Nighttime duck housing?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by MaineChickens, May 4, 2008.

  1. MaineChickens

    MaineChickens Songster

    Mar 11, 2008
    Hi all, I have gotten some great ideas from the chicken side of this board (which is why there is a kiddie pool with an ex-pen around it in my livingroom full of chicks) and have been reading/thinking about my ducks.

    I have 6 pekins coming from Ideal next week that are being raised for meat. That said, they will have a short stay here, but I intend for it to be a good one.

    During the day, after the brooder phase, I plan to have them in a 15 x30 pen with a couple prefab dog houses and pool for entertaining themselves. I have a small fenced in backyard and garden and plan to have them out with supervision in that area as well.

    After reading about some of the mystery duck losses, I am thinking this isn't going to be a good nighttime plan. I am wondering if there is a reason I can not put them into dog crates on my screened-in porch in the evening? I have probably 4 XL dog crates that I am not using and I can borrow more if I need to.

    I want them to be safe, comfortable, and have happy- albeit short- lives.

    If I were to go the crate route, do they need to have water at night? I can put straw in the crates but don't know if them having access to water in their "bed" is going to be a good idea.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?
  2. SimplyAbundantFarm

    SimplyAbundantFarm In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2008
    I swear by electronet fencing. I have six ducks who refuse to go anywhere close to inside at night without putting up a huge fuss even though they have plenty of shelter options. Instead, they are just happy as can be to sleep in a pile together on the grass. They also have their own little pond in the pen -- one of those preformed ones that folks stock with koi in their backyards.

    I know that there is a fox den somewhere out just beyond my back pasture and the foxes here are so bold that they will come right up to the house after dark or early in the morning if they believe that there is a tasty and unsuspecting snack waiting for them. I used to lock everyone up tighter than Fort Knox, but ever since I have moved them into the electronet pen, they sleep with the doors open and lounge around wherever they like.

    I have a pretty powerful fence charger (designed for long stretches of fencing to keep cattle in) and -- from personal experience -- that zap that you get from it is brutal! I suspect that Mr. Fox has come close and been zapped because I have not lost a single chicken or duck from the electronet pen.
  3. MaineChickens

    MaineChickens Songster

    Mar 11, 2008
    Does anyone else have experience with using crates as night housing?

    I also still wonder about water at night.

    I am on a small in-town lot and not ready to do electric.
  4. MMaddTom

    MMaddTom Hatching

    Apr 6, 2008
    i have been doing exactly that every night with my 6 cayuga crosses, we go out and catch each duck and put them in a box and carry them in and put them in a large wood crate with shavings in it. when they were little i gave them water but now they go until just before dawn like 5 am when i wake them up and give them water. it usually takes another hour or so to get them out to their pen and they seem fine with all these arrangements . makes them tame too handling each one a couple times a day. some come over to us as soon as we go to get them. the top of the wood box is a hinged wire frame and they can see us and they make their comments but they never act spooked or scared about it
  5. conny63malies

    conny63malies Crowing

    Mar 22, 2008
    Annetta Kentucky
    I just put my three duckies , my older bantys and the little bantys and standards all in the same pen. Well its a old laundryroom in my basement. So far the ducks run everywhere where the older chicks go because i had them in the same brooder for 1-2 days.
    can you put one of those parrot waterers through the metal part of the crate? Some crates even come with feeder&waterer that you van hang onto the door.
  6. MaineChickens

    MaineChickens Songster

    Mar 11, 2008
    I have stainless buckets I can hang inside the crates if they do need to have water at night. Not a problem. I just wasn't sure if it was a necessity or not. Didn't want ducks sleeping in a wet bed! [​IMG]
  7. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    I haven't used that setup for ducks, but right now my chicks (7 standards, about 6 weeks old) are using a med/large dog crate as a temp coop.

    They are learning to go in, but I imagine you'd have to pick up the ducks and put them in. It takes a lot longer for ducks to learn to go in at night, and mine still have to be told.

    My ducks don't have water at night, but they are over a year old. When they were babies, I kept water for them 24 hours a day (except when they emptied it while I was sleeping). But if you use an open dish, my guess is that they will play in it until it's empty, then you will have wet bedding and ducklings with no water.

    Maybe you can give them a quick drink a couple of times at night, then remove the water? That will be a lot of work though. Or maybe they can learn to drink from a supplier that doesn't let them dabble, like a ball-tube type for rabbits? They can't have food in the cage if you use that, though, cuz they really need to be able to get their bills in water if they have food.

    Good luck, whatever you decide!

  8. Mom

    Mom In the Brooder

    May 3, 2008
    Mine follow the food. Mostly feed outside the pen but if I want them inside, all I do is move the food - stampede in the door
  9. clay

    clay In the Brooder

    Feb 13, 2008
    Our ducks go right on in to the coop with the chickens at night. Sometimes they need a little herding, but they know where they're supposed to be. No food or water in there, but they're grownups.

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