Can you keep ducks without a fence?


13 Years
May 29, 2010
Elgin, TX
I have a low area that im thinking of making into a small pond about 20 feet wide by 20 feet wide. Maybe 3-4 feet deep. I don't mind a cute little picket fence around it but i'm not looking to build a completely closed in pen for ducks. I want to keep it open. I have chickens but no ducks. Is it possible to have ducks in fenced but open area ( i mean no ceiling) ?
you don't need to completely enclose it, like an aviary, depending on the breeds you want to keep, what predators you have around, and whether or not you want to clip. I do suggest giving them a duck house or houses, depending on how many hens you want. A safe place to lay eggs, brood, or simply get out of the wind is a must have.
If you have no top on it, then I recommend a strong fence. Ducks will wander and they are vulnerable to aerial attack so they need trees and shade, areas to hide. They will need a secure e house to be locked in at night.

If you put up a 3 sided fence, a pond and hope they do will eventually lose them. They need a secure enclosure to keep them where you want them to stay.
You should have your ducklings in a covered area until they are at least a month old. That is the most dangerous time for them when it comes to flying predators. Not so much of an issue when they are full size. My little 2 week ones are in an aviary but the 6 week and older ones are out.
Sometimes we can underestimate predator risks. I did some looking, and found that in my area we have coyotes, foxes, skunks, raccoons, possums, bobcats, possibly fishers, hawks, owls, and domestic cats and dogs. And rats. There are also black bears in the area - within a mile.

With a pond, there can be snapping turtles and large fish. Some areas have weasels.

What predators are in your area?
Wow this is a great sight. I'm always amazed at the great responses from everyone. Even if it's something i've already thought of it's nice to hear them back at me from someone else. Well I'm sure that when they are babies i'll keep them enclosed because i'll worry. I kept my chicks in the bathroom for several weeks before they went to their coop outside. I would think my predators are mostly hawks because i've seen them, but they haven't bothered my chickens and they have 24 hour access to a fenced run that is not covered. The same for raccoons and opossums. I know that they are there but they didn't bother them when they were young and i guess now they are too big. I do worry about neighborhood cats but i think my chickens are too old and too many ( i have 15). With ducks i only want a couple and not a large breed. I would definetly fence in the whole area and give them a protected nesting area but i really want to keep the top open. I'll just keep researching the breeds and see if this is reasonable or i'm just setting myself up for dissappointment, because i know if i lost one i would be devastated. I've not lost any of my chickens but every time one gets out or i can't find it for a few minutes i hate it. Thanks again if anyone has any suggestions i'd love it. I'd like to see more of the ponds people have for ducks. i was looking at one thread but it wasn't very long. we need a section like they have for coops.
I have 5 magpie and 2 buff unknown ducks, originally was going to pen them up at night in their house, but wound up just leaving them out since they prefer sleeping in the neighbor's open front shed under his tractor or when its chilly they will sleepin their 'house'. These guys are 16 weeks old about now and they've been out free ranging 24/7 for 8 weeks. They don't try to fly, they are content to run around from my yard to neighbors, come quacking at my door for treat times, and running away from the cats, and tattle telling all the newly free range chickens that there is free food at the corner of my house where I give the ducks treats.

I know we have hawks, theres owls about a half mile away in an old barn, raccoons, possums, and foxes as I've seen them all but between where I live now and where I lived a year ago (just 3 miles away) I hadn't lost any chickens or ducks to predators if I had them free ranging or in a coop and run without a top.

I know many will say I'm taking a big risk with not locking up my ducks at night and I absolutely should but they are ducks, and my ducks didn't seem appreciative of it at all and are much happier as they are. My neighbor has 4 guineas that stay loose ALL the time, and all 4 are 3+ years old. He's had chickens who some get penned up while others roost wherever cause they refuse to go back in pen and some of those chickens are 6+ years old.

Though I think for me the biggest predator deterrent are all the other large animals, a couple dozen hunting dogs near all the wooded areas in kennels (2 neighbors have about a dozen hunting dogs a piece) - hogs, and a goat pasture with a very mean billy.

really its up to you and what you want and are comfortable with doing.
I am one of those people who ultimately didn't lock up the chickens at night. I started out doing so for several months (we had two), but they started getting impatient at 6am so I connected a string from our bedroom window (second floor) to the door to their run, left the latch unlocked, and just pulled it open as soon as they started up. Then I figured I'd just leave it open. In three years we've never lost a chicken, rabbit, or duck to a predator, but we live in a neighborhood and seldom see any of the listed predators. Ironically, yesterday I was sitting looking at our ducklings when a shadow passed over, I looked up and saw a very large hawk fly over our house. It seemd to be heading somewhere rather than scouring the ground for food, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless. FWIW, we lock our mama and baby ducklings up every night, but dad stays out (because he's not a nice dad.....or partner).

I would definitely do everything I could to keep the ducklings safe, but I am one of those people that feels that a certain amount of freedom for the animals is a healthy thing. I try not to be stupid about it, but one bunny has been free-ranging (so to speak) for a couple of years, our chickens did so as well, and our adult ducks do (other than with the babies, which we try to supervise when they are out). Hopefully you'll find a set up that works.

Thanks so much for your feedback. It really helps me plan what will work for me. I think I'm really interested in runner ducks. They seem just ridiculous enough for me.

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