We Need Your Input! 4 Season Duck Coop & Run Construction Suggestions & Photos

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by canard, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. canard

    canard Chirping

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    Jul 22, 2012
    We need & value your input!!!! Please help us!

    I know lots of people have posted about coops & runs in the past. We need to construct a large coop & run. We currently have 22 ducks....8 Pekin, 11 Khakis & 3 runners. We may add to our flock. They currently reside in 3 separate coops at night.

    We had one more Runner but a hawk ate it. We dispatched one opossum & 1 raccoon. We have a dog who leaves his scent all over the place, barks loud & chases critters. I think his smell scares off some potential predators.

    Potential predators in our area include at least all of the following: opossums, raccoons, fox, coyote, skunks, possible lost domestic dogs, owls, blue heron & hawks.

    We get all 4 seasons. It is hot & humid in summer & cold in winter with snow & freezing rain. It rarely snows more than 2-4 inches at a time, but we do get the occasional "snow days" with at least 6 inches of snow per night a few days in a row. We often get a lot of rain in the spring and early summer. Sometimes we get heavy thunder storms in spring or summer with a large amount of water in a short period of time. There will be a lot of leaves falling on the pen and run in the fall.

    We bought a lot of rehabbed wood at auction. We have a LOT of 2 x 12s and 2 x 16s. We also got some wood doors at auction & thought we might use them if we really want to add a hillbilly element to our coop. We plan to purchase other supplies.

    We would like to build a large coop with divided sections & a spacious covered run. The flocks are somewhat integrated but often stay self-segregated. We raised the Pekin from day old ducklings & rescued the others. We also have too many Khaki drakes. We would like an attached covered run.

    We need to take into consideration roofing materials, insulation, weatherproofing, electric, ventilation, duck safety, ease of cleaning & drainage (under the water sources in the coop & near the buckets & "pond" in the pen). We might add to our flock or need to separate ducks from drakes, so we would like to have spare separate sections of coop. We want them to be able to spread their wings & not feel too confined.

    We want the sections to open easily into the run so we can let the ducks out before leaving for work in the morning. Perhaps you can give pointers on types of buckets, "ponds", waterers/heated waterers or heaters to keep the water from freezing in winter. We may need heat lamps on very cold days or nights. We will collect eggs in the morning & have to be to work early & are NOT morning people.

    So far we have considered using wood, roofing materials, some type of insulation & hardware wire for the coop. I have looked into a large drainable poly waterer/tank to be their "pond" inside of the run. I have read about people putting down a layer of gravel or pea gravel & then sand on top for drainage in a run. Do you guys then also put straw or wood shavings on top to that? How do you guys prevent frost bite? We have hard clay soil that turns to slick, sticky mud when wet. We want to build the coop off of the ground to allow for drainage & help deter predators. The run would most likely surround the coop.

    I have also read about the "deep litter" method. Do most of you rely on that method, especially in winter, or do you use some other strategy??? I currently use hay & have used Stall Dry and Sweet PDZ to soak up some moisture & ammonia.

    I have read many ideas but confess I feel overwhelmed. We have the following books:
    Hobby Farms Ducks, How to Build Animal Housing, Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks & Keeping Ducks and Geese.

    Please provide suggestions & recommendations on building materials, tools needed, design layouts, predator safety, slope of run to allow proper drainage???, construction techniques, pitfalls to avoid, mistakes you would avoid if you could do it all over, minimum space per duck, etc.

    We also are fans of Craigslist & thought perhaps we might get some functional windows for near the top of the coop.

    We are not rich but we are not dead broke either. We do not mind getting items second hand. We would like to keep expenses reasonable but build a structure that will be functional for years to come.

    Please help us DESIGN our COOP & RUN! Please help us BEFORE we start to build and make mistakes! We value your input. Please let us know about other factors we need to take into consideration that we might not even know about!
     

