free range ducks in daytime

alw018

Hatching
Nov 28, 2020
1
1
3
Hi I am a new member. I am planning to get up to 4 ducks to keep as pets and for egg production in my backyard. While they are unsupervised, I intend to keep them in a 4 ft. x 12 ft. area fenced with 0.5 inch hardware cloth, including above. (is this large enough?) I would let them out for free range time when someone is present.

One question I have is whether or not it is safe to have them free range between dawn and dusk even without supervision. I live in a suburban area with a wooden fence around the backyard (so no dogs except my own Pomeranian who mostly stays in the house). I have seen domestic cats, hawks, and squirrels in the area. I have never seen owls, foxes, raccoons, or other larger predators in the area but it is possible they are here.

I am also redesigning my garden and one idea I have is to put 4 ft. tall hardware cloth fencing with 2 in. x 4 in. holes around the garden area(~300 sq. ft.) to serve as a plant trellis and to keep the ducks in a limited area while free ranging. The rest of the yard is paved and wouldn't be good for walking/foraging. I could put some large plants and other tall objects inside to deter hawks, as I've heard they need a clear path to hunt, but it wouldn't be a complete exclusion. Any opinion on this and how it would affect free ranging during the day? Also, would squirrels be a threat to adult ducks?

Thanks
 

Hei 20

Free Ranging
Oct 8, 2020
1,920
10,620
501
Hi I am a new member. I am planning to get up to 4 ducks to keep as pets and for egg production in my backyard. While they are unsupervised, I intend to keep them in a 4 ft. x 12 ft. area fenced with 0.5 inch hardware cloth, including above. (is this large enough?) I would let them out for free range time when someone is present.

One question I have is whether or not it is safe to have them free range between dawn and dusk even without supervision. I live in a suburban area with a wooden fence around the backyard (so no dogs except my own Pomeranian who mostly stays in the house). I have seen domestic cats, hawks, and squirrels in the area. I have never seen owls, foxes, raccoons, or other larger predators in the area but it is possible they are here.

I am also redesigning my garden and one idea I have is to put 4 ft. tall hardware cloth fencing with 2 in. x 4 in. holes around the garden area(~300 sq. ft.) to serve as a plant trellis and to keep the ducks in a limited area while free ranging. The rest of the yard is paved and wouldn't be good for walking/foraging. I could put some large plants and other tall objects inside to deter hawks, as I've heard they need a clear path to hunt, but it wouldn't be a complete exclusion. Any opinion on this and how it would affect free ranging during the day? Also, would squirrels be a threat to adult ducks?

Thanks
1606528678036.jpg
 

416bigbore

Not A Care In The World !
Premium Feather Member
Jun 11, 2020
3,235
19,855
716
NC
:welcome:woot:woot:celebrate:) Hello and welcome to BYC, You found an Awesome poultry Forum to be a part of with many great knowledgeable members who are more then willing to jump in and help you with any questions you may have. :)

Unsupervised free range there is always a risk of something unfortunate happening to them when no one is around watching. It doesn't even have to be a predictor, it could be something as simple as them getting into something they shouldn't and no one around to help them.

We have lots of squirrels where we are at and the ducks seems to like watching them run across the ground from tree to tree. Sometimes a curious squirrel will go into the ducks fenced area to check out what type of seeds and grains the ducks have been eating. :gig

Best of luck, you found an awesome poultry Forum to help you along your journey. :)
 

RJKnott

Songster
Mar 25, 2020
291
605
156
Welcome to BYC

racoons, opossums, skunks, hawks, there’s other predators to worry about so maybe try to predator proof the yard or an area of it as much as possible for them. But there is always a risk.

Some of it will be up to the ducks too. We don’t have a lot of land predators here but tons of hawks in the area. My ducks won’t voluntarily leave their pen after I came out to find a hawk circling low one day. They know they are safe and are just fine foraging for bugs and worms in there where hawks can’t get them
 

cheezenkwackers

Crowing
Aug 28, 2016
1,241
1,976
282
Memphis, TN
My 6 ducks free range alone every day and have been for several years. Like you, I live in a neighborhood with a wooden privacy fence. I let them out at dawn and put them back in at dusk. They do have shrubs and plants to hide in. A neighbor a block away has lost chickens to hawks but so far my ducks have been left alone. It is a risk you have to decide if you are willing to take.
On another note, I would not use 2" x 4" fencing with ducks ever. They could stick their head through and then panic and break their necks. My "duck fence" is 1" hardware cloth stapled to cedar fence boards turned sideways.
IMG_3463.jpg

Making the gate with my helper.
IMG_3415.jpg

If you have to use the other fencing due to cost, you can cover it with plastic 1" mesh. It just doesn't work as well or last as long.
 

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