Advice Needed on Housing 4 Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Bakinbaker, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. Bakinbaker

    Bakinbaker Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2012
    Yukon, OK
    Finally joined today after weeks reading a lot of posts about ducks.

    We have two 5-week old ducklings (1 Jumbo Pekin and 1 Fawn and White Runner) and two 2-week old ducklings (1 Jumbo Pekin and 1 Black Swedish). We live in a small house (for now) with a small backyard of only 20' x 40' of space. We have neighbors on all sides and 6' high wood fence all around too.

    We do live close to a tree line and I'm concerned about daytime hawks and nighttime owls, of which we have both around. I haven't noticed raccoons around but there are also dogs on all sides of us and we have 2 ourselves however they are not always outside and none out at night for the most part.

    We were recently hit hard financially and can't afford a nice coop for a while and I'm wondering what I should do in the meantime.

    Should they be allowed to roam the small yard during the day and just have a place to go at night?

    How big/old do they have to be before hawks aren't an issue?

    Right now the older 2 are in a rabbit hutch with a bottom enclosed box but they're almost too big to get down in the hole for it (well at least the Pekin is).
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    A number of forum members have found things through Freecycle and neighbors and friends.

    I would say err on the side of caution. Many things like duck dinner, and ducks can get themselves into trouble, as well.

    Nighttime is especially dangerous for unprotected ducks, but a neighbor of mine, years ago, lost a duck in broad daylight to a fox. We live in suburbia, at the edge of some state forest.

    You are right to be concerned about hawks, especially for younger ducks.

    Do you have a walkout basement? I do, and there is enough room there next to my laundry nook to have an indoor pen roomy enough for my ducks. I keep them there at night, and during big storms. Once I had to be away for the day when the day pen was not usable, and we had neighbors come over and take the ducks out for a couple of walks during the day. They were fine, just a little bored.
     
  3. Bakinbaker

    Bakinbaker Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2012
    Yukon, OK
    As I'm sitting here I'm looking out and wondering how difficult it might be to convert one of our 5' x 5' raised beds (formerly for vegetable gardens) to a predator-proof "coop" with an attached day run to it? Hmmm...
     
  4. CalBells

    CalBells Chillin' With My Peeps

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    San Francisco East Bay
    We built our predator proof night time coop by enclosing the area under our back stairs. It works very well and wasn't too expensive because we just had to buy a couple of sheets of plywood, some hardware cloth and a bucket of paint. Our girls walk from the coop to the daytime run each morning and evening, my 5 year old daughter herds them as her chores. Our daytime run is our existing fence and two dog exercise pens. It is not very secure, but our yard is enclosed, so safe from neighborhood dogs, the run is completely shaded by two fruit trees, so hopefully safe from hawks and we live in an urban area with no real daytime predators. Lots of crows in our neighborhood help keep away any hawks that think of coming around. Plenty of Raccoons though so a safe nigh-time coop is a must!

    Our daytime run. This is when it was still covered with plastic chicken netting. We had that up when the girls were small to protect them from flying predators. Now that they are bigger, the trees are protection from anything big enough to attack them. The netting is only left over their tub, where there wasn't enough tree cover. It was too hard to clean with the netting. We have also switched from Hay to Gravel for their flooring.

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    Coop built under the stairs. The opening you can see between the porch and the first step is covered in hardware cloth, as is the large window on the door. (not shown)

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    Hope this was of some help. I know a lot of people build coops out of pallets, which you can usually find for free. They might be a good choice for you. Our yard is also quite small, so we wanted our coop to have no footprint, and the ducks are great at being herded from coop to run each morning and evening, but it does mean we need to be home, or get a neighbor (my mom lives next door!) to put them in their safe coop each evening before dusk when the Raccoons come out to play.
     
  5. Bakinbaker

    Bakinbaker Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2012
    Yukon, OK
    Our 2 older girls (6 weeks tomorrow) have been going outside during the day for the last 4 days. The LOVE it! There's not official cover for them but they generally sit on the patio, under one of the Adirondack chairs. They wander around every so often for a drink, or to eat grass and bugs. They don't seem bothered by the neighbor's dogs anymore either. I check on them every 30 min or so and I'm not too afraid of any hawks right now after noticing the GIANT crows we have lately - also since the girls are sitting under that chair for the most part they seem to be fairly well hidden from overhead predators.

    We bring them in at night for a bath and snuggles though. I'm working on getting the garage set up so they can go in there at night - the massive amount of poop on my living room carpet is seriously bugging me each morning.
     
  6. HauiBali

    HauiBali Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 1, 2012
    Kecskemét, Hungary
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    Dear Bakinbaker,

    I built this house for my 5 runner from used EU-pallets, flooring is made from washable leftover plastic floor-tiles. Except the nails'n'bolts, the iron joints and the limepaint it was made entirely from junk I found around. The picture is taken in summer, now the house has a deep straw bedding. The run is not closed on top as we do not have daytime predators here, except gangs of crows now that winter came.
     
  7. dennin7418

    dennin7418 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2012
    Sterling, MA
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    This picture was before I added ventilation to the top sides of the hut (floor registers). The rear has a door to get in to clean it and get eggs. It's not the biggest inside but I can get in with a shovel and almost stand. I'm in the process of making more fence panels at higher heights. Oh and currently I have wire over the top but am looking for a better and more secure way to finish it off.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012

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