Need feedback on converting a shed to a duck house -

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Wynette, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    I've done a lot of reading on ducks, but still have some questions.

    I have an 8x8 shed; my plan is to convert a 6' x 4' area into a house for 4 ducks. I can go larger if needed, but prefer to keep the indoor duck area to a minimum, while still (of course) allowing plenty of room.

    The area is currently used for chickens, and has a linoleum floor. Questions:

    1) is a thick layer of pine or hardwood shavings a good flooring? I can use straw, but it seems so darn messy - my plan was to use shavings in the sleeping area, and straw in the nest box area, but I'm open to suggestions. I want to be sure the linoleum is not slippery for them.

    2) I'm completely unsure what to do with the walls. Right now, they are bare wood panel, and I'm wondering if I should perhaps paint them with something that would make them easier to clean? I can't think duck poo on bare wood walls would be a good thing. [​IMG]

    3) The plan for the run, which is 8' x 20', is to add pea gravel (3-4") and then top it off with sand (3-4"). Have folks who have done this been pleased with the results? How often does it need to be cleaned, and is hosed down, or just raked to clean?

    I'll add a stock tank "pond" at the end of the run, and we're planning to surround it with a low "deck" of 2x4 construction with a hardware cloth top to hopefully lessen the tracking of sand/dirt into the water. Is this a good idea, or overkill?

    Many, many thanks, duck folks!

    Oh, I should probably say that the breeds we are getting are: two Welsh Harlequin, one hybrid layer, and one Black Swedish. I noted on the Metzer site, where I ordered them from, that the Black Swedish has a 20% chance of laying bluish eggs - has anyone gotten a Black Swedish from Metzer that lays a blue/green egg?
  2. Tahai

    Tahai Chillin' With My Peeps


    I'm in the same situation...wooden shed with linoleum floors being converted to duck use. I'm currently examining the deep litter method, but am unsure how the linoleum will hold up. I'll be painting the walls 3-4 feet up with a waterproof sealant.
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    I would think if you bed it thickly enough, the vinyl flooring would be ok... i use shavings on my floor, which is a wood base with stall mats placed over top.. i put the straw in the "nesting" area...

    My barn was built for the ducks, i have no paint on my walls.. i haven't found it needed, i did paint my wood floor before i laid down the rubber mats though.

    Can't comment much on a pen, we only used a dog run.. and that was temporary my ducks all free range now.
  4. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    that sounds like a good idea on the sealant type paint - I wasn't sure what type of paint to use, I was just going to get a recommendation from someone at Home Depot or Lowes. I cauled with waterproof cault around the edges of the linoleum before we used it for chickens, so I "think" I should be good there - just not completely comfortable about what type of litter/flooring.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  5. Tahai

    Tahai Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was just at my local hardware store, and saw Thompsons advanced water sealer. I'm wondering how this would hold up to regular spray-downs. I would put it on a month or so in advance of using the shed, so it could air off. I like the stall mat idea. I'm guessing that in the summer, you wouldn't even need bedding except in the nest box, especially if you use a water/feed porch.

    One of my concerns with using the deep litter is finding the eggs if they bury them. I don't want to be stepping all over them as I'm walking around in the duck house.
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    How nice you have a shed you can use! [​IMG]

    Our setup has worked very nicely. We needed to build it, but I think some things will translate well for you if you think they will work for you.

    The duck house is 4´x8´ double walled plywood (vermiculite and perlite insulation - they don´t mold). I put vinyl sheet flooring on the floor, and went up the sides several inches. I screwed 1¨x3¨ boards across the top to keep anything from slipping down behind the flooring. I covered seams with duck tape (of course).

    I use pine shavings, about a foot and a half deep. On top of that I have a few inches of straw, which gets changed out every few days. I stir the shavings when the straw gets replaced. I add about a 2 gallon bucket´s worth of peat moss to the shavings, by the way. I do that to keep ammonia from forming. And the shavings stay so dry, anyway (talking ten runners) that ammonia has not been a big issue even before I started adding peat moss, which raises the acidity a bit.

    I have not painted the interior walls, but when I do, I plan to use milk paint because that doesn´t make fumes, which I don´t want to subject the ducks to (their little lungs, I am told, can be sensitive to volatile compounds).

    The Veranda (a porch attached to the house) originally had sand flooring. It got aromatic quite quickly. The way I figure it, the nitrogen in the duck poo had no carbon to bind to to reduce the odor. So, the Veranda now has sawdust over the sand and that works wonderfully! I use a cultivator to fluff the sawdust every day or two in warm weather, and it can be days to weeks before the top couple of inches need to be raked out and put on the compost and replaced with fresh sawdust.

    Something I try to do is capture the nutrients from the ducks and use them in the garden. To do that, I use straw, sawdust or leaves. Oak leaves are great at reducing odor where it stays damp.

    I have pea gravel under the swim pans, and that area has a slight slope, maybe 2 percent. I can dump the swim pan and the water flows through a small channel to a garden where it waters and fertilizes the plants. Once a year I need to work on the gravel and rake and hose out some of the organic matter that collects in the gravel.

    ´Hope something in here was useful for you!
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    I put linolium on the floor of my ducks and chickens house been there going on 2 years now and holding up great. I use deep litter for both..
  8. Tahai

    Tahai Chillin' With My Peeps

    Miss Lydia,

    Do you have any issues with the ducks burying their eggs in the litter, like I've read some other posters mention?


  9. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

    Sep 7, 2009
    Florida - Space Coast
    If you can find marine grade paint sealant, that is the best for waterfowl. Cleans well, protects against the wetness. Congrats on the ducks!
  10. galgo98

    galgo98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2011
    Lebanon, Pennsylvania
    Here is a pic of my set-up. I have 5 Runners and 2 Sebastopols. (DH wouldn't give up entire shed [​IMG]) I have been using the equine pine pellets since they were in the brooder and have not had any problems. I do give them straw in the dog house to make nests and bed down in, I've added more to the main area since it is colder now and we've added the geese. There is linoleum up the wall about 5". They free range during the day so this is only used at night. I would also like to paint the interior walls, but haven't gotten there yet.. Excuse the mess in the pictures, they were molting and the camera seems to have enhanced the dust! [​IMG] The ducks just moved in here July '11, so it's still new yet, but seems to be working ok!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


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