Making a Duck enclosure (on a budget)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Ekaufee17, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Ekaufee17

    Ekaufee17 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey all hope your having a great week....

    I was hoping some of the ultra friendly experts out there could help me out with designing and building some type of enclosure for my ducks. I have recently suffered some losses to my all mallard flock due to predation. I now have an adult male mallard and an adult male magpie, as well as 10 week old chicks (2 mallards, 2 pekins, 2 khakis, and 2 swedish blues). The ducks were originally housed in a tiny shed that previous house owners used to isolate miniature ponies that were about to give birth. (did i mention that the house was previously owned by miniature pony farmers?) Anyway, i do have a large barn that we currently use for storage, but it does have probably 12 or so stalls that i could use for housing them during winter/night time/bad weather etc... One of the stalls in particular has a door that goes out into a 40/50 foot corral that we've been using as a vegetable garden. i'm going to attempt to utilize that as an outside enclosure for them. as for the outside area, i was thinking about just using a form of chicken wire to cover the gaps in the wooden fence (typical wooden barn fence, with three horizontal, parallel planks connected by wooden posts). the real engineering problem i have is how to predator proof the inside stall. It sits in the corner of the barn, so two of the sides are completely walled. The other two sides however aren't. I'm planning on posting some pictures tomorrow to show you all what i mean. The big problem with this is that i'm a part time college student (which means im poor to say the least) and have to battle the rarely nice western Pennsylvania weather. I really don't know what else to do to keep the ducks safe, but also give them some outside time where they aren't cooped up inside a box 24/7 like they currently are. Help? Tips? id greatly appreciate it!
     
  2. DeckDuck

    DeckDuck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure I'm completely understanding the situation you're describing. Pictures would definitely help.

    I keep a couple of ducks on a budget, too. I was very fortunate to be given a nice coop, but my father and I did make a budget outside run for it. Have you looked into PVC pipe? I used it because I just couldn't afford anything else. I know that it's not intended for building structures -at all- and I probably shouldn't be recommending it to anyone, but I have used it out of desperation and it does a nice job. It can't bear any weight but it's good for holding wire up and it's terribly inexpensive. Here's a picture of my crazy duck run. It has been standing strong for several years now.

    [​IMG]

    I also knew someone who turned an unoccupied horse stall into a chicken coop. Basically, the entire inside of the stall, walls, floor, ceiling, and door, were covered in chicken wire. Be sure to secure under the door and behind any hinges. If there are no openings then no predators can get in, with the exception of things that can squeeze through chicken wire. Hardware cloth is best but it costs so much more; you could just use that to patch over the chicken wire in places where a predator might try to reach through. For the outdoor run I'm sure you could do something similar. Run chicken wire along the fence and have a 1 1/2 - 2 ft dig wire, or horizontal wire running along the bottom of the fence, along the outside. If you're feeling fancy you can make supports and run netting along the top to deter hawks.
     
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I have a pretty good idea of what your meaning. Mind you pictures would be helpful. Chicken wire would likely be the cheapest to fill gaps but i'll caution it's not the most predator proof out there but it truly depends on what your doing, also daytime is usually(i said usually, before somebody steps in and speaks of all the daytime critters at their place lol) is not as bad as night, i would not trust chicken wire at night.period.

    For really open spots a bit of hardware cloth would be best, but if you do patches of it that will reduce your costs. Get the chicken wire in the smallest opening available. I would also check used sources sometimes you can get decent deals on fence/wire.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  4. cymbaline

    cymbaline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feel I should add my two cents and say please don't use chicken wire, no matter how small the opening. The wire is just too thin and weak; I had something rip the wire apart and take one of mine once. :( Now my whole pen is built of 1/2" hardware cloth. It's 12' x 16' x 6.5' and I only used 1 100' roll and maybe 10-15' of another roll, so around $150 worth or so. And that's to do the ENTIRE pen, top to bottom and even some underground for the diggers. Trust me, it's totally worth it to have that peace of mind.
     
  5. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The best you can buy for your budget is what is best. Chicken wire isn't the best. Welded wire would be better and hardware cloth the best.

