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Critique my coop design

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by QuackyMomma, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. QuackyMomma

    QuackyMomma Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm new to the world of ducks and chickens. I bought 2 chickens (isa brown) and a pekin duckling a couple of weeks ago. They're growing and I now moved them outside, where I placed a coop and built them a run. The coop was purchased from ebay and was really really cheap... which is proving to be an issue. The run is built from plastic stakes and some plastic wire and does the job rather well.
    So my next hobby project is to build a perfect coop for both the duck and the chickens. It has to to be capable of providing suitable housing conditions for 2 chickens and 2 ducks (the duck is possibly getting a buddy... but don't tell my husband :)
    Some of the problems with the current coop:
    • not enough space for my flock when they are fully grown
    • when it rains/is very humid, the structure expands and it's hard to open doors
    • not enough space for feeder and waterer - I want to suspend these off the ground and within the coop to deter other animals
    • no nest boxes
    • ladder too the coop seems a bit challenging for the duckling, too steep
    • not enough shade

    I created a draft design for the new coop. It's 2m wide, 1.2m high and 1m deep. Width is fixed as this is the max width I can make it to fit into the designated spot in the backyard, height and depth can possibly be bigger. I wanted to make the living area high enough so that I can hang the food/water bowl underneath if possible. The ladder is currently placed against the entrance at 34.2 degree angle. Entrance dimensions are 0.3m x 0.25m (width x height). Two nest boxes proposed, dimensions 0.4m wide, 0.3m deep, 0.3m high. Not sure how to design the door mechanism, eventually I want to install automatic door opener.

    Here are some pictures of the draft plan. I created the design using google sketchup and had lots of fun learning how to use the software. This is just an idea for the coop design, I can pretty much change anything based on your suggestions, so please help me create the perfect duck/chook coop with your input. I'm not yet sure who will build the coop for me. I might do it myself or get someone else to build it for me, so planning is essential.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    • Do you think it's big enough overall?
    • Are two nest boxes enough?
    • Are the nest boxes large enough?
    • Do you think the entrance ramp is too steep?
    • Is the entrance big enough?

    I'm open to any suggestions. Another idea I had was to forget about having food/water underneath the coop, but rather make it a 2-level design. Upstairs for chickens, downstairs for ducks but it seems the duck would not be happy with the separation.
     
  2. billw

    billw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is it your intention for the ducks to live under the coop? I'm not sure that they will go up a ramp when fully grown. They would probably prefer to be out in the elements anyway though.
     
  3. QuackyMomma

    QuackyMomma Out Of The Brooder

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    At the moment the duck follows the chickens... so if they go inside, she follows them, if she wants to hide, she'll run up the ramp. Clumsy when going up, tumbles when going down. Current ramp is too narrow and too steep for her. If I make the ramp slope at a more suitable angle and wider I think she wouldn't have any issues with it. So that's my question - how wide and at what angle?

    Alternative is to house the duck underneath the coop... but like I said. She wants to be with the chickens so I'm not sure she'd be happy with that.

    The coop is for night time and bad weather. During the day they're in the backyard.
     
  4. tajuano

    tajuano Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My ducks never had any problem going into the coop, chicken coop that is. I was so surprised myself when I found my ducks coming out, never suspected that they can go in, and it is not low off the ground. I guess not all of the ducks would do it, and you have to have ramp that is flat with the boards across it. I have read somewhere that is the trick, good ramp that would support their feet. But the plan of your coop looks more like a chicken coop, maybe make it a little lower, so it would not be so high of the ground.
     
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    The ramps always worry me, i know i have seen videos of others ducks managing them, mine were never able too, we made that mistake when we first got ducks and they couldn't get into their home. [​IMG]

    Where will you put the water for the duck? it will need water deep enough to dunk it's head, so keep the placement of it in mind, that area will get wet, most ducks do a drink/bathe in bucket combo lol so splashing occurs.

    If the duckling only has the chickens, no it would not be happy with the separation.. too throw another wrench at you(sorry lol) have you thought of what happens if this duckling is a drake? or are you certain it's a female? drakes and chickens can be a deadly combo. Especially, if the drake has no ducks of his own.

    I'm terrible with measurements and so forth but i know pekin are big ducks, i have Muscovy here, they take quite a bit of room.. always going bigger is good, even if you don't fill it.. the extra space allows you and the birds some wiggle room.

    Will they come out of this penned area? i am not sure that will be large enough especially for a big breed like pekin, what about a pool for the ducky? he'll need at least a basin.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  6. QuackyMomma

    QuackyMomma Out Of The Brooder

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    At the moment I use a combination of 2.5L waterer and a basin for water. The duck loves the basin of course and she "washes" her food in it. I'm a bit careful with the basin though, cause I nearly had one of the chooks drown in it a couple of days ago. I think the way to go in the future will be to buy one of those automatic waterers that connects with the tap/garden hose, the kind they use for horses.

    They come out of the penned area. I have fenced off part of the backyard for them so they have more space, approx 10 square metre area. I will increase this as they grow bigger. For now I have them contained in this area next to the house so that I can keep an eye on them during the day.

    Fingers crossed it's not a drake... but if it is, then we have a couple of options: trade for a female duck, have crispy duck for dinner or get a female companion + build separate coop & run.

    Pool/pond for the ducky is going to be a large plastic basin for now, another option is a kiddie pool at the back of the house or building an actual pond.

    Is anyone able to answer those questions for me?
     
  7. billw

    billw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not to live in full time, but as a night enclosure, certainly.

    Not sure, never having kept chickens and ducks together. I suspect that they will not want to share.

    At 30x40cm, I would be surprised if the chickens would share a box. So, if you plan to have three birds laying at the same time, either another box or bigger boxes would make more sense.

    Any ramp may be too steep for a duck. Keep in mind that they are a bit more agile when they are young. Or, it might be fine.

    I wonder if 25cm is tall enough. I'd go to 35 if there is the possibility that you'll have a big drake.
     
  8. QuackyMomma

    QuackyMomma Out Of The Brooder

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    Please excuse if the questions about nest boxes are stupid... I have no idea how egg laying works.
    If I only had chickens - would I need a nest box for each chicken or would 2 chickens share a nest?
    Similarly, if I only had ducks, would two ducks share a nest? Or do I need a nest box for each bird?

    I was under the impression that 2-3 birds could share a nest box. I imagine that in the morning they'd go in the box, lay an egg then go about their business. If they'd all happen to lay an egg on the same day, they'd wait for one of the nests to become available... like... queue for a nest :) How long does it take them to lay an egg? Do they not just go in the nest, plop the egg out in a couple of minutes and then go out?
    The duck is imprinted on the chickens if that helps, the imprint seems quite firm.

    Entrance increased to 0.35m height
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  9. billw

    billw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ah - I was thinking that you might be letting them go broody. If they are just egg depositories, I think it should be fine.
     
  10. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    It's something along the lines of one nest box per every 4 chickens. We made ours too large, it could easily divide into 3 but we decided to leave it, the girls caught us off guard by laying sooner than we expected, so now it's this fairly large box, they just lay to each side, works fine for ours. To actually lay an egg? doesn't usually take that long, i have been present the odd time for it.

    Ducks don't use nest boxes usually, even my muscovy don't UNLESS they go broody then they want something a bit more private. I also think the egg laying in the morning is a myth perhaps it just because my chickens are young but i have ones laid in my run often(they are removed from the coop by late morning)
     

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