Help! I don't know what kind of coop to build!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by whitneyrae, May 17, 2011.

  1. whitneyrae

    whitneyrae New Egg

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    2 years ago, we built a very large chicken coop with a large run for our small chicken flock. Since then we have found new homes for our babies [​IMG] and were left with the coop. Now, our coop is being used partially for storage. The remaining room houses 2 rabbits, and 1 pekin pullet. Each has their own cage for now. The coop has a small ramp and doorway out into the yard. The yard is a 5'x10' dog kennel that we completely revamped. We covered the top with 2 layers of chicken wire and half with clear roofing to protect against harsh weather. And the sides of the pen are surrounded in 3 foot high chicken wire that has been buried 2 feet into the ground. So I would say it's pretty predator proofed.
    My Pekin duckling is getting bigger and bigger every day. I feel that his cage is going to be too small by the end of the week. How exactly should I house him outside? My plan was to build a small coop out in the pen. The large coop that we build originally is too full of storage items to really be used as a coop at the moment. I guess my question is, what kind of shelter does my duck need when out in the pen?

    Here are some facts:

    1) We live in a rural area and our property is surrounded by forrestry. So predators like raccoons and stray dogs/cats are an issue.
    2) The poultry run is completely safe, but I figured the duck should be sheltered somehow if he is to live out in the run 24/7.
    3) Our state experiences all 4 seasons, including a very harsh/long winter.

    Also, is it necessary to lock the duck up in his coop at night? Or should he be allowed access to the pen whenever he pleases?
     
  2. Sore Thumb Suburbanite

    Sore Thumb Suburbanite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are going to let your duck stay in a pen outdoors 24/7 yes, you need a shelter. I would suggest you build some type of simplified run out of hardware cloth and 2x4s that has a wire top and bottom too (digging predators being a concern). Your run can connect to a simple 4x4x4 box with a slightly slanted roof-make sure you have good ventilation for summer and predator proof the house for night-time. I would urge you to train your duck to go inside at night since he/she is a lone duck... it has no buddies to keep an eye out for danger. You can use the whole front wall connecting to the coop for a door...just make sure you have a ton of bedding in there in the winter and you shouldn't need insulation. I would also consider getting him/her a few friends so it isn't too lonely and can have more body heat in the winter.

    Make sure your run has a couple inches of sand or pea gravel under the waterer too, ducks are soooooooooooo messy with their water and soooooooooooo happy to play in mud...
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Simple layout is good - I found these things help in New England, but I still brought my runners into the walkout basement coop when night temps were below 35 (long story - trust me, I think it's best).

    Anywho,

    Their coop is a 4'x8' (I have ten ducks) with attached 4'x8' hardware cloth-covered veranda (top, bottom, sides).

    In your case, you can go much smaller for one duck, however . . . one duck will have a very hard time staying warm by itself in the coldest parts of winter. If you're building from scratch, I strongly suggest double walls filled with perlite or vermiculite because they don't mold and have a decent R value for insulation. I also have a see-through ceiling that I can open and close, so I can make it airy in the hot weather and more insulated in the cold weather and don't need to run electric to the house for light.

    Or you might consider a dogloo, with a heated pad (not heating pad) for wintertime. You'll need safe electrical connections, but with a single duck and cold winters, I would not risk freezing the little critter.

    Think about moisture (can be an issue with dirt floor), insulation, passive solar heating (such as having a "roofed porch" on the south side of the shelter, and painting that side a dark color so that in the winter when the sun is low you'll get solar heat, but in the summertime when the sun is high the wall will be shaded by the porch roof.

    If the larger pen itself is definitely predator proof (including half inch hardware cloth along the bottom 2 feet at least, and a digging barrier), you don't need much security on the duck house, I would think.
     

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