Ducks or Chickens

itstrist

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 29, 2014
84
2
43
Grafton,Ohio
I have a Little Tykes playhouse, I'm looking on craigslist every day looking for a large wire dog kennel. I live in North-East Ohio and the winters are very cold with snow and the summers are hot and humid. Where I would be putting the kennel it would be standing alone at the back of my yard (No fence, approx. 1 acre) so I would cover the back and top with tarp to protect from rain and the sun. there is a lot of trees but occasionally when it rains it gets muddy back there. I do have a very large dog so I'm not very worried about predators. I will predator proof the run and playhouse. My questions is, would my situation be better for ducks or for chickens? If I get ducks it would be Pekin ducks, if I get chickens it would be Silky Bantams. thanks so much!
 

mightymax

Songster
6 Years
Oct 8, 2013
655
102
128
Central Coast, CA
Hi there. Sounds to me like your situation would be MUCH better suited for the rearing of Ducks. Silkies are wonderful chickens. I have 8 myself, but because of their particular feathering features, they don't fair well in the heat and are especially subject to cold weather and may not survive the extreme cold or snowy weather. Ducks, on the other hand, love to make their own mud, so if you get your own free mud for part of the year, they'll love you all the more. They also seem to enjoy standing out in the rain and aren't afraid of a little thing like snow (just watch out for frostbite). I have both, so I obviously don't like to choose, but for your situation, I think I'd go with ducks, unless your ready to become OCD about the climate and temperature control. Low maintenance verses major headache, if you ask me. But to each his own, Thank Heavens!!! Good luck with your decision and keep us updated.
 

itstrist

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 29, 2014
84
2
43
Grafton,Ohio
I have been researching and I think I'm going to go with ducks. my house is naturally set on a slope somewhat and all the excess rain goes into the way back woods. my ducks would get put into a kennel right out in front of the woods by the trees. so they won't be in completely soaking wet land but it does indeed get mucky back there after a couple days of running. what I think I'm going to do is
get two maybe three ducks and set up a chain link kennel in between 2 trees and put a tarp over the top and the back and then in the winter time maybe cover the sides too. for their housing I think I'm going to end up getting one of those wooden insulated doghouses and attaching a door on it. what do you use for the ground of your duck run? I know mine will be on grass for a while but eventually they will run in down to just mud because it is going to there primary home. I will let them out when I'm out to supervise but it will most likely only be a couple hours a day just because our yard isn't fenced in and I wouldn't want to risk anything happening to them. I was thinking possibly putting lea gravel down with some type of
sand on top of it? would
that work?
 

mightymax

Songster
6 Years
Oct 8, 2013
655
102
128
Central Coast, CA
When I first set up my duck pen (a 10 x 6 x 6 foot chain link dog kennel with a hardware cloth and tarp top assembly) I attempted several different forms of flooring. Long story short, I failed miserably at almost all of them...lol. I tried natural grass/dirt/and then the eventual mud. After which I resigned myself to the complete over hall of the pen. I dug trenches, moved enough soil and sand to rebuild the Great Pyramids, dug a sub floor 4 inches deeper than the actual level of the eventual floor...and THEN I hand carted in 100's of pounds of pea gravel (my area didn't allow for it to be trucked in...of course not). All this AFTER I laid landscape cloth (heavy duty), 1/4 inch hardware wire and a sloping culvert. Sounds great, huh. Well, Things I learned by complete and sheer terror and error:


Use 1/2" not 1/4" wire = with both the heavy duty cloth and then the smaller gauge wire and then the little pea gravel...it floods VERY quickly because the drainage area is too small and the water level while cleaning does not drain fast enough. Any less water pressure and the poop doesn't budge and if it floods, you wait and watch the poop settle right back down to where it first was. So still use heavy duty cloth (it keeps the plants and stuff from coming up), but I'd use 1/2 inch wire AND...

I would mix small pea gravel with 1/4 amount (or more) of small (but larger than the pea gravel) pond stone = better, faster drainage and with the heavier rock you also don't have as much pebble' run off' into the entire rest of your yard. My lawn will never be the same.

Finally, and most importantly, get yourself some strong backed young help. I did it all by myself in one week and felt dead for the next three.

Funny thing is, I went to the deep litter method this winter anyway because of the weather, so the whole thing was a big and total bust...LOL!!! But now I know how to supervise other people doing the hard work and I sit back and let out a giddy chuckle. Some might say I didn't know what I was doing, but I researched for months and even asked a contractor friend of mine. Thing is...it just didn't work out for me. But it just might for you. Good Luck!!!
If I had to do it all over again, I'd pour concrete since mine were free ranged all day anyway, so no worry of bumblefoot.

Good Luck and again, let us know how it goes. I'm starting a HUGE chicken house and run right now. Drawing plans and taking names for labor help.
 

itstrist

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 29, 2014
84
2
43
Grafton,Ohio
I could make the bottom of the pen pavers... would that work better? then it wouldn't get smashed down into the ground. maybe pavers then gravel then sand?
 

mightymax

Songster
6 Years
Oct 8, 2013
655
102
128
Central Coast, CA
I think just pavers might be ok. If you put sand and gravel on top of them I'd still be worried about blasting it off when you wash it off with a power nozzle. It takes alot of pressure and water movement to keep them real clean. Only my opinion of course. Haven't personally had Pekins or Calls, but from what I've heard Calls, although smaller, make a lot more noise. I've always heard Pekins make nice pets and are good meat birds, if that's your thing. I loved my Cayugas the best out of all my ducks, then my Rouens. Just remember that the males are basically mute. It's the females that are the loud ones (except in the case of Calls).
 
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