Thinking about getting ducks....have a few questions


In the Brooder
Jun 26, 2016
I originally started off wanting to get 5-6 chickens, but with the location of the potential coop/run, that might not be a good idea. The backyard is sloped and gets soggy in the back after rains. Plus, it gets full sun all day as there are no trees around. Plus, the wife said she likes ducks better, so here I am asking questions. Here's what I'm thinking...

We live in a subdivision in the county, so there are no rules regarding livestock. The backyard is approximately 75' x 60' with privacy fence on the back and the neighbors' chainlink on each side. The houses are fairly close together, so I'm needing somewhat quiet birds to keep the neighbors on speaking terms. We have 7 dogs (yes 7), so I'll need to somehow keep them separated. I plan on putting boards on the lower half of the run and hardware mesh on the top. I'm thinking this will keep the dogs, and potential predators from seeing/harming the ducks.

I'm currently thinking 3-4 Welsh Harlequins as they are supposed to be calm and fairly quiet. I'm thinking 3-4 so we can see if waterfowl are for us, and if not, it would be easier to re-home 3 to 4 instead of a 10.

Finally, here's my questions. Sorry it's taken so long...I hope I still have ya...LOL

1. The ducks would probably be housed in a coop/run 90% of the time due to the dogs with only supervised free time. How much space do you think I would need for the 3-4 ducks comfortably? I was originally going to do something like the Wichita Cabin Coop for the chickens, so thinking something like, but with an appropriate coop for the ducks instead of chickens.

2. Am I correct in believing that the Welsh Harlequins are fairly quiet? Even though I've read ducks may not voluntarily go inside the coop at night like chickens, are they noisy at night? While I don't want extremely loud noises in the daytime, I'm more concerned about evening and night.

3. As I stated, I was thinking about the Wichita Coop for the chickens which was about 10'x5' which is 50sq ft. Could 3-4 ducks get by with that, and I build on next summer maybe doubling that? I'm thinking the first part covered with a roof, and the addition just being open with hardware mesh. I don't want to do the birds a disservice by not providing a proper environment.

Sorry for the long post, but I've read hundreds of pages and posts in the last few days, and I figured I'd just ask a few specific questions. Thanks in advance for your help!
It sounds like you and I have a similar set up, except I have no dogs, so, although I do have a 5x15' covered and predator proofed pen that they are locked into at night, I open the door at 6:30 am and they spend the day in the fenced in yard, lounging in the sun, foraging in the grass and swimming in their pool. I can't imagine them (I have 5) being content in their pen 24/7.

That is their pen during construction.
That's what I was afraid of. It seems chickens are more adaptable to confined spaces than ducks are. I can give them some more room, but not until next summer. If I fenced off part of the yard, they could have maybe 16' x 60', but not covered and about 10' from the neighbor's bedrooms. I just thought getting a small number might help me in that regard.
I have 20 (mostly Welsh Harlequins) in a 30' x 10' chain link dog kennel with a attached 10' x 6' coop. I generally let them free range on a one acre pasture from sun up to sun down. However, they are perfectly fine to stay in it if I don't let them out due to predator sightings. I have some that go back to the pen in the afternoons for their siesta every day. :) The main issue with keeping them in is a greater feed consumption and a increase in cleaning and straw usage. If they are not foraging I have to increase their feed.

Mine are quiet unless their is a reason to quack. Dinner is always noisy, but only for the minute or two it takes me to get their feed to them. And they are noisy in the mornings when we walk out to let them out to free range. They have to tell you to hurry up and let them out, then they run out quacking in excitement while my guineas who free range 24/7 run in chirping in excitement to clean up the left over feed.

I have two hunting trained Labs that I was able to train to leave the ducks alone. It took some time but we got there. The dogs come and go in and out of the house as they please and they leave the ducks alone.
They need at least 10 square feet per duck outside and at least 3 square feet inside (although I recommend 5 square feet for inside). For four ducks, the outside area should be at least 40 square feet and the inside at least 12. So the 50 sq. foot is a bit small. Also, small, muddy environments aren’t good for them. They need somewhere dry to sleep and lay, and in a small area, they will drill in the mud and eradicate the grass very quickly, and you’ll have a mess on your hands. In a large pen, they’ll do alright since they can’t turn the entire thing into a mudpit.

Their outdoor pen doesn’t need to be covered (unless you have really heavy problems with aerial predators, but I think the dogs’ presence would deter them). So I think you would do fine with the 16’ by 60’ pen, and locking them in a coop for the night.

They need shade, also. If there are no trees, you’ll have to make some shade.
That's what I was afraid of. It seems chickens need a little more room, but can stay confined more. Ducks can have smaller houses/coops but need a lot more space. I was just hoping having a small number would work for me. The closest tree is three houses away, so there's no shade at all. The only shade would be the roofer over the coop/run.

It looks like I either have to fix the sogginess to house chickens, or figure out a way to fence off the dogs to give the ducks half the yard. Are you saying that I could have the run/coop and leave them out with 3.5 to 4 foot tall fences on each side? I have only seen hawks flying in the neighborhood a few times. In the past 18 years, I've seen one opossum, zero snakes and 3 mice and a few hawks.

I appreciate everyone's help.

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