    You need to take into account how the first ones were taken by predators and what predator it was. Was it at night or daytime? Where were they? Do you know what killed them? How did the predator access them? Etc.

    If you know what you need to be watching for, you will be able to protect them better.

    I think I understand what you are meaning about your setup. You can price out what will cost less to cover the 2 open side of the stall, wood or wire. Ducks don't need a lot of height, about 3' is fine, so you can probably cover the top at stall door level max. You will have to secure less area but it will make it more difficult for you to get in and clean. Covering the bottom 3' in hardware cloth helps to keep raccoons from reaching in to where the ducks are sleeping.

    Plan what you want to do. Price out new supplies. Check to see if there is a Habitat For Humanity store near you. They sell leftover building supplies and the prices are great, they may or may not have anything you'd need. Sign up for Freecycle in your area, I see all kinds of things posted and you can post a wanted ad. Check craigslist for used or free stuff and if you are handy, consider posting an ad saying that you will help with demolition if you can keep some of the wood/fence/wire etc. I often see free sheds if you go take it down.
     
  6. cosbackyard

    cosbackyard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My two cents:

    For the outside run chicken wire to close it in might be okay. Assuming that they will only be out during the daytime. Dawn and dusk are still significantly more risky. And it depends on your local predators. In colorado, for instance, I have fox, raccoon, bobcat, bear, and mountain lion. None of which I've seen mid-day. And I've never had a problem with hawks. But if you have daytime predators in your area or the flying kind then you'll want to be around when they're out. There's always a risk, either way.

    For the inside coop - see if you can find some free wooden pallets. And, as previously mentioned, look for a habitat re-store in your area. Can't beat the prices. Whatever you do - where they sleep at night must be predator proof. Seriously. No gaps larger than 1/2 inch. Locks (I use carabiners) on all of the doors/windows. Nothing that can be pulled apart by an animal. And then you have to build with ventilation in mind, too. Any of those openings have to be covered with hardware cloth or similar.

    It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, but it does need to be tight. At least you have the advantage of these forums. I didn't my first two years and I learned all of these lessons the hard way.
     
  7. Ekaufee17

    Ekaufee17 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 10, 2013
    Pittsburgh
    hey guys thanks for the insight. Although let me make myself clear if i may. when i said chicken wire, i basically meant something in the general family of chicken wire. i used a lot stronger of a fencing on their current hut (you'll see in photos below) and its worked wonders. as for the predators... Raccoons. i live on a 4 acre plot of land, but am surrounded by forest on all 4 sides, so the critters make their way onto the property. cats/foxes/coyotes would also be a concern although i haven't had an issue with them as of yet.
     
  8. Ekaufee17

    Ekaufee17 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 10, 2013
    Pittsburgh
    [​IMG]
    Current shed where they reside. area where raccoon got in is in the little gaps at the bottom right where the fence goes into the shed.

    [​IMG]
    inside of the stall. another stall to the left that i was considering knocking out a portion of the wall to create either one big enclosure or one that i can separate into two if needed.

    [​IMG]

    right outside the stall in the previous picture. (disregard the trampoline. blew into the fence after the last wind storm we had. door hidden behind the weeds at the bottom of the hill. was thinking about putting wiring in between the gaps on the fences.
     
  9. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Yep, pretty much what i thought a paddock.. better fencing than i thought! You can wire that easily enough the gate section will be needing better reinforcement though. As for your little barn, looks like you've used hardware cloth on all openings? right.. stay with that, washer and screw it down. All my windows in my barn/coops are hardware cloth screwed and washer used.

    Do check used suppliers for deals on wire.. after that price check, for what is out there.
     
  10. Ekaufee17

    Ekaufee17 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 10, 2013
    Pittsburgh
    okay so then how do i go about securing the stalls inside the barn? i would use the shed they are in now, but the wood is rotting, and it is probably 300 yards away from the barn or house, and basically right against the woods on the property. directly above the stall is a loft, so do i just hang it from there in the front of the stall?
     

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