Cheap shelter my first sizable flock?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by G_Eig, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. G_Eig

    G_Eig Hatching

    Apr 25, 2019
    I've recently purchased my first real sizable flock from Metzers and TSC, I've got 2 female Rouens, 4 female Pekins, 14 female Campbells, and 5 male Campbells. I chose these ducks because I own a local bakery and will use the eggs in baking to supplement my needs there, and we have a local market for ducklings as well as meat that is locally grown to complement my locally grown garden and honey.

    I've owned 3 hens for about a year now and they have served my purposes for eggs so far, but I've needed to upgrade their run for a while now since were about a wind storm away from having no chickens. They currently have one of those small chicken tractor type coops from TSC and I've wanted to give them somewhere to stretch their wings for a while. I figured now would be a good time to finally build my 3 chickens and my eventual full grown ducks a decent dwelling. I read from metzers that ducks need about 4 sqft of housing per duck and that doubling that amount will allow for 50% better usage of their bedding, I've also read that chickens need about 75% of the space of ducks, so if my math is right, I will need somewhere around 218 square feet for my flock.

    I've looked just about everywhere for sheds, barns, coops, anything that could be used as a shelter and I am honestly not finding anything that isn't going to cost me several thousands of dollars if not over $10,00 in some cases. I've looked into building something myself but I'm no carpenter and even if i were a even slightly knowledgeable in any way, I wouldn't even know where to begin with finding blueprints or plans to build something sturdy and sustainable.

    I'm looking for something on the cheaper side, that will support a flock my size.
  2. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Conserve Heritage Breed Livestock

    Apr 11, 2016
    NW Missouri
    Old pickup bed toppers work well for ducks.
  3. Jpat

    Jpat Free Ranging

    Apr 30, 2018
    Nova scotia
    Youd be shocked how easy framming is, just make rectangles and throw studs in 16s on centre,

    Wall_Framing_Basics-main.png 550px-nowatermark-Build-a-Shed-Step-7-preview-Version-2.jpg

    you could cover it all in steel roofing panels. Its going to be cheaper but not cheap and alot of work

    Home depot sometimes has 8x8 and 10x10 steel sheds onsale for 700-1000$, and instead of building a deck under them you could put type 1 gravel down and plate tamp it and put sand over it...
    Youd need 2 for 25 birds though. mabye put them side by each with a door inbetween them

    Youve got yourself into a situation, theyr gonna grow fast!

    Goodluck i wish i had a good idea to help, Keep us updated and lots of pictures!
  4. Timothy Menezes

    Timothy Menezes Songster

    Nov 27, 2017
    Monterey, California
    Think there is a section on here somewhere that has allot of different designs people have come up with. Most are to fancy for my horrible carpentry skills. However it can be super simple, ducks especially don't need much. I just have one of those 10 x 10ish chain link fence type dog runs with a roof. They are way cheaper than a shed and frequently go on sale this time of year. Think Costco has a few models online if not in the store.
    quackiemama likes this.
  5. You can keep an eye out on Craigslist [or Freecycle if you have an active one near you] for building supplies, or even the fencing, which you can often get dirt cheap if they're used and being repurposed.

    The problem with chain link is that if you have even somewhat intelligent predators, they can cause real havoc with it. Chain link is big enough for things like racoons to get their front paws/hands into, and they can literally rip off limbs and drag them back through the fencing. So, for anything lower than 3 feet, you need a second fencing type to close those holes up, like 1" x 2" welded wire. As well, you might want to use 4 ft wire fencing, and bury a foot of it deep into the ground and then straight out, like an L, so it can be recovered with the dirt, and then things like foxes can't dig under it. So, chain link is a GREAT first defense, but not the only one one to use for keeping your flocks safe.

    Besides, if your flock were to hatch out any little ones, they can walk straight through the chain-link and seriously freak out mama hens. :eek::jumpy:eek:
    DKFarms and DuckyDonna like this.
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Personally I would not keep drakes with chickens, especially adolescent ones. They will often attempt to mate the chickens and being anatomically incompatible, it can lead to injury or reproductive infections, which can often prove fatal in hens. If you have enough female ducks it may not happen of course but better prevented than having to deal with sick hens. You may want to have a grow out pen for the surplus drakes where the males to be eaten are housed and fed separately as their dietary needs are different to the females. It seems to me that it is easier to construct several smaller coops than one large one and you often need separate coops for when birds are sick or brooding, or being aggressive etc.
    nightowl223, DKFarms and Miss Lydia like this.
  7. Timothy Menezes

    Timothy Menezes Songster

    Nov 27, 2017
    Monterey, California
    I agree, it would be better to house them separately. Especially since your going to have so many birds that your probably going to need 2 structures anyways. Just makes sense to have one duck house and one chicken house. Plus the layout will be different, hens will want raised perches and nest boxes. Ducks will want ground level nest boxes and no perches.

    The chain link fencing has worked great for chickens, but for ducks you would want to put about 3ft of 1/2 by 1/2 hardware cloth around the base. The reason is chickens are predator savy, and ducks are not. A duck will waddle over to the fat raccoon sitting outside to the chain link to check out the visitor and get his head pulled off.
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Hoop coops come to mind.
  9. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: