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Duck Housing Question

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by courtcourt, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. courtcourt

    courtcourt Hatching

    Jan 24, 2011
    Soddy-Daisy, TN
    The husband and I are new to ducks, having picked up our first two ducklings at TSC this weekend. We're planning on getting their outside home put together pretty quickly (since everything we've read says they'll be out of the brooder way faster than the chicks, and since I'm on brooder cleaning duty, that's fine with me!)

    But we've noticed that lots of you have just a fenced in area with a dog house-type structure. A lot of them don't have anything on top. We're just confused - if it's a fenced in, topless area with an open dog house, how do predators not get them?

    We were thinking of doing a fenced in run area (with hardware cloth and at least partially roofed with netting of some sort on the exposed part) in addition to the actual duck hut and a small pond. We were planning on letting them free range when we are home. Now, after spending a weekend looking specifically at everyone's duck homes, we've seen very few with the setup we were planning on, and we're wondering if our planned structure is overkill.

    We have seen possums and deer (I'm assuming the latter won't be a big deal) around our house, and have the occasional snake. That doesn't mean that there aren't racoons and other stuff out there though, we just haven't ever seen them.

    Help a newbie out?

  2. Lovely Emily

    Lovely Emily Chirping

    Mar 25, 2012
    Predators aren't as melitious as some think. There isn't a predator at every corner of a yard waiting to prey. Ducks should be fine if they are on there pond - there is nothing except Ospreys and Eagles that will attack anything on water. Once, I had a Goshawk attack on my ducks, and it didn't notice that they were swimming in a small pool - as soon as it got a little water splashed on it, it retreated - no blood was drawn from anything. Possums and Racoons could be a mess to ward of, but, again, they aren't anything of a water predator. I free range my ducks constantly from dawn-dusk, whether or not I'm home. They can be trusted as long as you spend about a week at first teaching them to go in their house at night. I personally imprint the bevy (a bevy {bevies} is a group of ducks) onto a good rooster, and he will herd them and treat them like a collective member of his flock.
    you basically have nothing to worry about in the daytime. As long as you put them in at night in a very sound duck house. Try and make a latch or lock that a raccon couldn't figure out, and they will be safe.
    I don't know where you've been reading that ducks are quicker growing than chickens, but that is a very... unsound... statement. For one thing, there is a huge range - just like in chickens - of growth rates in ducks. Do not move them out when a pamphlet tells you to - just use good judgement. Wait until they have their juvenile feathering, then they'll be good to go out. This is when they begin growing feathers and real feather predominate fluffy down. It would help if you know what breed(s) you have.

    Welcome to BYC! Have fun with your new duckies!

  3. Srbenda

    Srbenda In the Brooder

    Jun 9, 2009
    Our ducks free range all day, and come home to their house every single night. The house is completely secure, and has a ramp and a latched door.

    That being said, it two very frustrating weeks of herding the ducks from the pond, and the yard to get them into the habit of coming home. However, once it was done, it was a non-issue. At dusk every day they come home.

    We have not had many issues with predators in the day time, although we did have a bald-eagle attempt one day, and we did have a fox attack after dark.
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    We have opted for secure night time housing and daytime free ranging. We have no ponds here only kiddy pools but I do leave my ducks full flight.

    They usually come around the barn by dusk and require a quick herd in. As for predators we have quite a few here but the main worry is when it's dark, hence our practice of locking them up at night. The barn has wire covered windows and we use a padlock on the door. It has a solid wood floor too.

    I think you have to evaluate what your predator risk factor is and how you want to keep your ducks in general.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  5. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    How secure your housing needs to be depends upon what local predators you have. It also depends upon how you feel about losing the occasional bird to be someone's lunch.

    I have very low tolerance for loss of my birds. I'm fond of my birds and I am not raising them to feed the local wildlife. Therefore, my pens and runs are very secure and designed to foil the predators that I have locally.

    I am vaguely amused (but not much) by the people who don't have predator issues that are happy to assure that there is no reason to worry about predators. If you have predators in your area and you are not willing to donate birds to feed the wildlife, then build yourself some secure runs.

