Duck housing space? (And what sort of weather will make them stay in?)


One of the Shire-folk
12 Years
Apr 14, 2009
I've got some Ancona eggs in the 'bator right now, and although we were originally planning on partitioning part of the chicken coop off for the ducks, we're thinking now about building them a separate coop (is that what you call a duck house?
). But I'd like some advice on how much space ducks need. In the Storey's Guide, it says 2.5-6 sq ft if they're only in there at night, and 6-8 sq ft if they may be held in there continuously (during severe weather).

I sort of have a limited amount of space - I don't think we really want to build a gigantic coop in addition to my already pretty big chicken coop. But I don't want them to be cramped, and I want them to have enough space that it won't get filthy in there too quickly. The plan is for the ducks to have free-range whenever they're willing to go outside during the day, and shut in at night.

So, a couple of questions:

How much space do your ducks have? How much space would you recommend? (Right now my plan is to have a watering station (a waterer on wire over a pull-out drawer, in an enclosed, walled space) that's somewhat isolated from the rest of the house, to try to keep splashing/spills away from most of the bedding...if that makes a little difference for cleanliness, but maybe it doesn't.)

I live in MN, where it gets really cold over the winter - below freezing for 3-4 months straight, snow for about 5 months. Will the ducks go outside during the winter? I know my chickens refused to step outside their door during the winter - I think the snow freaked them out. If the ducks will go out, then I could hopefully go with a little less room, but will they?

After I thin the flock of excess drakes, my ducks will each have 3 ft2. I have Welsh Harlequins, though, which are a light breed. My coop is 5x7.5.

For now and until it starts getting dark at 5:30 again, my ducks all go out in pasture in the morning, and come in at dusk. Once the sun starts setting before I get home from work, I'll build them a secure day pen off the duck house for them to wander in and out of.

In a couple more weeks, I'll take the water out of the night pen and only give access outside. That will cut down considerably on the mess, and the amount of space needed.

Everything I've read says that ducks are not bothered overmuch by cold and snow. They are wearing down coats, and their feet do not feel the cold. I wouldn't put them in pasture during bitter cold, and I think you should provide them with a shelter in the pasture if you put them out in the winter. A 3 sided strawbale nook, topped with pine boughs or plywood, floored with straw should be enough, as long as you put them up before dark.

Good luck.
Cold never seems to phase my ducks much. They hunker down behind something that blocks the wind and tuck their feet up into their feathers... I've seen them "swim" in snow, strangest trail you will ever see cutting through a perfect snow blanket. Ducks and chickens are worlds apart when it comes to their attitude toward weather conditions in my experience. Don't make it more complicated for yourself than it has to be. As long as they have a safe place to sleep, plenty of water, a place that you feel is secure enough for their day time activities (however you plan to manage that be it completely free ranged or penned), and some feed the rest is gravy.
I have a 5x10 house for 5 ducks. Way more room than they actually need since they will only be in it overnight. Right now they still come in our house at night for a few more weeks. They also have two roof shelters in their yard. The one by the duck house is where their feed goes and we call it the Hospitality Tent. They have another roof shelter near their pool that we call the Cabana. They will use the Cabana when the sun is out and they are hot.

Right now it is pouring down rain and 54 degrees. They are all in their pool. Apparently they weren't wet enough.
Depends on what the flooring is. I have night pen with round rock I hose, The 9 Saxony and one goose are the most crowed at night ,right now at 5X8. I have to hose daily when I let them out. I put a nest box for eggs. I am going to move them and separate this summer.
It's all about how much work you want. And shavings or straw costs.$ I like rubber mats and rock as it can be hosed. I add a bin and straw in winter (Ga. mild) and for laying.
I often use leftover hay , from horses bale or leaves or pinestraw from my property.
Thank you all! Sorry I didn't get to responding until now.

I think I'm going to try to go for 3-4 sq ft for each bird. I'll let them outside whenever they like, and hopefully they'll go out in our snow during the winter, too. They'll be on wood shavings (at least that's the plan). And I'm going to try to keep the water as contained as possible. We'll see how that goes.


New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom