New to ducks - need help!

ssfarmky

Hatching
May 15, 2015
6
0
7
Hello everyone! I am new to this so please bear with me if I ask silly questions...

I would like to start raising ducks for eggs. I'm thinking 2-4 ducks to start with. I am located in central KY so we do have pretty cold winters and occasional heavy snows. I have an 11 acre farm with honeybees, a large garden and fruit trees. The ducks will be my first "livestock" (unless you consider bees as livestock). Here is what I am thinking for my setup:

Approx 12'x30' fenced in "run". I can't roof it so maybe barbed wire around the top to keep predators from going over the fence? My fencing material is about 4' tall and will be buried into the ground about 6". I also have access to plenty of cut cedar trees so I thought about lining the bottom of the fence to deter predators from going underneath.

I would build a duck house out of pallet wood and cedar posts.... approx 6'x8', elevated, with straw bedding I want to set up a rainwater collection system off the slanted roof using gutters and a 275 gallon IBC tote.

Now for the water... I'm considering putting in one of those black plastic pond liners like you can get at lowes... would hold about 50 gallons (approx 5' x 3'). I would put in a plug and a drain so I could empty it out.

My biggest questions initially are:
1. Is the above set-up sufficient for 2-4 ducks, with the potential to add more ducks later?
2. Will my ducks be safe at night? I do not live on the farm, but I visit approx 4-5 days a week to do chores and upkeep.
3. How often would I need to change out the water with a pond that size and 2-4 ducks using it daily? I am hoping most of my water for this will be rainwater I have harvested.... but if the 50 gallon pond needs to be emptied and refilled more than once a week, this wont be practical as the 275 gal IBC tote will be emptied too quickly. My farm is "off the grid;" I do not have running water so storing rainwater is my only option. There is a nearby creek that I can pump water out of to fill up the IBC totes in the case of emergency, but in the winter the creek tends to freeze.

any help/suggestions will be much appreciated! we are excited to get started but we want to have all our ducks in a row before we get in over our heads... no pun intended... haha

Thanks!
 

LadyIsadora

Songster
Mar 14, 2015
368
76
108
Utah
Welcome to BYC.
Im not enough of an expert to answer any of your questions really. This is my first year with ducks, but I have read A LOT! LOL

I'm way too much of a control freak to even consider having animals on a property Im not living on. I worry so much. Plus they are such a joy to watch & tend. They do stink a bit though so not living on the same premises would have its advantages.
The size sounds like it would be plenty big enough to me. I would worry about the top not being enclosed. I dont thing barb-wire is enough of a deterrent for determined predators. and you also have to worry about death from above. Hawks, eagles and the like
I had my water turned off for a day for repairs and thought I would come apart. I cant imagine just relying on rainwater collection for water for drinking, washing out and filling the pond. I will say it was more manageable when I had 2 ducks than it is with 13. A pond with no circulation will STINK in 4 days. This I know.

BE CAREFUL.....THAT DUCK MATH WILL GET YA! You start with two....before you know it your mortgaging the farm to build bigger duck pens. K well, maybe not quite that bad, but close ;-)
 

ssfarmky

Hatching
May 15, 2015
6
0
7
cool thanks so much for your help. i am thinking i will put in a pump to make a fountain or something to have some circulation. i could maybe do some netting or something across the top of the run... again i have free access to as many (and as small or large) cedar trees/posts as i want. my husband is pretty creative and handy. i cant wait to start construction! hopefully tomorrow if the rain holds up!
 

BarrerasDucks

In the Brooder
Mar 24, 2015
67
8
33
Corbett, Oregon
Hi ssfarmky!

I grew up with ducks, chicken, peacocks etc. Ducks are my favorite!

My advice on the coop is this. If you may add ducks in the future its better to build it once.

Some things to really think about...

1. If their drinking water freezes that is not good
2. Naturally ducks are migratory birds so they do need heat if it gets too cold. A light bulb.
3. They will muddle around a pond. That gets really messy really fast.
4. Your pond is more of a bath tub for them they love to swim but baths are good too! If you have the room make it larger. Hold off on the pond till they are fully feathered (8 weeks or so)
5. Put a roof on it, they need to get out of the sun, they can get overheated in direct sunlight and 75-80 degrees.
6. Predators...dig the fencing down a foot in the ground and get some solar (Nite Guard Brand) lights. They are motion sensor led lights that are charged by solar. They will get rid of night time predators.

Good luck! You'll love them they are great pets!
 

LadyIsadora

Songster
Mar 14, 2015
368
76
108
Utah
Most EXCELLENT points!
I have not had to winter ducks yet , so i forget about the freezing thing. and shade, I forget shade. there is so much shade around her I forget to say how important that is. Even with the temps in high 60's my ducks will often hang out under the motorhome or toy trailor.
So many great points!
 

ssfarmky

Hatching
May 15, 2015
6
0
7
Thanks everyone! I had not thought about shade - will definitely be incorporating some into my design!
 

ssfarmky

Hatching
May 15, 2015
6
0
7
Hi ssfarmky!

I grew up with ducks, chicken, peacocks etc. Ducks are my favorite!

My advice on the coop is this. If you may add ducks in the future its better to build it once.

Some things to really think about...

1. If their drinking water freezes that is not good
2. Naturally ducks are migratory birds so they do need heat if it gets too cold. A light bulb.
3. They will muddle around a pond. That gets really messy really fast.
4. Your pond is more of a bath tub for them they love to swim but baths are good too! If you have the room make it larger. Hold off on the pond till they are fully feathered (8 weeks or so)
5. Put a roof on it, they need to get out of the sun, they can get overheated in direct sunlight and 75-80 degrees.
6. Predators...dig the fencing down a foot in the ground and get some solar (Nite Guard Brand) lights. They are motion sensor led lights that are charged by solar. They will get rid of night time predators.

Good luck! You'll love them they are great pets!

Quick question... i did dig a trench around the pen and buried some fencing... so it is double layered for the bottom 2 feet of the pen with 2x4" welded wire with chicken wire mesh over that. However, i just lost my cayuga last night to a predator... i cannot find any place where it would've gotten in so i'm thinking it climbed up a ways until it could reach its arm through. The duck was not eaten and was completely intact but looked like it had been scalped so this is the only thing i can assume... coon prob reached through and grabbed it by the head. Anyway, how do i stop this short of installing an electric fence? i was thinking of maybe laying logs around the INSIDE perimeter of the pen so that the ducks can't sleep right up against the fencing... and the coon couldn't reach them if it did climb and stick an arm through. i am also setting a trap for the coon or whatever else it could be. any suggestions would be appreciated!
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,813
551
Southern New England
Raccoons can reach through chicken wire. Half inch metal hardware cloth, up high enough that they cannot reach down and get a duck should work.

I made a night-time porch on our first duck shelter that was half inch metal hardware cloth top, bottom, and sides, over a lumber frame. And I also ran two strands of equine electric tape (fence) around the house and porch. A couple of times I heard raccoon's yelling, having gotten zapped. They would approach on the side away from our house, that we could not see.
 

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