Duck coop... help and a question about running away

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by superchemicalgirl, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    Please help me with my duck coop. I've got 2 mallard x call crosses. This is my first time ever raising ducks. They're currently in a 3 x 4 foot coop that was built quickly out of scraps for adolescent geese earlier this summer. From what I've read on ducks seems like they don't really need a major enclosure like chickens do and prefer more open air. Is what I have ok? Any suggestions (besides clean the duck water... I do multiple times per day and I did less than 4 hours ago - they enjoy making me look like a liar).

    Inside:
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    Front:
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    Side1:
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    Side2:
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    Also, I want their "coop" to remain somewhat small so it's mobile(ish). I've been moving it every few days to a new spot of earth. I probably won't be able to do that in winter, though, once it's frozen to the ground.

    I also have a question about ducks and free ranging. I'm nervous to let them out of the coop because they still don't seem to like me very much (although they don't shriek in terror every time I come near now) and I'm worried because the reason I no longer have geese is because they ran away the second I let them out of their coop. I'm certain the ducks will do that, too. However, I'd like to (this spring) be able to use a large kiddie pool I have for the ducks. Obviously that is not going to fit in their coop or any mobile run I might construct in the future. Do ducks absolutely need a run? When do you know they're not going to run off?

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. AnnaLease

    AnnaLease Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think the coop looks fine, but maybe a little on the small side of things...?
    When I first let my ducks out of their pen I carried them to their kiddie pool and put them directly in the water. After a while they hopped out and started exploring, but they stuck around. They are easy to herd to bed at night. Also, I leave their food in the duck house and shut the door during the day, so they are hungry by bedtime. They have learned that supper is served in the duck house, so they go in when I open up the door (same for the chickens). Hope this helps.
     
  3. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bought a 300$ chain link dog run from lowes for my duck pen and I adore it. I actually used my 6ft horse fence as the back wall so I extended the square footage by quite a bit. I have plenty of space for the kiddy pool inside when I want to put it in. Ducky dinner is served in there about sunset and it only took two days for them to figure that fact out. Last night they were complaining because the entire bevy went inside looking for supper and I hadn't gotten to putting the food in yet! LOL They had a lot to say to me then.
     
  4. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    So... do your ducks "like" you? Mine scream if I try to touch them. They think I'm a terrible mother (although I do bring food that they accept). They won't get within about 2 feet of me though, distrustful little things.

    Maybe they need more time to warm up to me? I could certainly add some fencing to the back of the chicken fence but then it won't really be too mobile.
     
  5. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    I forgot I had this fence (it goes around my garden to keep chickens out). I put the garden away last week and saw it in my garage this afternoon. I think I put it to decent use short term for the ducks. I let Bert and Ernie out for about 20 minutes this evening and they had a blast in their new bigger pool but they did try to escape the run. Luckily they were too small to fit through the wires. I'll have to only let them out in it when I'm able to supervise since it's not very stable, but at least it's something.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    Your ducks will learn to trust you over time. The best thing to do is to feed them once in the morning and once in the evening in their pen/coop. I call my ducks when I do that (now they come running to see what I have!). I also call them to the back door and toss out handfuls of peas and corn. I recently decided to free range my ducks and it's been really easy. I'd clip their wings if I were you just to be safe. Put their pen in a place where you can herd them back in (a corner of the yard). If they have been used to their pen/coop, they'll probably return there when it starts to get dark. Also, keeping their food and their only source of water near or in their coop will ensure they won't go far. Just like chickens, it might be best to let them out a few hours before sundown for the first few days and work up from there when they start going to their coop on their own. The girls I got, had been free range 24/7 and put themselves to bed after the first night of being put there by me. They definitely appreciate a safe place to sleep at night.

    Oh and your ducks are cute little buggers! My ducks "like" me alright but don't like to be touched. They are, after all, prey animals. My boys that I raised from ducklings are easier to catch than the girls I bought as adolescents. The only reason the girls aren't totally afraid of me anymore is because the boys trust me and they trust the boys.
     
  7. Quackwacky

    Quackwacky Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:My ducks don't let me touch them. I don't think I have touched them in 5 months. I built a big coop since I have 8 and let them free range during the day. I put a cow bell on top of the container that I store their feed in so I would have to move it to feed them and now every time they hear that bell they come running for dinner. I fed them a little while right outside of their coop so they started acting like they didn't want to go in at night anymore and would fly away from me when I tried to make them, so I cut out the morning feed for a couple of days and by dinner time they were ready to go in [​IMG] I guess what I am saying is if your coop is mobile and it gets moved to far from what they are used to (and they don't want to be bff's like mine) you may have trouble getting them in at night. If they free range it won't need to be mobile, just safe.
    I haven't clipped mine and they take 2 flights a day lasting about 10-15 minutes each. They get out of sight, but always come home. How old are they? They look young enough now that they will feel safe there in a few days and won't want to roam to far. The more mature they get they will test their safety boundaries (they set for themselves). Good luck with them!
     
  8. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    Well the answer to "will they run away" is ... not yet.

    Burt & Ernie are very airborne. My boyfriend had a day off the other day and he emails me: "I think I just saw the ducks fly past out the window"

    Turns out, they're excellent fliers. That little green garden fence is no match for them. They fly high and long distances. However, they've remained in the yard. Now that winter's here (weather-wise not calendar-wise) I'm just going to give up on the little fence.

    It's easier for me, too, cause I get caught up in it trying to go over with full pans of water.
     
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Quote:Just to be on the safe side you might want to clip a wing, 1 on each bird it will keep them from flying and getting lost, which happens.
     
  10. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    Quote:What is the likelihood of that? I'm nervous that they'll be essentially "free range" from here on out and I want them to be able to fly away from predators. I'm pretty sure they can find their way back, I've got 40 chickens that love to play "dueling egg songs" ... and the ducks are obsessed with the chickens. .
     

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