Quacktacular Heights? ~Advice Please~

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by PineappleMama, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Trying to come up with a pen that would work with our current backyard/patio.
    I've not settled on a breed, but I would like a decent layer, one who'll go easy on rookies, and who isn't really noisy.
    I like Campbells for their egg laying, but I'm open to others. Mostly I want to make sure that the pen I could build would be comfy for two of whichever.

    Want it to be short enough that I can clean it (5'6" here) and still be able to raise it a bit off the ground so the dogs can't annoy them too much.
    -thinking that I'll put doors on the sides rather than on top, this alone may solve the issue-

    But I'm not having the best luck in finding duck HEIGHTS, thus it's hard to figure minimum pen height needed for comfort.

    So, my question for all of you...

    What breed/s and their height/s have you had/seen? OR what pen height would you recommend for ___ breed?

    (and if there is a chart of this somewhere feel free to just post that with a great big DUH!) [​IMG]

    Thanks for any advice! [​IMG]
     
  2. 1lpoock

    1lpoock Spruce Creek Waterfowl

    Apr 20, 2009
    Sandusky, Ohio
    Most of the domestic breeds (excluding bantam breeds and runners) are all around the same height. If they are just sleeping in the pen, I would think 2 ft. would be tall enough, however if they are in their all the time, i would say 4 ft. because they are going to want to flap their wings and such.
     
  3. Duck_feeder

    Duck_feeder Drowning in feathers!

    519
    4
    131
    Oct 22, 2009
    Chicago
    Quote:Minimum pen height for the ducks or you while cleaning? [​IMG]

    Our tallest runner is around 2 feet tall when he's fully upright. I wouldn't go less than 3 to 4 feet if you get runners.

    The pen that Victor and Ming Mei live in has a nest box area that is between 18"-24" and the door is part of the wall (the area above is a second level so no access from above). In order to clean it, I have to sit down on the floor and sometimes lay on my belly to get the far corners. In other words, a huge pain in the butt. [​IMG]

    The main part of their pen is at ground level with no ceiling so I can just walk in with a shovel and start working. No annoying crouching...

    Long story short, if you want to be able to clean the pen easily, choose a height that you can comfortably stand in or is low enough with access from above to reach in with a shovel... Either way, it should be more than tall enough for a duck.
     
  4. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks guys!

    I figured it would depend on breed, obviously the tall strutters need more room than a micro. But I didn't know about the others, when they stretch and flap. I reckon 3-4 would do... I could have that 3' off the ground and still be able to reach in and get all the floor from the side... maybe.

    Any breed suggestions? Two ducks... pen being 4'x8' aka 32 square feet... with a 'pond' and a house... 3-4' in height... with foraging/yard time when possible/safe?

    Of course, that's all contingent on being able to FIND duckies around here... no way I'll try and ship two little ones... and it seems kinda... well NOT frugal to buy an incubator for two eggs so I think duckling is the way to go if we go ducky.
     
  5. Duck_feeder

    Duck_feeder Drowning in feathers!

    519
    4
    131
    Oct 22, 2009
    Chicago
    Quote:All six of Nettie's and my ducks were shipped to us over 2000 miles from California (4 different shipments over the past 1.5 years). I was a bit apprehensive too about shipping newly hatched ducklings, but hatcheries do it all the time with few problems.

    I'm biased towards runners. I love their unique shape and more active lifestyles (we can leash them and take them on walks!). They're good layers so I haven't had to buy a single egg since I had them in my home (plus we feed them flax seed also so they are healthier than regular chicken eggs because of the omega-3's). Then again, I don't eat that many eggs so I'm usually up to my neck in them... [​IMG]

    If you put a top on your pen (highly recommended for any outdoor pens), I'd err on having more head room.
     
  6. 1lpoock

    1lpoock Spruce Creek Waterfowl

    Apr 20, 2009
    Sandusky, Ohio
    Get a pair of calls...they are so nice and fun to watch!
     
  7. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, I finally put the question to a vote... at the supper table I asked the kids "Chicken or Duck?"

    DD said "Ducky!!" (very emphatic)

    DS said "err.... chicken?" (didn't seem too salient on that at all)

    Hubby said "I don't care. You'll be the one fussing with them (after pen building of course)"

    So we've got basically two 'don't cares' and one extreme duck vote... and then me...
    I could go either way, but I think I'm leaning toward duck at this point... but darned if I can decide on breed.

    They're ALL so cute... buffs, harlies, pekings, khakis... the cuteness scale just explodes when I see the yellow bill, but the brown bills are uber cute too... How the heck am I supposed to decide?!?! GAH! Maybe I'll just build the pen and then take whatever I can get on craigslist.

    Ohhh riddle me this... if I wanted 3 ducks + 1 drake what breeds should I totally stay away from? AKA which ones are monogamous?


    Edit... here's a couple rants worth of ideas and questions (this is what comes of typing AS you think)...

    More questions.... idears... etc...

    I was thinking...

    Making a fully secure pen, love something like Scott (Ozark Bantam)'s pen.
    That is something that we could build I think, raised over the patio...
    If the water tub was moved to one end, rather than centered like Scott's, then that end could be off the patio to help with splashing, draining, etc.??
    Wondering about sand (box?) or even astroturf* flooring and if doing that if we should slant the whole floor towards the grass for draining.
    OR if hardware cloth floor like Scott's, and just give the patio a hose down would be best??
    (that area I'm thinking of draining to is DIRT, and rocks... and that's it so it needs all the help it can get!!)

