1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

duck pens

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by lovesduckies, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. lovesduckies

    lovesduckies Bedroom Farm Inc.

    Jan 11, 2010
    the ducky room
    Hello fellow duck lovers. I need your help. We are moving to Norco (i hope) Ca. which is aka horse country. My dad seems to think that we can let the ducks loose and they won't fly away and they will be safe at night.. so I need your help convincing him otherwise. I have told him over and over again I am not comfy leaving them able to fly. I want to clip wings or have a covered area for them which we have now. He said he feels bad keeping them penned up. I told him we can let them free range during the day and pen them up at night. He's still not agreeing with me and he's frustrating me. So what do you do with your ducks? We need ideas. Thanks [​IMG] and also I need you guys to scare him into penning them up at night. There is no way I am going to let them roam around at night. That's crazy to me.

  2. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    Jan 11, 2010
    There are two recent threads on hear about people loosing their ducks- show him those threads and let him read about how it happened. Show him the pests and predators pages as well. Try and find photos of bobcats or coyotes that people have shot or trapped because they were killing poultry.

    Or else you can trap a possum...and put it in bed with him and see how he fairs.. [​IMG] Im sure after that- he will know that the ducks need protection from such animals and will be happy to build a nice safe enclosure for them at the new house.
  3. Carol_af

    Carol_af Chirping

    What breed of ducks do you have?

    I keep Indian Runner and Campbell ducks, both flightless domestic breeds. My Indian Runners and Campbells are free range all the time, but my home is in a remote rural area and the property is fully enclosed with fairly high cyclone fencing. There are no cats in the vicinity and local farm dogs and dingos cannot get in. Main predators in the district are snakes and birds of prey. I keep ducklings in a roofed enclosure (chicken wire roof with a section covered in tent material for weather protection - I'm in the tropics) until they are big enough to venture out and are too big and heavy for an owl or kite to pick up. In my vicinity they would be more likely to be taken by a python at night with no means of escape if housed in a coop. Being free range they can, and do, run away from snakes. (As do I!)

    My only experience with ducks with flying ability were Muscovies. They were too agile for me to catch and I only managed to clip the wings of two. If they can fly, they will. I had the unfortunate experience of trying to keep them on the property. With all the grass, bushes, pond and food provided, everything a duck could want, the cane field across the road must have just looked bigger and juicier than all the food in the yard. They would perch on the fence, then fly off into the cane field. Unfortunately two were taken by farm dogs. They literally bit their tails off. The birds must have turned to run or fly away and the dog caught them by the tail, not just feathers, but flesh too, and they suffered horrible injuries from which they died. I gave the rest of the muscovy flock away to someone who could house them more securely than could I, and I now only keep flightless breeds.

    Hope this provides you with a logical argument to put to your dad. It is always best to look at the pros and cons of your particular situation - local wildlife and district predators, whether an enclosure will provide protection - from what type of predator, or will it be a trap from which the predator can select its meal.

    Here is my solution to an enclosure versus free range:
    I do have a solid roofed shade house in which my ducks can rest if they choose. The entrance to which is permanently open but I dug out the soil and fibreglassed a pond right across the entrance. Predators usually will not cross water, especially if they do not know how deep it gets. The pond has chicken wire along both sides for about 60cm (2 ft) in width and going up to the height of the shade house roof. There is a garden arch at the entrance to the shade house, over the pond. Chicken wire is firmly attached from the arch to the shade house. The pond walls are vertical at these wired sides. To the front the pond levels out more shallowly so that the ducks can easily enter or leave the water, in the centre the pond is only about 30-60 cms deep (1-2ft) depending upon evaporation and how recently I have topped it up, just enough to deter a predator. In the centre at the back, just inside the duck/shade house, I have placed stones to give the ducks easy footing to get in and out at that end, but making it necessary for a predator to have to wade through the water to get to the entrance. I considered how far a cat (should one ever turn up in the district) would be able and willing to jump across water to reach the stones and I made the pond just a little too wide for that. The wire at the sides is not tightly fastened to posts or anything on the garden side of the pond, so anything climbing would cause the wire to swing down upon itself and either dump the predator on the ground or in shallow water, thereby frightening it away. The wire is not firm enough for a predator (other than a snake) to climb it and jump into the duck/shade house. The pond allows the ducks to run for cover across the water and into the shade house, or run from the shade house across the water to escape, whichever they need to do. I usually feed the ducks inside the shade house so that they associate it as their little house. There is a narrow door to the side of the pond that opens and closes so that I don't have to wade through the pond to get in or out of the shade house myself. The shade house was already on the property when we moved in. I simply converted it to the duck house.

