Coop design struggles!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Boshaft, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. Boshaft

    Boshaft Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 27, 2012
    I drew a picture of the birds eye view of my house; it's not to scale but captures the general layout:
    [​IMG]

    I'd like to have the coop about where the slab is, so should I use it to separate the water from the dirt, hopefully cutting down on the mud, or should I have it flush with the fence, so less mud overall gets tracked inside (by putting the entrance ramp as far away from the water as possible?) Currently the fence and deck are joined at the low tide waterline with a wooden lattice, with about 3"x3" holes (I think it's http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs...&productId=202297463&R=202297463#.UN2gGHfyRiM) - do I need to cover it up with something smaller? Currently there are swarms of minnows that pass through, especially at high tide, which I'm sure the ducks will love, but I don't want one to get it's head stuck underwater.


    Has anyone used Tenax for flooring (http://www.homedepot.com/buy/tenax-3-ft-x-15-ft-black-hardware-net-751397.html#.UN2hK3fyRiM)? I'm thinking that I could put that as the flooring, then have a sheet of plywood about 2 inches underneath it, angled downwards so I could just spray the poop down and out. Rust is a huge problem, so avoiding metal would be a big plus too! If I make the width of the house about 3 feet, with 1 foot of walkway and 2 feet of nests, so that I could reach over the walkway to remove eggs, will the birds poop on the walkway or not really care? I'd only have one nest per bird, so hopefully they all be occupied when the birds were locked up. It would also mean that I could add on more length along the fence line if I wanted more birds.

    One last question - how tall should the coop be? I'm guessing 3-4 feet minimum, is more better?


    Thanks for all the help!
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Boshaft,

    [​IMG]

    Great sketch! I need to think about this a bit, probably post more than once . . . .

    I am not used to living on the water, so forgive my ignorance. What is going to happen when there is an unusually high tide?

    I agree staying away from metal is a good idea. What kind of fasteners can you use?

    My runners are not prone to use nests I provide for them. They like to make their own, though they did once use a nest box I provided. Good that you are thinking in terms of how you will be affected by the layout. [​IMG]

    Do you have (or can you get) a copy of Storeys' Guide to Raising Ducks? It has good guidelines for designing and building shelters and pens.

    Another question is, are there alligators in your area and how would you keep them away? Hope that is not a concern....

    You have asked very good questions. I agree the possibility of a duck getting its head stuck is real. It is not necessarily logical, but my runners have had some of the most illogical troubles, especially when they were young adults. Oh, the stories . . .

    But back to your setup. Ducks produce quite a bit of good fertilizer. I would rather see it going onto soil than into water. Have you thought of providing freshwater bathing?

    Perhaps we need to back up... What kinds of ducks are you planning?
     
  3. Boshaft

    Boshaft Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    So part of my plan would be where the ducks will go in case of a storm. I have a shelter in our walkout basement. We need shelter from cold, wind, and extreme heat. The ducks are really pretty easy to care for.

    Have you considered growing some of your bedding? A number of grasses grow pretty easily and you don't need to let them get to seed maturity to use them for bedding. Since I am not familiar with the plants in your area I'll let you think over that idea. Coir might be a possibility?

    I like Mazuri feed. I also like supplementing with various protein and vitamin-rich things, worms, mealworms, cat kibble, leafy greens, peas. I have not found inexpensive feed online, no. I am distant from sources, so shipping fees can double the price of the feed, for me.

    I am still not sure that duck behavior will line up with your nest/crate idea. With my runners, I go free-form and it works. They do seem to like corners for laying, 70% of the time.

    Sound like some nice breeds you are considering. I think Storey's Guide has a section on keeping domestic ducks in a saltwater environment. You may be able to find that book online with some limited access.

    In New England, inland, metal hardware cloth is great for reducing predator risk. Where you are, I suppose the extra initial expense of coated half inch metal hardware cloth might be worth it.

    Iguanas. Right. Here it's raccoons, coyotes, foxes, hawks, owls, cats, dogs, fishers, bobcats.
     
  5. Boshaft

    Boshaft Out Of The Brooder

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    Coconuts are a dime a dozen around here, and people are always trying to get rid of them, so that sounds like a great idea!

    I can't find any examples of people even trying to "box train" ducks, but I think it's worth trying. Even if they don't take to the boxes I'll just be out a couple pieces of scrap wood.

    I searched (Through Amazon) for the word "sea" in the book, and it just said to make sure they have sweet fresh water availible. This matches up with other things I have read, in that ducks can regulate the amount of salt in their systems by drinking more or less water.

    Here's Stanley, the largest iguana who hangs out around the neighborhood, perched on my neighbors' parrot cage:
    [​IMG]
    IIRC, he's just about 5' from head to tail. He was the only orange iguana when we moved in last year, with all the other being green/black, but he got lucky with the ladies:
    [​IMG]

    I don't think they will be a problem, since their shoulders are too big when they hatch to fit through the hardware net.

    Thanks for all the help!
     

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