Recently we received this question;
“Do your chickens and ducks live in the same coop?”
When we first got our ducks they did share the coop with the chickens. This was fine and didn’t seem to be a problem. However as time went on the ducks seemed to prefer nesting right under the chicken roost in the poop and all. We tried closing off this area and that seemed to work fine, but it still bothered me that they were basically nesting in the chickens septic tank.
We keep wood shavings on the floor of the coop as this makes cleanup easier and provides great fodder for the compost heap. However, it does not make for good nesting, and unlike chickens ducks do not roost, they sleep on the ground. We were making plans to acquire more ducks so we decided it was time to make them a place of their own.
Ducks really don’t require much as far as shelter is concerned, they actually prefer to sleep out in the open, rain or shine. They do need protection from predators as we learned this past winter. For us we soon learned with a little practice ducks can be herded like sheep and will usually go with little fuss into their pen.
Our Duck Pen and House
Three things I wanted when I set out to build our Duck Pen.
- I wanted it to be mobile or at least easily moved by 2 people.
- I wanted it to be simple and something I could build in a day or less.
- I wanted it to be inexpensive and I looked for materials I already had.
I am pleased to say I accomplished all three. In fact our 10′x10′x7′ pen ended up costing nothing except for a days worth of labor.
For this I used an old chain link dog kennel that we had laying around that we purchased when we lived in the suburbs. Way out here in the boonies we are able to let our little Pearl run free so there is no need to keep her in a cage. This is the type of kennel that is panels that are 10′ long and 6′ tall. You can purchase these at most home improvement type stores but they can be pricey so if you are on a limited budget there are better options.
Because I wanted to be able to move it if the need arises I opted not to put posts in the ground to attach the panels to. Instead I used heavy duty cable ties to attach the panels together. These work very well and the pen is almost as stable as it would be if I had used posts.
The Duck House
Again I wanted something mobile and realizing that ducks don’t really require much for shelter I set out to design a nesting box more than I did a duck house. I consulted the library and the internet before I started building and became frustrated at the elaborate designs that people think are necessary for ducks. I finally decided that most of these designs were for people and not for ducks.
Ducks will often huddle together when they sleep. They do this for warmth and security, strength in numbers. Most ducks only require 1 to 1.5 square feet of nesting space whether they are setting a clutch of eggs or huddled together for a nights sleep. We like to keep around 10 ducks so this equals 10 – 15 square feet.
The duck nest box is 7′ long 2′ deep and 2′ tall in the front and 18″ in the back. When I first constructed it the front was completely open. Since that time I have had a hen go broody and is setting a clutch of eggs. To keep the distractions of the other ducks to a minimum I closed off half the front to give her more privacy. We also temporarily moved the other ducks to another pen.
The front of the nest box has two uprights as high as the fence with 2″x4″ welded fence wire attached to keep weight to a minimum. This also adds security from predators, as well as the fence wire attached to the top of the pen.
All in all it turned out not too bad and because I used all found or lying around materials it didn’t cost me a dime.