    Thinking... have an area (possibly a mobile one) with 3-4' fencing for supervised play in the backyard. That would only be on nice days (so it wouldn't be bad to hang out there with them for an hour or two, reading/yard work), when the dogs are secured in the house, etc. So they could get some foraging and exploring time in. But I want to make sure that on not great days, or busy days, etc. that their pen is still enough space for them to be healthy and happy.

    So, my questions...

    Is Astroturf safe for duckie tootsies??
    What HEIGHT would the pen need to be?? Can't seem to find specs for that... anyone with Campbells??
    If you had two campbells what's the smallest 'yard' space you'd allow? House space? Tub space? What about for four?
    -Just this pen or this pen plus the roaming time-

    If anyone has thoughts on those questions feel free to jot me a note, or post here? And thanks for any info! [​IMG]


    Great Post Amiga! It's nice to see my idea is also used by someone else!
    (so when I tell hubby I can say someone else did it first = I'm not crazy and avoid the white coat a wee bit longer!)

    Here's another one for you guys... anyone ever had/seen a split level pen? Perhaps with astro floor, and house on the top?
    And then the bottom could have wire/sand/astro and the 'pond', feed and water?
    If you did that, how wide would a ramp need to be for a Campbell size duck to use it (assuming they bothered of course)
    Would you need a rail on the ramp or would you let it alone? What about degree? Is 45° too steep?

    Just a side thought that came to me... way to add some floor space to a confined pen, keep the housing dry (away from the water)?
    Whole thing still 100% Hardware Clothed as we've got dogs, cats, owls, skunks, opossums, foxes, coons and who knows what else in the area.

    I think I could build a pen that was 4' deep (from where I'm standing to clean it) by 5' long over the patio easily... without it interfering with traffic patterns, and it could be put right in front of the patio door (that we don't use) so while sitting in the study (technically the master bedroom but for us it is our computer room) we can see the duckies. Second option would be to extend another two feet off the patio, and put the tub there (again, love Scott's design for that). Third idea would be to do 1 and maybe 2 and then add the top level -depends on responses- to increase the space. #1 would only be 20sf #2 would make it 28sf #3 would be 40 or 56 depending on whether #2 was incorporated.

    Of course, with a top level I'll need to be able to clean it easily... and I'm only 5'6" tall... if both levels were 4' there's just no way... esp. if you add the whole thing being raised...

    I'm liking Campbells (if I had more space I'd go Pekin but for a small enclosure I think C's may be better??) and the limit for fowl in our town on our size lot is 4 MAX. So... anyone with Campbells especially... would #1 be enough space for 2? 4? Would adding #2 make it enough for 2? 4? What about the top level thing, enough room? And more thoughts on height are appreciated... I'm having trouble finding height info for these guys. I don't want them to feel caged (even if they are) so I want it tall enough for comfort... but I also want to be able to clean the darned thing.

    As always, any advice is much appreciated. [​IMG]

    OR... suppose we could extend the 'run' further out over the dirt... that's another way to add SF... ohhh... what if I did #1 and #2 but the 'house' was raised with ramp at the patio end of things... as far from the pond as possible... short enough that I could clean it, and still have it raised... ohhh I think I like it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  8. Duck_feeder

    Duck_feeder Drowning in feathers!

    519
    4
    131
    Oct 22, 2009
    Chicago
    Quote:Victor and Ming Mei live in a split level pen. You can see Nettie's post about the pen from a few months back:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=238885

    We figured that 30º is about as steep as the ramp should be. The problem isn't going up the ramp, it's going down. I also wouldn't recommend having a step at the top of the ramp like we do - they tend to just jump down and can't stop themselves on the ramp very well.... kamikaze ducks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  9. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] Oh that's great. Now that I've pretty well settled on ducks over clucks I'm just going bananas with all the info hunting... I had all that for clucks... including a coop design I love... now I get to do all that for ducks... oh well, better than yardwork in this icky weather right?
     
  10. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, still can't decide on a breed. There is a farm somewhat near us (bit of a drive but still infinitely less expensive than shipping) that has several breeds. That's a possible.

    But, sexing ducklings is HARD from what I hear... If I got all drakes I'd be majorly bummed = no eggs at all.
    If I got 2 & 2 then I'd have two breeding pairs (with monogamous couples?)
    If I got 3 & 1 then that drake would have a harem... but I'm not sure which breeds do okay with those numbers.

    Seems like I read somewhere that some ducks pair off and that's that... no roaming... which could leave an extra girl with no... company, which seems kind of mean. So in a breed like that (again, donno which breeds) it'd be best to have 2 and 2...

    But then I heard there were breed/s that didn't mind being the Rooster... so if it was 3 ducks 1 drake it'd be perfect.

    I think it'd be safer to aim for one of the harem-able breeds, but I can't find a list of those... anyone know?

    And riddle me this. Since ducks are hard to sex early... should I just get the four I'm allowed and hope for the best... or should I maybe 6 and then if I get landed with three drakes, well that's okay 'cuz I got my 3 girls too? And then see about rehoming the extra two I don't need?

    I just don't know. Opinions?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by