My 3 ducklings (Holly, Dora, and Olivia) are now almost 3 weeks old. So far they've been living in a large kennel in the house, but I know that I will soon have to re-locate them to a coop in the back yard. I have set aside next weekend for my duckhouse building project, but now I am in the design phase. I got some really great ideas from looking at duckhouses built by others. I've pretty much decided what to do as far as shape, structure, materials, insulation, ventilation, security, etc. However, there is one internal part of my design that I am unsure of.... After much research (and soul-searching), I have decided I am going to provide food and water for the ducks inside of the house. Yes, I know that they probably don't need it since they'll only be locked in their house during the night. But still, I'd like them to have it. And that way I can always have the option of leaving them locked in their house during the day when we get that rare really bad winter storm. One of the biggest things I've learned during my first almost 3 weeks of being a duck parent, is that ducks tend to be a tad bit messy. Especially when it comes to eating and drinking. So my duckhouse design challenge is to create a way for me to keep food and water in the house, while minimizing the associated mess. In particular, I want to be able to keep the ducks from being able to splash their water into their bedding. This is the idea I've come up with, to mitigate the food and water mess. Basically, I am creating a "Dining Room" for the food and water that has a wall separating it from the rest of the house. This dining area will have a 1/2" hardware cloth floor, built up 8" or maybe a foot above the coop floor. Underneath the hardware cloth I will have a removable tray, to make it easy to dump the spilled food & water. (I'm thinking maybe even a plastic-lined drawer that I can slide out from the side of the coop.) The partition wall between the "Dining Room" and the rest of the house will be only 2 or 3 feet tall, to allow for air circulation. For the "Dining Room" walls, I found these 4'x8' panels at Home Depot that are water proof and easily cleaned, it's the same stuff often used on commercial bathroom and kitchen walls. And it isn't too expensive. In fact I'll probably use that for the whole coop, not just the "dining room". And I'm planning on linoleum or something similar for the flooring. Suggestions, comments, critiques?