Need builder advice for my duck house

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by suenotto, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. suenotto

    suenotto Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2010
    Limeport
    Hi all,

    OK, I have a pen with boxes built for my 12 ducks but need some advice on how to finish it. First, I want to admit that although I have wanted to get ducks and/or chickens for the last couple of years, it was a hasty decision to order some early this summer. Therefore, I dropped the ball on duck house planning (hey, it will take a few weeks before they'll need a house..LOL, well those early weeks go by pretty fast!).

    What I have is a rectangular box, 16' x 12' completely caged in pen. There is heavy 1/2" x 1/2" fencing on the sides and chicken wire across the top opening. There are also raised wood boxes across the back wall of the pen which I plan to close in and provide 2 ramps on either end. They are not closed in yet, but I saw a couple of ducks were already sitting up in the boxes which is good, I was afraid they would not use the ramps.

    My primary concern , is it really necessary to have the pen covered over with a watertight roof? I already ordered shade cloth to put over top the pen to provide shade but its not waterproof. I am using straw and had planned to use the deep bedding method but now am worried about mold developing because it will get wet (and is currently wet from last night rain). I live in eastern Pennsylvania, we get rain, not necessarily excessive rain but its not dry here either. I have also read some people's pens are not covered over, so, I'm not sure how necessary it is. The reason I was going with the shade cloth to begin with is that in my haste to make the pen, I did not make provisions to roof it. I am afraid I am not in a position budget much more money for this project. Because the roof is flat, I'm afraid that any plastic or metal panels will cause the structure to collapse if it has to hold snow weight on top of it. Now I realize I should have made it so that I could put a pitched roof on it, but don't know how to modify it cheaply to do so. Maybe I could do a roof in the spring, but for now, should I be worried about the wet straw? or does someone have a cheap roofing solution? I tried to put a tarp over top, but water just pooled up on it weighing down the chicken wire, so that's not going to work.

    Some other info, the ducks are free range during the day and I only put them in the pen at night.

    Also, what should I use to seal the wood on the boxes, they are as yet, untreated, but I can already see they need waterproofing.

    Thanks for your help!

    Susie
    Limeport, PA
     
  2. suenotto

    suenotto Out Of The Brooder

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    39
    Jul 27, 2010
    Limeport
    [​IMG]
    pen

    [​IMG]
    chicken wire on top
     
  3. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    that is a really nice run you have.

    I'm new to ducks too - but I've read a lot. Ducks believe it or not are waterproof. At least if they are healthy. You need to provide shelter for them to get out of the rain & driving wind but it doesn't need to be completely dry/water tight like you need for chickens. A ducks down layer help keep them warm in the cold weather and they oil their feathers to make them water resistant.

    I think you are good for now anyway - you may want to make sure the shade cloth slopes away so the rain can run off if it gets too heavy.
     
  4. Baybrio

    Baybrio Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2008
    Poplar Grove, IL
    Looks like a really nice and secure pen.

    I don't think you can use a deep bedding method in an uncovered area. As your seeing, wet bedding is nasty. I believe the deep bedding method is difficult with ducks even inside a covered area because they enjoy playing with their water.

    Depending on whats available in your area and what works with your ducks I've read that some folks use sand, others pea gravel, others a more solid surface that can be hosed off. I'm sure some more knowledgeable folks will steer you in the right direction.
     
  5. suenotto

    suenotto Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2010
    Limeport
    Good input, leading to a second question: what are the best and inexpensive options for bedding in an open pen? Is peat moss good? I have straw now, its easy and cheap to put down, but I have not had to rake it out yet.
     
  6. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Peat moss is not good, because it holds on to moisture like a sponge. What you have is absolutely fine.
     
  7. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    I would put a tarp over their sleeping area, and make sure that their food is in that covered area (moldy food is bad, very very bad). A truckload of sand would be a great permanent bedding solution for the uncovered area. You could rake it here and there if it smells and add a bit more once a year or so. It's cheap, too.

    Your set up is gorgeous, BTW.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  8. suenotto

    suenotto Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2010
    Limeport
    hey, thanks!
     

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