Winter housing ? ? ?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Arielle, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm new to muscovies and need a little help with winter housing. How large should the house be for 3 muscovies in New England. THey free range during the day. ANd sleep in a plastic box in my house currently. WOuld like to get them outside before winter sets in and have the house be secure from coyote, etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  2. Rain Rider

    Rain Rider Out Of The Brooder

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    May 17, 2009
    Get one of those chain link dog kennels. 10'x10' would be fine. Get a large dog house and put it in the kennel. Use chicken wire or more chain link to make a roof over the kennel. This will keep out the coons. Line the bottom with stones/bricks/railroad ties/etc. to discurage preditores digging in. Stack straw around the dog house, the straw will last all winter and can be composted in your, or a friends, garden in the spring. this way you can lock them up every night. Its not cheep to set up, but a good long term set up. Shopping on Craigs List will save you a lot of money too. This is the set up I have and it is working very well. You will find the 8'x8' kennel to be too small because of how much room the straw takes up.
     
  3. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    This is what I made for my ducks to sleep in. Mine free range all day and go to bed at night on their own and wait to be locked up. Do not count on chicken wire to keep your ducks safe. Raccoons can tear through it easily.
    [​IMG]

    I also made this for my 2 muscovy drakes before I added my girls. They happily slept in it together. It is a 50 gallon tote. Now is the perfect time to pick one up cheap. The christmas tree totes come in the 50 gallon size. I did use a bungee cord to make sure nothing got the lid off eventhough it was on really snugly. You could also build a door for a dog house or dogloo that locks to keep them safe. I don't see a reason to spend the money on a kennel if they are already used to free ranging.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    edited to add: I would use bails of straw to block the wind for a dog house or tote.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  4. Rain Rider

    Rain Rider Out Of The Brooder

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    You have a very good point about the chicken wire. Its just the best I could do with the time and the money I had. I've seen a coon climb up the side at pat at it, but I guess they dont think its stable enough to walk on, cause they have never tried to walk accross it. Hopefully, next year I can build a sloped solid roof for it. But I have 12 of them, otherwise, I love yours! Arielle, go with her idea if you only have 3. Scrap my idea.
     
  5. teamsunbelt

    teamsunbelt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Midland, NC
    great topic. i just got 5muscovy ducklings last night. i was wondering about long term housing as well. i think i lucked out with 2 10-10-6 kennels today. i will build them a little shed to hide out in.
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Southern New England
    I have found half inch hardware cloth (a wire mesh) seems to work very well. It's a bit pricey, so I use it only on the night pen (Little Fort Knox). But we have all manner of predators and pests here. I also have two strands of equine tape (electric fence), one at about 4 inches above the ground, one at about a foot and a half. I use a Patriot fence charger attached to a battery.

    That said, my runners only use LFK in spring summer and fall. Due to the fact that my runners never read the book about being winter hardy, they sleep at night in their own "room" in the walkout basement in the winter. They are outside all day right now (very mild days), and will be outside as much as possible once the cold comes in.

    I like the idea of stacking the straw bales around the house for the muscovies. That's something I had considered before I discovered how much the runners were being run down by the cold at night.

    What I'd like to emphasize is that protection from the cold and wet matters, and protection from predators matters, too.

    To prevent digging under, I laid coated chain link fence across the bottom of the day pen, and half inch hardware cloth across the bottom of the porch of LFK. The footings under the porch go in about a foot on three sides, then I have an apron of a foot or two of concrete block and stone on the fourth side (too many roots and rocks to dig down deep enough).
     
  7. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    Quote:Well, you do what you can. [​IMG] Chicken wire is better than nothing! Hardware cloth is expensive but 2"x4" welded wire fencing works for the top of a kennel too and is less expensive. Welded wire comes in lots of different sizes that would stop a raccoon. I have my chickens in a kennel covered in a tarp that has kept out all night time predators as far as I can tell but they do get locked into a coop at night. Here is what they sleep in and is another option for ducks too. I got the playhouse on CL for $30. I used tile board for the floor.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. stillmecle

    stillmecle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2011
    Des Moines, IA
    I bought a 10x10 dog kennel on CL for $25, found this dog house on CL for free, it is a big box that has insulation 6" thick with a lid that lifts off the top, which is insulated too. I put the dog house on the outside of the kennel though and cut a hole in the kennel where it butts up against the hole in the dog house. Then I put 3/4" plywood on the top of the kennel and used wire to attach it together. I then took tarps and enclosed the entire kennel with them, it took 8 tarps overlapped on the top to work. Inside I put straw bales all around the sides. I had extra straw so on the north wall I stacked it taller. I keep the water on a heater and the straw by the water got enclosed in smaller tarps so they don't get wet. Their pool is outside the kennel with a tank heater in it to keep water from freezing. For the winter I put plywood up around the outside of the kennel for a run during the day. I don't let them free roam because I live in the city and in the summer they went street walking 4 blocks away one time. I take the plywood down in the summer and put a short ornamental fence around and they don't try to get out. Hope that all helps if not I can try to take pics. I live in lowa and it gets BURRRRRRR Cold here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  9. John14:6

    John14:6 New Egg

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    I read what Rain Rider wrote, and I have done almost the exact same thing. I have found it to be completely predator proof for the 3 years I've raised chickens. I've never raised chicks in the winter and was wondering if someone could tell me if my set up is sufficient for 6 1/2 week old chicks. 16x8 dog kennel enclosed top to bottom in wire, then a metal dog house inside. The only thing else in there besides the obvious feeder and waterer, is an open stand with 3 nesting boxes that has a roof over it. It's small 4 foot tall, 18 inches deep, and 36 inches long. The dog kennel is in our woods about 175 feet from any electric source. I have 16 chicks and they are feathered out now. I've had them in a shed in rabbit cages, 8 to a cage that is 18x18 inches, and too small now. Don't want them to get bored and start pecking each other. Temps are 50's high and 29 is the low tonight.
     

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