First time building a duck run/coop - input desired

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by antirice, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. antirice

    antirice Out Of The Brooder

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    All -

    I'm getting 4 ducks soon and wanted to get the coop & run ready for them.

    This is my first run at designing a duck coop and run. I wanted to get some input on the design and see what I might need to add/change/delete based on your real-world experiences.

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    some details:

    the run area measures 5'x20' and will be screened in

    the coop measures 5'x4'

    The ramps are all very shallow, but I couldn't find anything online about how steep of an angle is considered "shallow" as far as ducks go. I think mine are shown at around 20°.

    I have waterers and feeders who's designs i've borrowed/adapted from some of the posts I've seen on this site. About the only thing I wasn't sure about was how messy they'll actually end up being and whether or not I should put a screened catch pan under them to snag the mess. They're supposed to be fairly mess-free, but I know that ducks redefine "mess" at times, so I wanted to check.

    The ramp leading down into the yard will be hinged so that I can lift it up and close the run off when we're not home and need to contain the ducks.

    The plan at the present time is to leave the wood decking bare and see how it goes. I've done some asking around about putting golf-course green fake grass in as the flooring and will pursue that if need be (unless the group has a better suggestion).

    The coop's doors will open like a french door fridge with the freezer at the bottom - open the top only to collect the eggs or open the whole thing to clean out the bedding. It'll be lined with a pond liner & I hope to use the deep-bedding method and only have to fool with it a couple times a year.

    I also still need to build a ramp for inside of the tub/pond so that the ducks can get in and out fairly easily. I've seen folks make these out of wood and also just pile up bricks, among other things. I was concerned that the wood would rot out quickly and that the bricks will affect the ducks' feet. Any thoughts on these options or better suggestions?

    Lastly, my main goal is to make things as maintenance-free as possible. this design is kinda a culmination of everything i've found online that supposedly helps makes ducks' mess manageable. If you see any room for improvement, please let me know!

    Thanks
    Chris
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    I like ground level Duck runs...I have an enclosed 10x10 dog run with gravel base and sidewalk blocks..It is sloped for easy cleaning...My Ducks sleep in an extra large dog house that has a door to lock them into at night to keep them safe from predators....

    Ducks poop lots and I also do not provide a bath area in my run it causes to much mess..;)...They bath in a kiddie pool outside of the run...:)


    Cheers!
     
  3. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What type of ducks?

    Maybe make your coop a bit larger in case you later decide to add a couple more ducks.
    I use a half cement block next to a milk crate upside down with a cement paver on top as a way for my ducks to get out of their pond. The sides of my pond are squared, so it works well
    What are your plans for the space under the raised run and coop?
     
  4. Henrik Petersson

    Henrik Petersson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The coop seems big enough for four ducks. I like the fact that you've roofed the whole structure, that keeps wild birds' poop out and lessens the risk for disease. I also like that you've gotten ventilation openings in the coop. The angle of the ramps seems fine.

    Judging by the bottom ramp, you intend to let them move around outside of that structure. By how much? I think ducks should have constant access to soil. I only have Myscovy ducks, which are somewhat different from other ducks, but they like to use their beaks to bore holes in the ground to look for bugs. Also, they eat a lot of grass and other greenery, and look for bugs among it. Furthermore, soft ground is probably better for their feet, that are more sensitive than chicken feet.

    If I were you, I'd make the coop/run a little less long, and put it in a larger, enclosed area of soil, preferrably with grass (and preferrably other plants too) growing on it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  5. antirice

    antirice Out Of The Brooder

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    I considered the ground level options for a while, but wanted to be able to give them a pond deep enough to flip themselves head down in the water if they wanted to (y'know, where just their butts are sticking out of the water). I also wanted to be able to put a drain in the pond so that I could drain it into a bucket and water the garden with the runoff. The only spot i've got in my yard where I've got space for the run is no where near the garden, so i had to elevate the pond. I'm not interested in a major re-landscaping project, so this was the alternative.

    how often are your ducks let out into the yard? I wanted the run as big as it is and with the pond inside because I didn't know how much time they'll be able to spend loose outside. we're only doing supervised free-ranging since we live in the city, have dogs outside, and the wife and I both work during the day. I didn't think they should be without their pond for that long during the day, especially in the desert, but maybe I'm wrong? I know it'll be messy, but i can always hose the run out as it is now.

    We're going to have 3 Golden Layers and 1 Black Runner. until we move out of city limits, we're actually limited to 3 chickens per city ordinance. I'm rolling the dice already with 4 ducks because they're not specifically listed in the rules. definitely not going to be getting more ducks any time soon. once we move out into the county, it'll be a different story. I'll build a new coop/run at that point and time though.

    As far as the space under the raised run goes, the plan was to cut down the 4x4 supports to bring the whole thing lower to the ground once I get an accurate measurement of the actual slope of the yard (it's shown in the pictures at 36" up). the deck of the run will be maybe 18" off of the ground on the coop end, with the pond on the down-hill side. That should be around 24" from the ground to the deck. I've not really given much though to what to do with the space since i anticipate hosing the run out fairly frequently and that area will be wet. I was just going to throw some gravel/pavers down there to keep the vegetation to a minimum. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks for the input
    -Chris
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Shade is a definite need..;)....Once a day I free range my Ducks....A large rubber livestock bowl is enough to bath in during the day...Ducks dont need to swim everyday..Just water deep enough to dunk their heads in..:)....Make it so you can hose it out daily...They poop constantly..;)


    Best of luck...:)

    Cheers!
     
  7. antirice

    antirice Out Of The Brooder

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    access to plants/soil was the one thing I knew I was lacking. I am trying to figure out how to balance that out. your suggestion of shortening the run and adding an area of soil access may work out. I'd have to enclose that area within the run, but it may be doable. Something to consider at least. The plan was to have the ducks out of the run for as much of the afternoon as possible once I'm home from work. it sound like maybe that's not enough?

    In regards to their feet, I had reservations about what to put down in the run. I found a few posts on here where folks used pea gravel with no issues, but others had major issues with it. I saw posts about using sand, but that turning into a giant mess once water and poop were brought into the equation. Same with just using soil. I did find a few posts about using astroturf, so long as it was the high-quality golf-course level grade. That should mimic shortly cut soft grass fairly well but still allow for relatively easy clean-out. Do you think that'd be easy enough on their feet? i didn't find a large number of people using it, but did find that many seemed to think it'd work.

    Thanks
    Chris
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  8. antirice

    antirice Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2017

    with the hosing out in mind, I saw a few folks referencing this video:



    That gave me the idea to use an old bathtub as a pond. It's already sloped for a drain, has an overflow prevention drain, is sturdy, etc. Plus, it's not hard to find one for free. Repurposing old construction materials was one of my goals with this (so it's budget-friendly), so that worked out well for me.

    We live in the desert, so I was trying to give as much shade as possible. that's why I put roofing over the whole run. Do you think that's enough? One of the ducks will be black, so I definitely see a possibility of overheating if not shaded and allowed access to water.

    Thanks
    Chris
     
  9. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed




    Real shade...Ducks hate heat....Yes water is a must but it will warm up ..:(......I am not used too dessert climates....lol.....I am in Alberta, Canada...:)
     
  10. Henrik Petersson

    Henrik Petersson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would suggest something like this:

    [​IMG]
    The building is shorter, but there is an outside run with a low fence (ducks don't fly much) which is covered with dirt. Plants probably don't really matter much, since they would quickly get eaten up. The building itself will be something for the ducks to hide under to give shade.

    I like the fact that you have it elevated. It certainly makes the bathtub easy to empty.

    I have no experience with turf. I honestly don't know how important it is to have soil/dirt for duck. For chickens I'd say it's mandatory, due to their strong scratching instinct. Ducks, as I mentioned, like to dig around in dirt with their beaks, but I don't know how much it would hurt for them not to do it. It certainly feels as if ducks need natural ground to stand on, but maybe that's just my inner hippie talking.

    It's good that you'll let them out in the backyard, supervised, often. That may negate the need for a large dirt-covered run, or one at all.

    Furthermore, I'd advice you to only get three ducks, since you have such limited space. Two is one too little, because if one dies, the other one will be lonely and miserable. If there's three, there's always one back-up.

    As you may notice, I'm far from an expert. I base my answers mostly on my personal experience with Muscovy ducks and chickens in temperate Sweden.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017

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