  2. canard

    canard Chirping

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    Jul 22, 2012
    BTW: I mentioned I use hay for bedding but actually use straw more often.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Thats alot of questions LOL here is a link about duck housing https://www.backyardchickens.com/search.php?search=Duck+housing it may help you decide how you want to go. I will add I use deep litter always have and for all my flock including my geese and chickens I like it the best, I use pine shaving because I think it takes the mess ducks make better than straw, I used straw about 8 yrs ago when first starting with ducks hated it. But I am going to try adding horse stall pellets to my shavings to see if that absorbs even more, rave reviews on here about it. I believe you can't have enough ventilation for ducks/ well for any fowl. windows, venting up around the roof. just makes for a healthier flock, we bought all our windows at Habitat for Humanity resale store. In the dead of winter I keep the upper part of the windows open for ventilation. lower half closed so there isn't a draft blowing over the flock.make sure you use 1/2" hardware cloth over every opening so you don't have to worry about preds getting in. I have one question if you use the doors you bought why would that offer a hillbilly effect? this is coming for someone who lives in hillbilly country. lol I'll see if i can find some info for you about ventilation. my flock free ranges during the day all out pools are away from the main houses to keep the mud to a minimum. . If your going to put them inside a large run I'd use landscaping material with sand over it and pea gravel over it all then place your pools on top. just an idea. And You do not need to use heat in your coops, they all are wearing down. [​IMG] more reading if interested http://books.google.com/books?id=o0...=onepage&q=Fresh air housing for fowl&f=false
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012
  4. canard

    canard Chirping

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    Jul 22, 2012
    Hi Miss Lydia & Other Duck Lovers!

    Miss Lydia, I see you were the only one brave enough so far to tackle my long thread.

    I have looked online and in the various books I own. My boyfriend, who is mechanically inclined, keeps imploring me to design our coop & run. Other than a few wood shop classes I took ages ago, I do not have experience designing and building things. We got one of our current coops from a person on Craigslist. I have yet to see one big enough for our entire flock. Most "store bought" coops online seem to cater to chickens; the coops and runs are just WAY too small. So, our only option seems to build our own.

    I would really love to whip up a coop design but have never raised ducks in the WINTER before. I know those of you who live in colder, snowier regions could offer me valuable advice. I hope others will be kind enough to offer some tips to shelter the ducks from local elements and predators. For instance, do most of you have wire mesh with drainage in the coop under the waterers? Does that defeat insulation in the walls and make the coop too drafty or lead to ice build up on interior walls? Or, do you guys have a solid floor and walls and ventilation only near the top of the coop? Miss Lydia, thank you for pointing out duck safety with the wire mesh in all ventilated areas. How does that work with the windows? I currently use the wood pellets under the ducks water buckets in their coops & under a mini tub/pool in their pen. They do help soak up the excess moisture. However, Miss Lydia, I have never mixed them with their other bedding as I thought it would be too uncomfortable for them. Miss Lydia, have you ever used Stall Dry or Sweet PDZ, they both seem to soak up moisture and neutralize ammonia. I like Sweet PDZ best.

    I am hoping people from the duck community will offer me collective advice. The online resources & books seem to offer some good ideas, but I think collective advice from those with experience will make me better equipped to proceed with a viable design that could actually be built this fall.

    I do not want to overlook things that might be readily apparent to people who have already safely housed ducks in severe weather conditions. What I really fear is that we will invest a lot of time and money and then find the coop not very functional. I really do not want to build a coop and run more than once & I really want it to be safe, easy to clean & comfortable & heathy for the ducks.

    Miss Lydia, I appreciate the ideas you have given me and will check out the websites you suggested.

    BTW: I was thinking of using the doors not as doors but walls, hence the hillbilly element. LOL. I doubt I really will though!
     
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Using doors as walls would work. when i mentioned it to my husband he said us hillbillies just make our doors. LOL sounds like to me you need to be looking at plans for a mini barn, in my duck house because my drakes would not tolerate sleeping together, we have made stalls, the drakes have their own bedrooms and the girls are divided up in how they came to us so sisters sleep together, same for our geese. it has worked out great, if you are determined to put food and water inside[even though it's not recommended because of the mess they make] you can find how others did it in the BYC archives using hardware cloth to set the buckets etc on. with an opening in the floor. Using deep litter will not only give the floor more insulation during cold months but will in the long run keep you from having to clean so often, I only clean my houses out once a year and then only clean all the bedding out of the duck side. the chicken side only gets about half completely taken out, I go in every day and turn the bedding with a pitch fork the bedding is about 12" deep at this point, in the duck side it's about the same, I will use a flat end shovel to remove the really nasty stuff then turn their bedding and spray Oxine AH on it all. or poultry protector which ever I am using that particular week. I have used sweet pdz but it is too pricey for me, I have used baking soda also [buying it at Sams Club to get the big bag,] but since I turn and spray daily I really don't have much smell. I have alot of windows for ventilation also, You can also use lime to help with moisture they have lime at TSC that is safe to use around out flocks. you just sprinkle it around the bedding and turn it in. I really think with the many ducks you have you'd be better off going with a small barn plan[think mini barn] good luck Iook forward to seeing what other suggestions you get and your finished place. As far as insulating My opinion is your wasting your money, and you'll have to cover the insulation with something because they will nibble or eat whatever you put up lol
     
