Housing question (predator safe)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Liverightnow, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. Liverightnow

    Liverightnow Hatching

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    Jun 15, 2019
    I just lost two of my three runner ducks to a fox. (Third one was attacked and I am trying to nurse her back to health.) My question is, can I keep them in a normal "chicken-like" coop while I'm gone (work and such) or do they need more room to roam/access to water? Most days would be for only 3 or 4 hours, but other days could be around 8 or 9 hours.

    I feel bad keeping them cooped up for hours at a time, but I need to keep them safe.
     
  2. ocap

    ocap Crowing

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    I tried a lot of different ideas and found one that worked. Electric fence !!
    I used electric poultry fence for several years and noticed the plastic aging. Then I switched to wire, lasts longer! place wires four inches apart, use roundup 365 weed killer, 10,000 volt power supplier, my birds watched for flying predators and will run for cover if you have some kind of shelter (picnic table, stock trailer)
     
  3. Duckworth

    Duckworth Songster

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    I’m sorry for your losses! Electric poultry wire may be helpful, but check your local laws. It’s illegal for us to use it inside our city limits, so it’s not an option for us. It’s use may also not be covered by our liability insurance in case someone’s child gets into our yard.

    Safety is more important than being able to be outside, at least on a short-term basis. Be sure your duck has access to food and water inside the coop and that there is plenty of ventilation to protect from overheating and buildup of any fumes from waste.

    As soon as is feasible, I would look at providing your ducks with a secure run that gives them more safe space to spend their time in while you are away.

    Again, I’m sorry for your losses!
     
  4. ocap

    ocap Crowing

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    interesting answer from @Duckworth
    I forgot the government and attorneys took away our freedom to put up electric fences to protect our own property.
    enjoy progress???
     
  5. Callender Girl

    Callender Girl Crowing

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    Safety has to be your top priority. My nine runner ducks are kept in a modified chicken tractor (which means it has been totally wrapped in hardware cloth and has double latches on the doors) that's about 3 foot by 10 foot. They are in the shelter at night and when no one is home; otherwise, they free range during the day but are restricted to areas where I can see them from the house. I was told that runners would be okay housed with 3 square foot of "coop" space. I don't like to leave them in there for long periods of time, but after losing a drake to a mink, I'd rather have them alive and bit unhappy than dead.

    I am very sorry for your losses and I hope your girl recovers! Keep us posted, please, and welcome to the community.
     
    Duckworth likes this.
  6. Duckworth

    Duckworth Songster

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    A duck tractor is a great idea, as long as it is tall enough for your ducks to stand upright and wide enough for them to stretch and flap their wings occasionally. Our ducks are in a fully secured pen (after we lost one to a raccoon), but we have a rabbit tractor we built for our son’s pet rabbits to live in when it’s not winter. It was an easy build and didn’t cost much. We already had extra 1/2” hardware cloth, so I just bought enough 1” hardware cloth for the bottom.

    Ours is pretty heavy, which keeps it from being blown over by wind or knocked over by predators, and includes a small hutch at one end where the rabbits can hide out or stay warm and dry if it rains. We put larger hardware cloth on the bottom so that nothing can dig in and they can’t dig out. I got two sets of wheelbarrow handles to attach to the sides of each end, protruding in a way that makes it easy to pick each end up and move the tractor to a new spot with new grass and weeds to eat. I also drop all of the weeds I pull from my vegetable garden in there. We have a water bottle mounted on the side and the whole top is covered, since rabbits don’t do well wet.

    If I had my ducks in a tractor, I could use even larger mesh or no mesh on the bottom, since they wouldn’t try to dig out, and would just put a water bucket or two in with them. (I would probably put at least some welded wire fencing across the bottom to add stability to the structure of the tractor and to keep my birds inside if the tractor somehow got tipped over.) A wide, relatively low tractor shouldn’t be easy to tip over. I would just be sure not to go larger than any gates you might need to move it through.
     
    Callender Girl likes this.
  7. Callender Girl

    Callender Girl Crowing

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    My modified chicken tractor was clearly built by someone who didn't mind the weight. The frame work is all made of 2-by-4's and it took three men to lift it (not so mobile, but really safe). We just wrapped the chicken wire with hardware cloth on all sides and underneath. The runners can stand, spread their wings (okay, not everybody at the same time) and allow me to sleep with some sense of security. It is located less than 20 feet from my dining room and living room windows AND, although some folks don't believe in Nite Guard lights, I have the solar blinkers on all four sides. I also weight down the one lift-up lid with a set of bricks. I'm just a bit paranoid about predators.
     
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  8. DuckyDonna

    DuckyDonna Free Ranging

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    I read on here recently that someone had electric fencing from Premier possibly? It did not hold back the predators and they wiped out the flock. I can't remember who it was possibly @Magnolia Ducks? Seems like it was in Texas.
     
  9. Duckworth

    Duckworth Songster

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    Me too on the worry about predators. It sounds like your tractor is a great solution for you. I went out and installed the handles on our rabbit tractor this morning and it went from being next to impossible for me to budge to being easy to move, one end at a time. The sets of wheelbarrow handles were sold separately at our local home improvement store for $6.99/set, so it wasn’t a big expense. I used 3” screws in the predrilled holes, with fender washers to prevent the screw heads from going through the holes, too. That might make it easier to move your tractor to new spots in your yard when you want to.

    D95402FF-D3E6-4DBE-A745-973D7AB9A8FE.jpeg B76631D4-4E32-4C4C-AF32-8B7ACA5DA416.jpeg 9434980E-B662-4B06-9D19-CBBD9CBF96B0.jpeg

    I’m not a carpenter, and we did this build in thirty-minute chunks between rainstorms. I had the plywood cut to the sizes I wanted at Home Depot to make it easier to bring home. The guy didn’t lock the saw in place right, so some cuts were off. He offered to either start over with a new sheet or to mark the mis-cut one down 70%. So my cuts are a bit wonky. It is, after all, a rabbit tractor—not fine furniture.
     
  10. ducklvr3

    ducklvr3 Chirping

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    I live inside city limits but we are on the back of the addition with like 120 acres behind us so we get all kinds of critters!
    We have killed 4 snakes that have gotten into the pen. We only have snakes when she lays an egg, they can smell it. They eat the egg and then are too fat to climb through!
    We have had a ratcoon stick his arm through our chicken wire and eat out of their bowl so we make sure and put the food in the center of the pen!
    We keep our duck in a pen that is rectangular with chicken wire and a little door the kids can go in and get the egg out.
    Its funny because when it gets dark, our ducks actually go to the pen and wait to be put up.
    Don't feel guilty that they are going in a pen. You have to keep them safe!
    We lost a baby duck not too long ago while we ran to walmart in the middle of the day we think to a hawk.

    We have an automatic waterer, i am not sure what its called, that my husband got from tractor supply.
    It keeps the ducks from spilling it and it makes sure they dont run out of water through the night or if we are gone.
    Their pen would be soaked when we put the water in a bowl and my husband didnt like that it was ruining the yard.
     

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