Need Advice on size and specs of outdoor duck run + duck photos :)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by east_winds, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. east_winds

    east_winds New Egg

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    Dec 5, 2009
    Hello! We have 2 Pekin ducks (General Patton and Skittles/Shenanigans) and 2 Runners (Rommel and Oya) - 4 duckies total, who are now about three weeks old. Due to their messiness (albeit adorable messiness...) we are more than ready to kick their little behinds outside as soon as possible. We are having a local landscaping company build the run/protected area for them, and plan to try and have them out within the next 3-4 weeks if not sooner. Just a few (well, a lot of) questions regarding their outdoor home for those who are more experienced...

    1. Its about 25F at night and 35F during the day here in Maryland- will they be OK going outside with just a dog igloo for shelter at 4-5 weeks? I have heard mixed responses from other threads. (Some say they are fine with heat lamp at 2-3 weeks, some say till fully feathered, etc)

    2. What is the recommended square feet of living space per duck for a run? They would be spending most of their time inside the protected area, as we live in an exurban community where predators (such as a certain fox family) have lost all fear of people and will happily roam and sleep in our backyard. We also have big issues with raccoons, hawks, feral cats, etc. in our area. (When you live right on the edge of the suburbs and country, it seems like the predator issues are actually worse as they are no longer spooked by people and come right up to our house to see whats up)

    So, the ducks would not be able to range outside the fenced area without direct supervision- what size roughly should the fenced area/run be for four ducks of the noted breeds that would give them enough space to happily spend most of their time?

    3. I have gleaned from other threads (and general knowledge) that the run needs to be tight wire mesh (smaller than chicken wire) with wire buried underneath the run to prevent predators from burrowing underneath. I have also heard that runner ducks can jump very, very high if they have a running start (no pun intended). What would be the recommended fence height for ideal protection (but also keeping cost in mind)? What would be the best 'gauge' or 'size'/type of wire to ask the company for specifically?

    4. Regarding the hawk problem- would deer netting pulled over the top of the run and secured to the sides help to deter birds of prey? It seems like they would get caught in the netting if they tried to dive bomb one of the ducks, but I am interested to hear what other people have tried out (a hawk lives literally right next to where the run needs to go, unfortunately...)

    5. Any other advice from experts? Things that we did not think of or are missing? Sorry for the super long post and complicated questions, but I hatched these guys myself and after weeks of cleaning up duckling poo I would hate to see something bad happen to them...

    Thanks a bunch for your help! [​IMG]

    Here are some pictures of the gang to make up for my crazy questions...

    All four, in full camera flash panic mode (---->Skittles, Patton, Oya, Rommel---->)
    [​IMG]

    General Patton, the leader, getting a duck massage
    [​IMG]

    Oya, named randomly after the Santeria goddess of hurricanes, zombies, and shiny objects, doing what she does best- screaming her head off for no apparent reason
    [​IMG]
     
  2. pishposh

    pishposh Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 13, 2009
    westminster, md
    Hey there!

    just wanted to let you know we are in Maryland too! Where abouts are you? If you want to send me your e-mail address I can send photos of our pens to give you and idea! We waited until they were fully feathered (6-8 weeks) and moved ours outside.

    Love your ducks, we had a duck named Patton at one time too!
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  3. priss

    priss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Isle of Wight
    I looooove general patton. How cyooooot [​IMG]
     
  4. Barred Rockstar

    Barred Rockstar Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 7, 2009
    Humboldt County, CA
    1. I've heard it said that ducks are much hardier than people give them credit for. Peronally I wouldn't put them out without a heat lamp until they are fully feathered (6-8 weeks.)

    2. As much space as possible! They will turn a small pen into a muck hole in no time at all.

    3. My Runners don't seem to be interested in jumping or flying, 4 ft chicken wire works fine for me. 5-6 would be better if you want to be on the safe side I suppose. You'll probably want a heavier gauge wire than standard chicken wire also, maybe somebody else could chime in on that or you could take a look in the coop and run section there's a lot of good stuff.

    4. Deer netting would probably be fine, you can hang some old cds on it too, I've heard hawks don't like that. (keep in mind deer netting will not deter a determined predator.) Also, during the rainy season there will definitely be a smell factor if your run isn't covered and stays wet all the time. [​IMG]

    5. Not an expert so I better just leave it at that. [​IMG]
     
  5. pishposh

    pishposh Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 13, 2009
    westminster, md
    I emailed some photos of our pen. you cna see that we used hardware cloth on the sides and top. the ducks are allowed to free range under supervision. We have many, many predators in our area. We do plan on building a run area which we are thinking about electrifying (on the outside of the frence where the ducks can't reach).
     
  6. east_winds

    east_winds New Egg

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    Dec 5, 2009
    Hey everyone! Thank you so much for your helpful responses- we are looking to have the run put in within the next 2-3 weeks or so. I will be sure to continue posting pictures of our growing, rambunctious ducklings as well [​IMG]

    General Patton says thank you for providing some much needed info on how we can keep him and his buddies safe!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. chickenwhisperer123

    chickenwhisperer123 Whispers Loudly

    Mar 7, 2009
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    4. NO.

    I lost 7 chickens this year because I covered the top in deer netting. Hawk came right through, repetedly... [​IMG]
    Mine is now covered with chicken wire, and the hawk hasnt been back. [​IMG]

    PS... I want General Patton... [​IMG] and [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010
  8. priss

    priss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 13, 2009
    Isle of Wight
    Toooo much sleepy fluff...will explode from cutenesssss.
    I want a general patton.
    Please keep us updated. I can't help with anything serious but I am great at lookin at cute pictures!!! Give alla them snoogles and belly chubbles from me. Tell Oya to keep quackin, she gonna be a pretty one.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
     
  9. kingpincray

    kingpincray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Palmerston North
    they look like they quite happy being handled. How do you do that? mine runs away and can only get as close as 1 meter.
     
  10. Sweetfolly

    Sweetfolly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 17, 2009
    Kildare, Wisconsin
    1: I've never left my duckies outside without a heat lamp until they were 6 weeks old; after they are fully feathered, my Campbells, Runners, Hookbills, and Mallards are perfectly fine in their simple, uninsulated plywood pens with plenty of fresh, cozy straw even when temperatures drop into the negative teens. So, my advice is: Wait until they're fully feathered, and then don't worry about cold temperatures anymore - they'll be fine.

    2: Give your ducks as much space for a run as you can possibly spare. No matter how much space they have, chances are that they'll decimate any vegetation they have access so, unless you build multiple runs and rotate their access to allow the grass a chance to recover - but that's awful elaborate.

    3: I use 1/4" wire mesh for the vents on my nighttime pens - like this one (still haven't put a proper roof on it [​IMG] )

    [​IMG]

    My runs are still all chicken wire - but, we have three dogs patrolling the yard all day and have never lost a bird to a predator. I want to upgrade my runs this coming summer to split rail fencing with wire attached, something like this:

    [​IMG]

    4: I use deer netting to deter hawks. We have hawks nesting on our property every summer, always flying overhead, and they've never attempted to get to the ducks. Since my netting is getting worn, and I'm planning on replacing all my fencing this summer anyways, I'm replacing all my netting with heavy nylon flight netting, the same kind that is used by the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI to protect their endangered cranes in their runs - I volunteer at the ICF and was given a large amount of old netting when they replaced theirs last year. It's pricey, but will last a lot longer than the deer netting that I've been replacing every other year. It looks like this, and it available at mypetchicken.com:

    [​IMG]

    5: Your ducks are adorable! Enjoy them while they're still so fluffy!
     

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