  6. kellypepperk

    kellypepperk Songster

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    Delaware County, NY
    We only have 9 ducks and we don't need a run, but we're going to use a re-purposed bunk bed mattress base for the floor and pallets for the framing with old doors as the siding. I'm thinking of making the roof a grass roof, but I'm not sure about that yet. Upstate NY hillbilly, thank you!
    Good luck!
     
  7. canard

    canard Chirping

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    Jul 22, 2012
    Dear Miss Lydia & Kellypepperk!

    Thank you sooooo much for your responses. Hopefully, more people will continue to chime in too!

    I am NOT mechanically inclined, but my boyfriend is, so any coop & run ideas any of you duck lovers have to offer are welcome.

    Kellypepperk, I am glad to see someone else is using repurposed items. It is so cool that you used doors for the siding of your coop. I actually got a bunch of doors really cheap at auction. Hillbillies unite! I visited Upstate NYa few times. It is so beautiful. I loved the historic farm houses & rolling hills. I mainly saw the Finger Lakes region. I visited a park which entailed a TON of walking & included beautiful rock formations, a running stream with periodic deep pools of water, a natural rock "water slide", and a majestic waterfall surrounded by a pool of water. Perhaps you know it by name. I forget if it was called Buttermilk Falls or if I am confusing the name with another park I saw.

    I think I will use the deep litter method for sure. Miss Lydia, thank you for the detailed description of the specific supplies you use and how you actually do the deep litter method. Thanks to your help, I think I get the swing of it now. It makes me a lot more confident heading into winter. I was thinking of using insulation because I had read that without it there can be ICE BUILD UP on the inside walls of the coop. Temperatures get very cold off and on any time from October through May. In late December through mid March, temperatures can dip near zero and at times with the wind chill it is in the teenage subzero temperatures. One winter we had over a month straight of temperatures below 32. Last winter was the mildest I can ever recall. However, the winter before was the longest EVER. We were all so moody. By mid April we were all asking, REALLY? I agree that with their natural down & dry bedding the ducks should be able to stay warm & comfortable. They are all feathered.

    Your comment about the ducks trying to eat the insulation rang so true! I laughed out loud! My spoiled ducks got 2 pounds of frozen peas today. I then sat on the deck steps and cut up 3 big cucumbers for them. My dog sat next to me and got treats too. 2 of my Pekin "dabbled / nibbled" at my toes while they impatiently waited for me to chop up each handful of their treat! : )
     

  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    I think ya'll will do well and enjoy this beautiful fall time with your ducks, soon we'll all be battening down the hatches for the coming winter. My ducks/geese stay outside all winter during the day, they don't stand around alot because they are keeping their feet and legs warm but they seem to prefer being outside to being in. My dh built our duck house out of left over construction material that our son brought home from his job, it was going to the land fill,what a waste. made a great house.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
  9. kellypepperk

    kellypepperk Songster

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    Delaware County, NY
    Canard,
    I grew up about 20 minutes North of Buttermilk Falls (and park). But, we're in the Catskill Mntns now and boy does it get cold! I forgot to mention that right now the ducks' temporary shelter is an old truck cap. Ironically in my newest Mother Earth News newsletter there are instructions for a DIY pen made from an old camper top. I hate waste and like to try to reuse items that we wouldn't usually think of. For our chicken coop we did buy a few new things - like plywood for the flooring and a few 2x4s for the roofing and we did splurge on new metal roofing, but other than that everything was recycled or repurposed. We used pallets for our framing and got a load of pine slab scraps from a local lumber yard for no charge and another load of old barnboard from a friend for siding. Our chicken coop door was from the garbage guy down the road. The picture below was before I cleaned it all up - this picture was still from the "construction stage." Oh, and we used old shower doors for windows... we plan on using more old shower doors for a greenhouse that we're going to start in the Spring.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cheers all!
     
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    I like your chicken coop, but I have to be honest your duck housing is not safe. weighted down chicken wire with rocks is not going to keep preds from getting your ducks.
     

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