    Predators will take ducks off water. Raccoons are great swimmers. Otters will eat the occasional duckling, Several different birds of prey can lift a duck off of water. Dogs, foxes, and coyotes can all swim. Snapping turtles kill a lot of ducks if you are unfortunate enough to have snappers in your area. Bobcats are known to wade out, at least as deep as their elbows.
  6. Lovely Emily

    Lovely Emily Chirping

    Mar 25, 2012
    Otters? Hhmm. Never had otters here. I guess I am thinking in a little box. Muskies and Largemouths have been known to take ducklings, too, so stock your pond with brook trout instead. :p
  7. Dez

    Dez In the Brooder

    Apr 18, 2011
    We just got two ducks as well (Pekins) and they are growing very very fast. I was hoping I could keep them in my yard in the day and close them up at night. Our yard has a 3 foot tall fence all around. We have plans to build a small duck pond but in the meantime they will have a pool.

    Last week our dogs flushed out a raccoon that was hiding under the porch at 5:30 pm. The sun was still up and there was a raccoon in the yard!! There went all my hopes of having the ducks play in the open yard all day unattended. Day or night something can get them.

    We have Raccoons and Bobcats.. not to mention Eagles and Hawks..

    sigh [​IMG]

  8. glowworm2011

    glowworm2011 In the Brooder

    Aug 19, 2011
    North Carolina
    We have racoons, opossums and occasionally coyotes, bobcats and foxes where I live. I let my ducks into a yard where the fence is 5-6" high all around during the day and have had no major problems, I have not seen any of these predators since I got my ducks a year ago (of course I know that doesn't mean they are not there), a couple of the neighbors cats did get in but they did not seem interested in the ducks, but rather in their feed bowl.

    Also we have a lot of small hawks, so until they were too big for them I put the ducklings in a smaller fenced area inside the main fence that I could keep covered. The hawks came, checked them out, and flew away when they realized they could not get through. But if I had not secured them with a cover I'm sure they would've been hawk lunch :(

    They have a garden pond, but I do not expect that to protect them. At night they go into a very secure coop.

    I've heard that running orange or red streamer ( I'm guessing the ones that have flags, like what they sell at party supply stores) along the top of your fence can discourage predators, flying and climbing, so I'm going to get some. But if you can cover you entire enclosure then I say "go for it!". Better safe than sorry.

    Also be sure that nothing can dig under. I have two layers of woven wire fence. one from the ground up, and another that turns out at the bottom about 1 1/2 ' to make it harder for any predator that might try to dig. Also the floor of my coop is paved, so nobody can dig through that.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  9. Homeof7Heavens

    Homeof7Heavens In the Brooder

    Dec 7, 2011
    I, too, just acquired my first two ducklings from TSC. I've been raising chicks for the last year and found out the hard way that we had weasels. My first 25 were attacked at 3 months old and all but one were killed. Since then, we added 4 hens to the flock which have hatched two batches since then. We are up to 11 grown and 6 chicks. The ducklings are currently in a large pen with the baby chicks. One side of the pen is bedded with hay and the other side with pine shavings (easier to clean up the splash from the waterers). We have an acre size (maybe a little larger) pond that currently attracks wild ducks and occasionally Canada geese. We are near a wildlife area (a few miles up the road).

    My chickens free range and roost in the barn at night. The pen we had them in last year (where the weasel attack happened) we plan on securing so that we can try to get them back in there this summer. They're a mess in the barn! :-(

    But, what should I do with Cuddles and Waddles?
  10. MamaDuck1

    MamaDuck1 Chirping

    Mar 24, 2012
    I have a dog run for my duck but im not using it until i get it covered. Theres a guy i know with a full grown duck and he chases off a hawk in his backyard often. Not too long ago, he heard his duck in distress... He ran outside and had to pry the hawk off of her. The hawk bit him all over his hands and drew a lot of blood. Where i live, the skies are crawling with hawks. Not taking any chances! I just bought a smaller chicken coup from TSC for now. Donegan is my baby, though. Even the birds nesting in the area is a problem. The swoop down and attack him.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012

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