September 23, 2019

Chicken Yard Project: Duck House

I've shown you our new compost bin and the new grazing beds. That leaves the last subgoal on the chicken yard project list - a duck house.

We have two Muscovy ducks, and to be honest, the chickens and the ducks don't exactly get along. They constantly squabble over food and egg laying spots. One of our ducks has a (dud) nest in the chicken house and she chases all the chickens out! So Dan decided it was time to make the ducks their own home.

Framing attached to the compost bins.

It will include a house and a small "pond" made of a small stock tank.

The platform is the cement boards from the back of the old compost bin.

Dan fitted the duck tank with a hose bib, so it can be drained and the water used for the compost and grazing beds.

Hose bib installed in the tank for a hose to water compost & grazing beds.

It will be filled with rain water from the milking room catchment tanks.

The duck house was made from scraps.

Openings in the back will have doors and be to collect eggs.

Facing away from winter weather. 

Once the house was done, Dan tried to coax the ducks with feed to take a look. But they've ignored it!

Gee, Sam, I wonder why.

They've been broody, however, (on unfertilized eggs), and have been are pretty much fixated on that task. They're coming out of it now, so Dan filled the tank with water in hopes they'd notice. Ducks are amazing at finding fresh water.

Water sampling by Meowy.

Mrs. #2 Duck checked it out several days later but didn't stay long. The next afternoon we heard splashing in the pond.

Stealth photo taken from the workshop window.

Both ducks took a swim and a bath! They haven't been interested in their new house, but they usually roost outdoors at night when they aren't broody. Maybe next egg laying season they'll like the spot.

That completes the chicken yard project list. Chickens and ducks seem happy with the improvements, and that makes us happy too.

UPDATE: Tuesday, Sept. 24. #2 duck was seen checking out the duck house twice today. She went inside and took a look around. But they still prefer to roost on top of the chicken coop.


Woolly Bits said...

looks like Dan built a villa for your ducks:) maybe I can convince DH to do one too - I'd love ducks, but I fear they'd abuse the watering troughs and old bathtub too much:) and Minnie might have a go at them as well - older Jack Russells don't seem less inclined to chase than younger ones....

Lady Locust said...

Perfect! Also, bet that water will be super good for watering since it will be rather "fertilized." :-)

Leigh said...

Bettina, it's true! It is more like a villa than just a house. You're right about ducks. I have to take extra measures to keep them out of the goats' water. That can be a real nuisance.

Lady Locust, that's the idea! I think the depth of the tank will help a lot, because the shallow wading pools Dan used got dirty too quickly. Hopefully the dirt will sink to the bottom to be drained off for the compost and grazing beds.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I have read a fair amount about ducks but have never kept any. Seems fascinating, as they are so different from the poultry I have kept.

wyomingheart said...

The is just wonderful! I was once called the crazy duck keeper, because I made a pool for the Muscovy wild ducks in Florida. Happy to know that I’m not alone ! I just think ducks are pretty perfect! Do you get freezing temps? Dan is very creative, for sure!

Leigh said...

TB, I got our original Muscovies in a trade. In some ways we like them better than chickens, Muscovies at least are quieter. Their meat is more like beef than poultry. Their eggs are rich, in fact, too rich for Dan. They bother his stomach. They don't scratch though, but shovel the ground with their bills. So they don't scratch up newly planted ground, but they still find the seed! That shoveling is the reason they love clean water - to clean their bills. Dan likes them better than chickens, except for the eggs.

Wyomingheart, I've read several places that Muscovies don't need water. Wrong! They aren't considered water birds, but they adore taking baths! They need their water.

Yes, we do get freezing temps, but not long enough to freeze an entire water bucket. We can get about an inch of ice on top of the buckets overnight.

Goatldi said...

So be honest here . When the cats realized you truly didn’t make this for them did they stop speaking to you?

I think we could benefit from some ducks too. Project on to do list just increased by one. Gee thanks Leigh.

Leigh said...

Goatldi, truth be told, our cats have absolutely no respect for our opinions, LOL. But they respect the ducks, who don't respect them. So I'll leave it for the critters to sort out. :)

Goatldi said...

Smart woman 😊

Leigh said...

Goatldi, ;)

Tania said...

Such a great structure Dan built for the ducks. By the looks, the cats are quite happy with the new home, maybe the ducks are easing into it slowly...

We had ducks once and they were in with the chickens and they didn't get along either so the ducks had to go! Messy creatures they are, they mucked up the pond, pooped everywhere and ate all the wheat haha! They were real characters though. I think the chickens were secretly relieved when the ducks were gone ;)

Cockeyed Jo said...

To each a home of their own. Great us3 of scraps too.

Nancy In Boise said...


Leigh said...

Tania, thanks! The cats are usually quick to take over anything that suits their fancy, lol. Ducks, as you say, prefer to ease into it. They are entertaining, but the are messy. Hoping this deeper pool is better suited to their habits than our old shallow pone.

Jo, I know some folks are successful keeping mixed poultry flocks, but so far it's been a no go for us. Looks like this will work though.

Nancy, I like it!

Sam I Am...... said...

What a nice area for the ducks. You certainly take good care of your animals. Are you in North Carolina? There are a bunch of "homesteaders" there that have podcasts. One I particularly like is The Hollar Homestead. They are just starting out and came from California. I love watching those podcasts since I don't think I'll be "homesteading" anytime soon! LOL!

Leigh said...

Sam, I'd enjoy listening to some of those podcasts. They are a nice way to learn about and enjoy different kinds of lifestyles. Plus it's a good way to chronicle a journey!

Chris said...

Gotta say, I'm impressed! Integrating the duck house design, with the need for water close to the compost, and chicken yard. It comes fertilsed too! Love the design concept and potential to make your job, doing jobs, easier. Are you concerned the duck waste, might eventually clog the tap valve? Or do you already have a filter screen to catch waste?

Leigh said...

Chris, hopefully it will work as planned! Duck waste is pretty liquidy, so I'm guessing it will dilute even more but still sink. We actually got the idea from an old magazine many years ago and held onto the idea. The guy who did it didn't seem to have problems. We'll just have to monitor and adjust from there!

On an encouraging note, one of our ducks has laid two eggs in their new house! We were worried they wouldn't like it, but so far so good!