Issue with using their house!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by GPBII, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. GPBII

    GPBII Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 17, 2015
    Raleigh, NC
    I have 21 ducks total. 10 rouen (4 months old) and 11 pekin (6 weeks old). They've completely integrated and have no issues with each other. I've read multiple threads, blogs, posts, etc,.. about ducks not liking to go into their houses but that isn't the issue in my case. All of them go into the house during the day and only come out if I go into the pen and interact with them or to eat/drink. During the night, they stay outside and sleep on the ground. Is this normal behavior?

    I've tried light/no light, heat/no heat, moving the food and water in and out of the house but nothing changes their routine. My concern is that once they start laying eggs they'll lay eggs outside on the ground rather than inside the house in their nesting boxes.

    Thoughts, comments, and advice are welcome!
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    So, is the area outside the house predator-proof? That would be my biggest concern.

    What are the temperatures at night?

    How big is the house?

    What is the bedding?

    Is there lighting outdoors and not in the house?

    Is there a rodent that comes into the house at night?
     
  3. GPBII

    GPBII Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 17, 2015
    Raleigh, NC
    Everything is predator proof. All ventilation windows on the house are screened and everything is completely sealed. The only way anything gets in or out of the house is through the door.

    The temp has varied at night lately. It's averaged around 45 degrees but has dropped as low as 25 degrees. Even at 25 degrees outside and heat in the house they sleep outside on the ground.

    As for the size of their house, I want to say it's roughly 10' x 13'. It's big enough to have more nesting boxes than ducks.

    The bedding in the house is a layer of birch shavings covered with straw. In the pen, I let them have a muddy area where the pool is, a dry area where the food is, a grassy area, and an area where some of the straw is 'recycled' when the house is cleaned out. They don't have a specific spot where they sleep outside so I can't say they prefer anything.

    There is solar lighting that illuminates the entire boundary of the pen but I have tried removing it and just keeping a light on inside the house to draw them in.

    The only rodent that I've ever seen near them is a mouse and it didn't scare them in the least bit. They actually went for it. I had a camera set up inside the house for a few weeks and 2 motion cameras outside the pen to make sure nothing was trying to get in at night but never saw anything.
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    For one thing you don't need the heat. they are very capable of keeping themselves warm they wear down under their feathers. I'm over in the western part of NC and I have never used heat in any of my houses. As long as there isn't drafts they will be fine and good ventilation. Have you tried to slowly herd them inside? once in close the door[they don't need food and water over night] after you have done this for a week or so they will get into a routine. They herd easily and learn easily once they know what you want.

    @GPBII Welcome to BYC!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  5. GPBII

    GPBII Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 17, 2015
    Raleigh, NC
    I have tried herding and shutting them in at night. I did this for almost 2 months with the rouens and they still prefer to be outside.
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    They may not like it but at least they will be safe from predators and out of bad weather. if I took a survey of my water fowl and chickens most would have probably said years ago oh yes I'll just roost in the trees[chickens] and some of my Muscovy's too. My geese most likely would love to sleep out of doors too. But you know what they would be all dead and gone, we have so many predators after one week most likely all 25 of my birds would be gone. Sometimes we have to take the upper hand since we Know there are dangers they don't. When I started with ducks going on 12 yrs now they were put up at night and they have taught everyone since down the line. They love their bedrooms[that's what I call them] .
     
  7. trainman

    trainman Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 8 Pekins. We built a nice house for them when they were a month old and decided for our sanity they HAD to move out of the garage. While we were doing the finishing touches on the duck house the gate got left open and they all took off as fast as they could run headed for the pond. They have never come back! They will not use the house even in terrible weather. We've had plenty of heavy rains and winds up to 50mph. Winters here in Arkansas can get down to single digits temps and we have lots of snow here in the mountains. Still they ride it out either on the pond or huddled up on the bank. As to laying eggs.....every day is like Easter! I have to walk completely around the pond searching. Sometimes on the bank, sometimes in the pond and sometimes in the weeds several yards from the pond. They don't seem to make a permanent nest of any sort and have no interest in brooding. I hatch my duck eggs under my chickens. Good luck!
     
  8. revans2003

    revans2003 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    X2, that is the exact same thing that happened to me with my Khaki's. They are in a predator proof run and will stay in the pond even during rainstorms. I literally am building another pond for my four ducklings because these two clowns wont share.

    Bottom line, if they are protected outside at night, let them do there thing. If they are not protected, they go inside.
     
  9. trainman

    trainman Out Of The Brooder

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    Actually, when we got our Pekins we knew absolutely nothing about ducks. We bought several recommended books and we discovered we wasted a lot of money on them. We found no written information on ducks that helped us and almost everything they stressed as gospel was wrong. No more books for us! We've learned the hard way and by just trial and error. Fortunately the ducks are very tough and resilient and will teach you what to do if you just watch them and pay attention. Maybe we've just been lucky. We have about 60+ chickens and love them but there's nothing like having the ducks for pure entertainment and fun. We're in the process of raising a duckling hatched by a Buff Orpington hen. She hatched 8 chicken chicks and the duckling. It's great watching him figure out he's a duck and not a chicken. He now spends the night in the pond with the quackers but during the day he'll wander over to the chickens and hang with his brothers and sisters for a while and then head back to the floating gang. Great to watch.

    trainman
     
  10. GPBII

    GPBII Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 17, 2015
    Raleigh, NC
    Thank you for your knowledge and experience. I've also found that most information contained in books is a bit inaccurate. As long as the ducks are safe and healthy, I fine with them having their own routines and behaviors, but did want to make sure there wasn't anything that I should be doing differently. I do appreciate the help!
     

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