Winter housing for mallards...what do you think of my idea?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by cymbaline, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. cymbaline

    cymbaline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know I'm crazy for thinking about winter when it's over 80° outside, lol, but I want to be prepared. I only barely got their permanent pen built last year before the snow hit (and I mean HIT - almost 2 feet...power was out for days). Since I was rushed, I did an admittedly poor job on their house; it sufficed, but I'd like to rethink things this year now that I know what is helpful and realistic.
    Right now I have 3 boys and 2 girls (which I know isn't ideal), and I don't believe I can lock them all up together - chaos would ensue. They will need separate houses, or at least a divider. One large house is just too big to reach through to clean; I learned this with the house I'm about to dismantle. If it's not easy to keep up with, I probably won't do it, lol...that's just me. I like to make things easy on myself. ;)
    So I was thinking about a pull out tray made from a plastic storage tote. Then it hit me - why not just make the house out of a tote? Turn it upside down, cut an entrance door in the side, and throw some bedding inside. Cleaning would be as simple as flipping it over, removing the lid, and dumping into a bag, then hosing it off if needed. They could come and go as they please instead of being locked in all night, and it would be water tight (unlike their current house which leaks, ugh). From what I've read on here, I feel pretty confident that they would stay warm enough - I think the coldest it got last year was in the upper single digits for a week or so.

    So, after all of that, my question is: how much space is recommended for a mallard in a house that they can leave freely and probably only use on very cold nights? Does a little over 2 sq ft per duck sound good? For those of you who only have larger birds, keep in mind (with the exception of Mr. Chunky Duck aka Bullwinkle) they are only a little bigger than a football.

    Oh, and safety isn't an issue at all. Their pen is super secure; it's covered top to bottom with an underground apron, all in 1/2" hardware cloth. :D Cost quite a few hundred dollars, but the peace of mind is worth every penny! I haven't locked them up in their house at night in months.
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    How many totes are you thinking? 2 one for boys one for girls? and then let them decide who sleeps where? not sure you could find a tote large enough for 5 ducks and them be able to tolerate each other. Sorry I have forgot how much footage ducks need will have to look that up. this says 3-4' per duck http://www.poultryconnection.com/quackers/care.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  3. cymbaline

    cymbaline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, two - one for boys and one for girls, or however they decide to split up. Usually Ruby will run around with Bullwinkle, so they may decide to bunk up and leave Turkey with the other boys, who knows. I can always add a third if I come across some more girly-ducks too. ;) Plus I can put them away in the summer and leave them with more floor space.
    That link is helpful, but it doesn't specify what size duck that is for, so I would think that recommendation would be to accommodate all size ducks. Mallards are so much smaller than pretty much all other domestics, I feel like they wouldn't need as much room, right? If a Pekin needs 3-4 sq ft, surely a Mallard would be fine with around 2 sq ft, especially since they wouldn't be trapped and could leave at any time. This is my train of thought and reasoning, anyway. :)
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Sounds like a good plan, I remember a couple years ago someone used a large tote to make a coop for their ducks. I'll see if I can find it. But when you get it done make a thread on it because it sounds like it would be a good way to have housing as long as pen and run was very secure as you say yours is.
     
  5. cluckcluckluke

    cluckcluckluke Overrun With Chickens

    When you are done, may I please see a photo of this master piece?
    Also, I am here in Aus and have no idea what you are all talking about with 'totes'???
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    If I understand correctly, it's a kind of large plastic bin. Often the lids are hinged, but not always. I used one for about a week or two as a brooder. It was two feet deep, five feet long and 2.5 feet wide.
     
  7. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I get the idea but frankly plastic doesn't breathe and holds moisture, i'd opt for wood but that's just me. I have a 4x4 building for four calls ducks lol it's the minimal coop from the chicken coops for dummies, it is a good coop easily divided for small ducks.
     
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Yep it would most likely sweat inside with out proper ventilation holes drilled around the top would help and of course open door. Just an idea.
     
  9. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, ventilation would be extremely important!
     
  10. cymbaline

    cymbaline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I built a 4x4 building for them but it's just too hard to clean. I could barely reach all the way to the other side, and I'm not a small woman, lol. Plus I screwed up the roof and it often leaked. :\ I feel like the OSB stayed icky too, no matter how much I swept it. I made it up off the ground, attached to the support posts for the hardware cloth, so that they wouldn't lose such a big chunk of floor space and they would have shelter and dry food. But then I had to help them in and out of it every time. :| I really like the idea of them being able to come and go as they please, if they get hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, or just need to run around or swim. I've seen people build "duckports" (haha, like a carport, get it?) for them so their food stays dry and they have shade, so I think I'm going to give that a try instead.

    If these don't work out, I'm probably going to go with a building just off the ground with a slide out plastic tray for the bedding.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013

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