The New Duck Coop!
Construction is complete! The runner ducks now have a new, permanent home here on our little homestead. It should be a safe, predator-proof place for them to sleep, play and lay eggs.
Ducks need a little more wiggle room than chickens. Allow about 4-6 square feet per bird in their duck house and 10-25 square feet per bird for the run. In our case, the house is 4 square feet per bird and the run is 20 square feet per bird. I would go smaller only if you are planning to let them out to free range everyday.
The new duck coop attaches to our chicken coop. That is really for our own convenience – one place to store supplies. There is a nice, wide pathway for a wheelbarrow and a three foot planting bed next to the house. I'm planning to plant the beds with native ferns and evergreen huckleberry.
Some features of the duck coop include a side door into their duck house. That allows us to rake out the bedding easily and collect eggs. I made some super simple nesting boxes to slide in and out of there. There is a flat board along the bottom (covered with straw so you can't see it) with two 12" boards attached at a 90 degree angle. It should be enough to make the space feel private for laying.
We also splurged on way-too-expensive clear corrugated plastic roofing. I wanted the birds to have good daylight access, but also protection from predators trying to climb into the coop. I also wanted them to stay dry. The ducks love the water and the rain, but wet living conditions can lead to health issues.
Total cost for supplies was around $200 – half of which was for the roofing. We salvaged plywood and hardware, including screws, from the old chicken coop. We're planning to paint the duck house portion hot pink again when the weather is drier. The girls digs gotta look good!
There's a little video of the girls moving in (click on the main image above to watch).
It took a couple weekends of hard work and lower back aches from crouching with my big pregnant belly. But the payoff is so worth it! We sat out there Christmas morning watching the ducks explore and enjoy their new digs and it felt like a gift to all of us.
This article originally appeared on hipchickdigs.com. It is re-posted here with permission from the author.
THE WRITER: Renee Wilkinson is the creator of HipChickDigs.com, a popular website dedicated to urban homesteading, edible landscape design, and sustainable living. With a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and garden spade in hand, she has been inspiring urbanites everywhere to get their hands dirty in their own city homesteads.
Are you planning on building a coop this year? What are you biggest concerns?
Chris Regan and Ashley Mayne produce a wide array of delicious greens for the Hudson Valley.
With his new book, Forrest Pritchard tells the stories of 18 farms from all across America.
Forrest Pritchard and Smith Meadows are prime examples of sustainable family farming.
Jonathan Waxman shares his food philosophy with Slow Films.
A group of star chefs play with fire for a good cause.