Think like a duck? Ideas for inside a duck house?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by duckitup, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Looking for ideas to make the inside of a new duck house we are building look more like the outside so it will feel more natural to the ducks when they are locked up at night. Winter is coming and when the snow piles up and the pond freezes over life is going to get boring for them. My aim is to keep them as happy as possible in their new winter digs (duck house and a large fenced in area to roam during the day. In the summer they are used to free ranging Dawn till dusk, house at night)

    So, imagine you are a duck.....what do you want in your house?

    My ideas so far:

    My ducks (Indian Runners) love to forage so I'm thinking about growing pans of grass/fodder and burying meal worms or something in it for them to pick around at.

    Separating areas off with tall grasses/sunflower stalks for them to nest in/under or to play with.

    Maybe piling extra bedding in spots (I use shavings and straw deep litter method) so that the ground isn't all flat and would be more like being outside with different "topography".

    That's all I have so far. Am I crazy to even be thinking about this? Anyone have ideas? Think like a duck! Thanks!
     
  2. buff goose guy

    buff goose guy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's a good idea but what your imagining is more of an aviary. If the run is too small all of that will be a HUGE! mess, with mud everywhere and dead plants it's really best to supply a larger area.
     
  3. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry if I wasn't clear. I was talking about their house, not their run area. The run will be roughly 60x30, maybe a little bigger depending on how much fencing I have. Plenty of space for 16 ducks I feel. It's just that they are used to being out with out a fence all the time in the summer. In the winter they don't go far with the amount of snow we get and tend to stick around where straw is laid down, so I think the outdoor space will be adequate for them.

    I want to make the inside of the house where they will be locked in at night only, to be more outdoor like. No pools or anything because that would be WAY too messy. Just more natural than 4 walls and some bedding on the floor.

    The fodder grown for them I would assume they would pick around in and eat up in a day. Then I would replace it the next with a fresh one? I'd have to replace it every day anyhow as it would probably freeze after a while.

    I just went back and read what I wrote and it does sound like I meant plants. I din't mean live plants. I could never keep live plants alive in the winter in a duck house in Wisconsin!! :) What I meant to say is to use dead grasses and dead sunflower stalks left over from this years crop to make sort of hiding areas for them.
     
  4. Bills vs Beaks

    Bills vs Beaks Overrun With Chickens

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    Well If you're gonna lock them in at night, and not let them in in the day, I don't see why you would try to put stuff inside. I don't think they care, because they just sleep. First priority for the house is dry and warm, if you've got that then mess around all you want. But it sound like a lot of work to grow stuff everyday for them, and I don't have time for that. If you do, lucky you!

    But my concern is, if you don't put moisture absorbing stuff(and sunflower stalks are not absorbent, uless sunflowers are different there?) then it will get poopy and they will get dirty and wet.
     
  5. DancingWthDucks

    DancingWthDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like your idea of having lots of bedding for them to root around in and treats to find. Maybe put piles of dead, but dry leaves for them to snuffle around in.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
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  6. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess I'm still not being very clear. I've seen some chicken people use branches instead of boards for roosting spots which makes it more natural for them. I'm trying to do the same kind of thing. Not make roosting spots, ducks don't need those, just anything that will make their world more natural. The house will have shavings and straw on the floor. I use the deep litter method and will continue to do so in the new house. However I wanted to use natural materials to create spaces within the inside. Using tall dried grasses and sunflower stalks (since that's what I have on hand and is already in their natural environment to sort of lean into the corners while anchoring them into the deep litter to create a sort of nesting box without the wood or plastic. A little lean to so to speak so they can get under something like they would outside to sleep. In the wild, ducks don't lay in neatly made boxes of wood and they don't generally sleep out in the open. They like to find places of safety and make nests in tall grasses or reeds by the water etc. I'm just trying to make their world more natural for them. Thought someone out there may have tried the same thing and could give some insight and ideas.

    They won't be locked out of the house during the day. The run and the house will be attached and they will be free to come and go as they please during the day.

    I've never tried the fodder thing before but I have sprouted seeds for my self and after all I've read about it on here it doesn't seem like a whole lot of work to me or that it takes a lot of time once you have your system going. Some of the people on here have really great pretty simple systems. So I don't think it will take too much time to get that going and keep it going.

    My ducks don't just sleep at night. Maybe they are an exception to the rule but they don't. They wander around, pick at stuff, lay their eggs and quack at each other. I want their inside environment to be enriching. Of course ducks don't "need" all this stuff and they might not care either way but I don't speak duck and can't ask them. I just like to spoil my ducks.
     
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  7. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks chickygirl7. I've been meaning to go collect some leaves. I'll get on that.
     
  8. DancingWthDucks

    DancingWthDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know what you mean...you can hear my duck snuffling through their bedding and quacking to each flock (we have two groups of duck, but they are housed in separate coops near each other) hours after they are put to bed.
     
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  9. RachG75

    RachG75 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I get it! and I love it. I have been trying to come up with more boredom busting ideas too now that winter is coming. We are in the process of building a large yard area - I think you can technically call it an aviary (12x18' with a 100g pond and it will be partially roofed and the other half fully covered with hardware cloth), which will lead into a small room (we are jokingly calling it the breezeway) for food and water and that leads into the house (6x10' four solid walls and bedding boring!). I will be able to close them into the house and they can still get to the food and water when the weather gets really bad.

    I like to spoil my ducks too. [​IMG]
     
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  10. RachG75

    RachG75 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know it's not "natural" but I put a baby mirror in the house recently and they were cautious at first but now they like it. It's always filthy in the morning from them messing with it. Every time I put them away at night the first thing they do is check on those other two ducks. lol
     

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