    Here's a picture, hope the link works, if not, paste the hyperlink into your browser.
  4. lovesduckies

    lovesduckies Bedroom Farm Inc.

    Jan 11, 2010
    the ducky room
    Quote:i've already told him about the missing birds!! [​IMG] he needs to get his head out of his behind
  5. lovesduckies

    lovesduckies Bedroom Farm Inc.

    Jan 11, 2010
    the ducky room
    Quote:oh wow that's pretty. thank you. i will show him this.

    we have muscovies and mallards. all of which can fly. when i first got them someone told me that scovies couldn't fly cuz they are too fat... ya that was a lie lol. really i love my ducks to pieces each and every one of them. getting rid of them is not an option. my dad is just an idiot. i've already told him all the dangers and he just doesn't listen.. MEN [​IMG]
  6. Carol_af

    Carol_af Chirping

    Generally, the ducks can fly, and the conventional wisdom is that the drakes grow too heavy to be able to fly. However, in reality only SOME of the drakes OCASSIONALLY grow too heavy to be able to fly more than a few feet from the ground. So in this sense, the person who told you muscovies can't fly was partially telling you the truth, but not giving you the whole story.

    In my experience with the muscovies, only 1 was too heavy to fly. As a duckling he was the tiniest but had enormous feet and a big head in comparison to the others, so I knew he would grow into a drake. All my muscovies, except for this little fellow, could fly, drakes included. As a duckling with his big feet and head, he couldn't get off the ground when the others were "exercising" their wings. When he grew up, he didn't know he could fly and just didn't bother to try. He was the only one I initially kept, but once he discovered he was a drake he took a fancy to my Campbell duck and with a pointed tip to his bill and sharp claws, I couldn't allow him among the rest of the flock as none of the others could defend themselves. Fortunately I had a friend on a farm with some muscovies, so he found a new home and now has 4 lady muscovies all to himself. He is very happy.
  7. lovesduckies

    lovesduckies Bedroom Farm Inc.

    Jan 11, 2010
    the ducky room
    yeah, my drake is really not that big.. compared to some i've seen. i should post a picture of him [​IMG] lol i love him to pieces. so he can fly but he can't get off the ground as much as my other little wackos. he lived in my room for awhile and we had one of those like child's play pens.... the portable ones.. i hope you know what i mean lol. he was able to get on that, but after my hen went broody he rarely flew back in the pen. i was watching him today and wings are just ginormous. [​IMG]

    aweee my drake was way tiny when he was a baby. he always cuddled with me too, always been a momma's boy [​IMG] and now he's got the biggest feet that he trips on lol


    complete momma's boy


    that's Duckie my momma's boy. [​IMG]

    btw i think i have my dad convinced that they need a night pen [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011

  8. PlumTuckered

    PlumTuckered Songster

    Jun 27, 2007
    My Ducks free range in the day but are locked up tight at night in their duck house inside their covered pen.
    I'm one of the people with a missing duck, Scooter my Muscovy Hen flew off ...a week ago today and it's killing me. I'm praying she will get it out of her system and come home. I am clipping her wings when she does come home. My Mallards are 3 months older than her and they've never left the property, they just fly above the yard and pasture and back to their pen and pond. Scooter has been an independent little booger since she was a couple of weeks old, I think she likes turning my hair grey!

    I hope you're able to convince your Dad to build a pen for them. I love love love seeing photos of you and Duckie!!

  9. karbear

    karbear In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2011
    Auburn, Wa
    Such cute pics! Duckie looks like such a love. [​IMG]
  10. lovesduckies

    lovesduckies Bedroom Farm Inc.

    Jan 11, 2010
    the ducky room
    I'm so sorry Michelle. I told him about your Scooter cuz i saw your post. i commented on it too [​IMG] i hope you find her. I know how much she means to you!! i think i have him convinced now... men.. [​IMG]

    thank you. he's my love of my life [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by