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duck house: ventilation vs insulation?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by hfchristy, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. hfchristy

    hfchristy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We're trying to build the duck house this week. I think we know what we're doing for the basic frame, but wondering about windows, insulation, and the rafters.

    We live in western NY, so winters can get pretty cold, and summers can get pretty hot - though the intended location for the house is shaded.
    The Storey book talks about the value of insulating the duck house to extend egg laying farther into the cold months, but I've also come across posts and articles lately saying that a LOT of ventilation is ideal - as in, don't even bother with the fourth wall! Unfortunately, I didn't actually read the articles, just the titles, so I don't know what the justification is or how sound the idea may be. So confused.

    We're working out the details of the roof, and realizing that, of course, between the rafters there's a big ole gap between the roof and walls. Do I try to seal that up tight? Put up more hardware cloth? Figure that it's high enough that raccoons can't reach in and pull out a duck, so not worry??

    Do I need to have a vent at the top anyway?

    Should I insulate the roof? How about the walls? If I do insulate, does that mean that I need an internal wall, too, or are there some types of insulation that wouldn't need that?

    Are windows recommended? If I don't give them any source of light, will they sleep in? 'They're in our attached garage right now, with a west-facing window, and when they start squawking in the morning, we hear them before the neighbors. I'm a little worried that if they have screened windows, they'll be noisy earlier AND that attached garage will buffer us from the noise, but not the neighboring houses.

    Thoughts??
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    My runners did not thrive below 35F, so they have a pen in the walkout basement, where it stays above 40F all year. This also helps on wicked hot days, as I bring them in midday if I feel they are too hot. Yup, I spoil them. Happily. Unashamedly.

    So, they have an outdoor house, that is a 4'x8', 4' high double-walled plywood box. I used vermiculite and perlite as insulation because they do not mold and mold is bad for ducks. They also do not gas off if there is a fire, unlike styrofoam insulation.

    All gaps are covered with 1/2 inch metal hardware cloth. Raccoons climb, as do other predators. For roofing, I have corrugated panels, one in the center is clear, the others on the sides are smoke colored. That lets in light.

    At the top of the house, I installed plexiglass drop ceiling panels that can slide to open up and let in more air in warmer weather, or seal off the top in colder weather. It helps keep the house warmer. I also sprung for an indoor-outdoor thermometer, and placed a sensor inside the duck house to monitor the temperature in there.

    I use a variation of deep litter, with a foot and a half of pine shavings and that insulates the bottom pretty well. I just stir it daily when the ducks are sleeping outside.

    I covered the bottom of the house with vinyl sheet flooring that goes up the walls several inches and attached 1"x3" furring strips at the edges to keep poop from going behind and under the sheet flooring.

    That also helps keep the structure dry, and is easy to clean when necessary.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
    This may give you an idea of what I am writing about.
     
  4. hfchristy

    hfchristy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, the rafter gaps are screened, but not blocked off? And then you added an optional ceiling below that?
    Is that right?
     
  5. hfchristy

    hfchristy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What kind of predators am I trying to keep from getting in the roof-level gaps?
    I know that raccoons can climb, but can they squeeze through such a small opening? I know that crazy small openings are raccoon hazards, but I thought that was because they'd reach in through them and pull the bird close enough to eat through the wires. Since the ducks are several feet shorter than the wall, that particular scenario isn't likely.
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Southern New England
    We have a list of predators here that includes

    raccoons
    coyotes
    foxes
    bobcats
    fishers
    domestic cats
    domestic dogs
    hawks

    and more of concern for eggs or ducklings

    crows
    skunks
    opossums

    If you are in an area where weasels or minks may be around, I am told anything larger than half an inch gap may let them in. The forum recently heard from someone who housed their ducks in a shelter that had a gap at the top of the wall, just several inches wide, and something got in, killed the ducks, and scaled the wall to get back out.

    I will look for the photo's I have of the hardware cloth on the rafters. I have hardware cloth over all openings except the doors, and the duck door opens to the veranda, the attached porch, and that has hardware cloth top, bottom and sides.

    This summer I have kept the ducks in the walkout basement pen at night because I wanted to shore up the electric fence system and have not done it yet, just too many other things going on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Here is how I put the hardware cloth in under the roof and between the roof and the tops of the walls.

    Since then, I put 2"x4"s along the tops of the walls and laid the plexiglass panels on top of them, to increase insulation without cutting out light.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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  9. bornfree

    bornfree Out Of The Brooder

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    ventilation is very much needed I made 2 triangle size windows on my duck house about 1 foot In size depending on the size of yourduck house make sure it has shuters so for windy and snowy days your able to close them a bit I just built a dog house and made lil ones on the triangle sides one 2 foot door on ine side ad one 1 foot door in the other the 2 ft one is to be able to clean the duck house the other is for the ducks to get out jnto the duck pen but again when it gets real cold I brig them jnto the basement where its about 30 degrees they doing fine
     
  10. bornfree

    bornfree Out Of The Brooder

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    Windows are not recomende jless you wanna xolect eggs you place the nesting box ear to the bak and make a window for axes if you have ventilatik commig through the rafters you will eed to block that off and just use a heat lamp for real cold daysly I
     

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