Self draining duck pen? Is it possible?

JohnsonHomested

In the Brooder
7 Years
Jun 29, 2012
64
0
39
We're new to ducks and it was quite by accident that we acquired this Pekin. I have chickens and while taking in a few chicks for a friend who could not care for them we accepted the baby duck as well. I've been told the duck could be integrated into the flock but I really like the idea of building it a pen with it's very own pond complete with plants and water fall. I know ducks are messier than chickens and I'm trying to lessen the mud. My space is pretty limited so I'm looking for a way to put down enough of a gravel base (or something similar) that would facilitate rinsing the pen on a daily basis. The pen area would be right next to my neighbor with whom I'd like to remain on good terms. I would never have put my big ol' chicken coop next to the neighbor but this is just one duck... Right? Right? I know I've seen photos of new duck ponds on BYC and they looked clean. How did they look six months after install? Can a pen for a single duck be designed and built (and how) to remain attractive or am I completely naïve? Should I even keep a duck by herself without company? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

JohnsonHomested

In the Brooder
7 Years
Jun 29, 2012
64
0
39
400
 

JohnsonHomested

In the Brooder
7 Years
Jun 29, 2012
64
0
39
This is what I had in mind along the side if my house ( which is also my "back porch") along the existing chain link fence.
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
12 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,223
2,869
571
Southern New England
Your idea sounds workable to me. Good drawing.

I have about a 2% slope in the Day Pen. It holds thirteen ducks, and works out well. It is near the middle of the yard, and the low spot on the Day Pen drains into a shallow channel that leads to garden beds. With minor adjustments, I can change where the water flows - into the grapes, into the mixed perennial, into the flower garden.

The base under the swim pans (which I love because I can dump, rinse and refill daily without using tons of water) is now a mix of gravel, sand and organic material (thank you, duckies). It takes a little maintenance, mostly scraping the top layer of organics off from time to time, adding a little play sand, or very rarely, more smooth pea gravel. Oak leaves are marvelous for neutralizing odor, by the way.

The rest of the Day Pen has a lovely compost base, and I top it a few times a week during wet spells with chopped straw. From time to time I rake out some compost for the garden. The compost absorbs poo and odor and water, and draws worms for the ducks to forage. It also nourishes the roots of a nearby sugar maple that provides shade.


Day Pen Newly Built


Recent winter photo of the base in the Day Pen. From inside.
 

bugflipper

Songster
9 Years
Apr 9, 2010
228
22
113
The females are the loudmouth vocal ones so betting the neighbor would rather have a flock of chickens next to them as opposed to a duck. I really like your drawing. It looks like it would work very well to me. I'd suggest a way to pump it out at least weekly and clean to keep bacteria down since it will be pooping in the water. With the vegetation I am unsure because ducks are the closest thing to hogs I have seen. They will devour all set forth in front of them. Maybe try a main focus of stacked rocks for the aesthetics, then try some shrubbery they don't like in containers. I'm thinking maybe evergreens or holly that wouldn't be very palatable.
 

TLWR

Crowing
11 Years
Jul 10, 2010
2,920
340
311
southern AL
Duck needs a friend. So you will be housing 2 ducks. Might want to consider 3 just in case.

Pea gravel.
My first trio of ducks used to stay in what was the dog yard. It is covered in pea gravel. I hosed it down daily.
Pond... good filtration. Do more than you think the pond would ever need. They will eat the plants unless you somehow protect the plants.

My pond has been at least 6 months and probably more like 9 months since I've drained and cleaned it. I do skim it, but it hasn't been drained and cleaned. Likely this month.
Water is green. But it doesn't smell and the ducks have no problem with it. I have a 70 gallon filter. It is also cleaned with the pond. Nasty job, but only done 1 or 2x a year. That's when it stinks, but I just wash stuff in. This year I WILL REMEMBER to do the filter first and then drain the pond so that will help with the smell.


Around my pond is some mossy like grass stuff. No idea what it is or how it got there, but it holds up well to ducks and dogs tromping on it.



If you want plantings to remain nice looking, consider raised beds that the ducks can't get into. Or planting boxes hung from the fence above snacking height.
 
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JohnsonHomested

In the Brooder
7 Years
Jun 29, 2012
64
0
39
Thanks all for the help . I'm in south central Texas so the weather is usually just hot.

I was worried someone would say she needs a friend. It really is the noise level I'm most concerned about. I have a rooster and have had several at once but got rid of them when I realized they tend to crow more when together.

I was hoping to use pond plants for added filtration but had read that they devour everything. Is there no such thing as a duck resistant pond plant? Something they don't like to eat?
 

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