for a large company in the IT-business and taking care of our ducks is a very welcome diversion from the office-work and the traveling.

Recent User Reviews

  1. tlatham72
    "Very Enjoyable to Read"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed May 14, 2019 at 7:53 PM
    It put a smile on my face instantly. It was like ready a fairy tale. I love your duck house. I've been planning a chicken coop and run for a new house I just bought with my husband, but he wants 2 ducks also. So, I'm starting my duck research. :)
  2. ronott1
    "Excellent Article"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Mar 11, 2019
    WannaBeHillBilly likes this.
  3. casportpony
    "Great Article!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Feb 6, 2019
    Love the pictures too!
    WannaBeHillBilly likes this.

Comments

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  1. McChics
    Wow! This is an amazing home for your ducks! I wouldn't mind living in there!
      SailorNoMore likes this.
  2. Tevyes Dad
    Sehr Schön! Ihre Enten haben großes glück. :D
      casportpony and WannaBeHillBilly like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. WannaBeHillBilly
      Ich habe damals den »Civil Engineers« der U.S. Army AutoCAD beigebracht. Das waren noch Zeiten! MS-DOS, 640 KB Hauptspeicher und 5¼ Disketten. Und ich bin mit dem Zug von Brühl nach Grafenwöhr gefahren, 8 Stunden Fahrzeit…
    3. WannaBeHillBilly
      An einem Nachmittag durfte ich beim Übungsschiessen mit scharfer Munition zusehen. Erst waren die Deutschen dran:

      Alle Soldaten haben sich in einer Reihe aufgestellt, haben die Hände aufgehalten und ihre drei Patronen laut abgezählt bekommen - Eins,Zwei, Drei! Dann hat jeder Soldat seine drei Schüsse abgefeuert und das war es.

      Dann waren die amerikanischen Soldaten dran:
      Erst haben sie mehrere Kisten mit Muition vom Lastwagen geworfen, die Kisten mit einem Fußtritt geöffnet und sich ein paar Munitionsgurte über die Schultern geworfen. Dann haben sich Alle irgendwie in einer Reihe aufgestellt und losgeballert, bis von dem Ziel, ein altes Auto, fast nichts mehr übrig war.

      Mir hat die amerikanische Art zur Übung zu schiessen erheblich besser gefallen!
    4. Tevyes Dad
      Stimmt! unser Militär mag Kinoart schießen wie "Die Matrix" :lau
  3. SailorNoMore
    Thank you for showing and telling us about your project and allow us to follow you through the expansions and modifications. I hope your broken foot heals completely and sooner than later.
      casportpony and WannaBeHillBilly like this.
    1. WannaBeHillBilly
      With pleasure! Writing this article was satisfactory for me too, as i could recap from where i started and how the duckies live now.
      And yes, my foot is doing better every day, thank you for the well wishes!
      casportpony likes this.
  4. DuckyDonna
    what a great coop! I love it! It's like a little house. They just need a little kitchen and couch with a TV to be complete! This isn't where you fell is it? Sure doesn't look like rotten wood.

    I would definitely do a prop out window/wall when you replace the shade. That way you could keep them warmer in the winter and in the summer have lots of fresh air circulating through.

    Are you going to enclose the entire area with some kind of wire so that predators can't get in or am I just not seeing it? That wire you've got around your pile of hay is what I did my whole run in. You could staple it to your framing all around your house and nothing could get in (except a snake).
      casportpony and WannaBeHillBilly like this.
    1. WannaBeHillBilly
      Guess what: They have a radio already! (Courtesy of my wife.)
      No, the platform with the rotten floor is behind that large work platform, i will take a picture of it as soon as my left foot fits into my rubber boot again…
      I had exactly the same thought: Being able to open one or two walls in the summer for lot's and lot's of fresh air and have them closed in the winter for cozy warmth.
      The idea of that platform is being able to confine the birds to that platform for few days, when the weather is really bad or other circumstances require a duck-free environment.
      Do you think that 2x4 inch wire-mesh is good for any protection? The previous owners had left it behind and so far I have used it to protect the newly planted fruit trees against the WV deer.
      casportpony likes this.
  5. TropicalBabies
    I enjoyed your story and photo narrative/adventure. Those are some very lucky ducks, your life simplification and change sounds wonderful. Enjoy the adventure and please up date us. Alooooha! :D
      casportpony and WannaBeHillBilly like this.
  6. N F C
    Good job so far on the duck house! Hope you'll keep this updated with your progress. And I had to laugh about the upcoming 2019 ducklings...guess there is such a thing as duck math after all!
    1. WannaBeHillBilly
      casportpony and N F C like this.

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