We have 15 ducks coming in May, and was just wondering if we need to provide them with a shelter? I would like to keep them as safe as possible from predators, we have quite a few around here. We do have a smal pond in our yard.
I am not sure what you are asking exactly so I am going to cover several bases.
Baby ducks need a brooder and shelter just like baby chicks until they feather out and can regulate their body temps. They will need a chance to have water to snorkle in daily. I let mine swim in my kitchen sink for the first 6 weeks here.
After that we kept ours in their own little coop and run with pool. I wish I had a pond!
With your pond you might want to provide them a place to go at night where you can close them in until they are fully grown. Have you seen those cute little floating duck houses?
Remember you will not be getting wild ducks. They are domesticated to a point. I would try to provide them at least a little shelter to hide not only from predators but a dry place to go in bad weather.
They are such messy things! Their yard will be nearly bald quickly and a muddy, mucky, poopy mess before you know it.
I have promised my husband no more ducks until we have a smallish pond for them to hang out at.
Amen to what MissPrissy said. I got 3 ducks 3 weeks ago with my chicks. While the ducks were fine with the chicks, I was not fine with the wetness of the chicks brooder. They are all in the barn, so I used some wood pallets and chicken wire to make a temporary containment system for the three ducks. I can clean it often and my chicks are much happier with a dry house.
I plan to build them a yard with a small pond that is easily drainable and cleanable. From what I have read on BYC, I am going to use pea gravel around the pond to control mud and also build them a shelter (dog house) that they can go in to get out of bad weather and also lay eggs if they want.
Oh...I like the idea of the dog house! Sorry if I was'nt clear in my original post. I am aware them must be in a brooder first, I was really wanting to know about housing once they leave the brooder.
My neighbor will be taking 8 of the ducks, so I will have the 7.
The other thing to keep in mind is that ducks and geese can get really hot, so as the weather warms up, they will need shade. I see mine out under an old truck in our yard even when the weather is cold! They get warm and want to be in the shade.
Ok, so If I use a large dog house for say 7-8 ducks, do I need to put some sort of door on it and close them in at night like I would with the chickens? Also I do not have a fenced area for them, do they tend to stay close to the water source?
My ducks free-range when we are home. We don't have too much mud or duck dropping problems, because they aren't concentrated in one area. They seem to equally enjoy spending time in their pond and spending time foraging in the yard.
Amy, you will have to decide on what you do at night based on the predators. If shutting them in the doghouse is the only way you can keep them safe at night, then that is probably best. But, ducks and geese don't sleep at night like chickens, and won't really care to go in a doghouse at night. They prefer to hang out in the open, even in the worst of weather.
Chickens kind of go into a trance at night. It takes a lot to even wake them up. Ducks, on the other hand, cat nap day and night and the rest of the time they are up chasing bugs and having a great time. I hardly ever catch my waterfowl asleep at night. Nighttime predators are pretty deadly, though.
You really should consider a fence. Not so much to keep them in, but to keep predators out. And yes, they will hang out ON the water at night if they are given the chance! They are more wakeful than chickens, but they are just as helpless since they really can't fly. (Most of them)
That's for sure. Mine took up residence on the pond last summer and there was NO getting them to come off! I was lucky that I didn't loose any at night, only during the day to eagles/hawks. (Maybe this is why I don't name them.) :|
Now that they've spent winter inside the garage I don't know what they'll decide once the ice on the pond thaws. I suspect they'll just go back to their old ducky ways.
Ok, I found a cedar dog house to house the ducks in at night, it has a little door on it and wire over the windows.
I know cedar is not good for chicks, but would a cedar house be ok for ducks? I am actually getting 2, one for about 7 -8 ducks and one for 4 geese. The dimesions are
46.8 in x 39.1 in x 34.2 in
Here is a link. http://www.dog.com/item/the-stable-large-dog-house/
Tell me what you guys think.