Ducks have been feathered friends to humans for an extremely long time, being domesticated as pets and farm animals through five hundred years. Ducks are fairly easy pets. They often preen themselves, so there is no need to clean the individual birds and they also need little attention, other than feeding.
Whilst ducks are fairly simple domesticated pets, which are excellent for novice bird owners, they do have required living environments.
A duck house can go by many names, including duck canopy, duck basket, nesting house and duck island. Often, a duck house is a floating structure, which will be suspended on a lake or pond. Or, it can be a simple, wooden building that will remain on land.
As well as your ducks using this as a safe haven to shield itself from its natural predators, a duck house will also allow you, as an owner, to keep track of all of your feathered friends.
Ducks are social birds, who enjoy the company of their own kind. They will be the happiest living in a flock, consisting of two or more. If you are looking to purchase a duck house, you will need to consider how much space your birds will be needing.
What is a duck house?
A duck house is a space dedicated to your flock and it has two main purposes. If you have pet ducks, they will benefit from having outdoor housing. In the winter months, they will need this space to shield themselves from the cold and when summer rolls around, it will offer a cool, shaded spot. Ducks need an adequate amount of space to nest comfortability and huddle together within their flock.
Additionally, ducks are prey animals. They will be hunted by predators like foxes, weasels, owls and birds of prey, such as hawks. To ensure your ducks safety, they will need a sheltered space to reside in where they will be fully protected.
How big does a duck house need to be?
When thinking about how big of an enclosure your ducks will need, there are a lot of things to consider, such as how many ducks you will be having, if you’re planning on breeding them and how much space you have.
As ducklings begin to grow, they will need more and more space. Unlike other pets, ducklings are independent straight after they hatch and will need ample room to waddle and play.
If you have 50 ducklings, they will need around 50 square feet. When the ducklings get to four weeks, they will begin to require more square footage. For young ducks, it’s mandatory for them to have 3 square feet of space per bird. A full grown duck will need up to 4 square feet each.
Small duck house
If you are planning on having a large flock of ducks, you will need a bigger duck house which will offer them more square footage per animal. There are three types of measurements that you need to consider, the height of the enclosure, how wide the internal house is and how big the pop-hole size is.
Most commonly, a small duck house will be 104cm wide, 140cm deep and 121cm high. With the internal house being 96cm wide and 94cm high which will usually have a pop-hole of around 35cm wide and 45cm tall. This size duck house will comfortably hold around four ducks.
The ducks need to be able to stand fully upright within the enclosure, be able to flap their wings and move around freely within their own space. Your birds can become claustrophobic with limited capacity, which can lead to many problems within your flock.
Male ducks can become very territorial over their space and their fellow females. If female ducks feel threatened enough by this aggressive behaviour, they can stop producing eggs and even kill their own offspring. It’s vital to a duck’s health that they have the ability to move around freely.
Large duck house
A large duck house will hold more birds and allow them to be more comfortable. An ideal flock would be between 5-8 ducks to every drake, avoiding the issue of a male duck overmating with a female. Having a full flock will require more space and a larger duck house.
Even if you have a small flock, giving your ducks more space will make them happier, ensuring they will lay more eggs and prevent them from becoming stressed.
What needs to be in your duck house?
As well as ensuring you ducks have plenty of space, you also need to think about what goes into the enclosure. Ducks like to bed down and get cosy in their habitat. Fill their shelter with plenty of straw so they will stay warm and make nests to settle down into.
Along with plenty of fresh water, ducks also enjoy the occasional food such as peas, leafy greens, corns and vegetable peels. Ducks can also be fed commercial ‘duck food’ which can be found in your local pet store, accompanied with worms and birdseed.
Ducks can be awkward creatures and with their web feet which are regularly wet, they can become extremely clumsy. They don’t fly up into their coop like chickens and other birds, they will need help getting into their house. A ramp is a necessity when owning ducks. A wooden ramp with traction strips or mats will ensure your ducks can easily get up and down on their own accord.
One of the most important things to consider when buying or building a duck house is the ventilation. The moisture produced within the enclosure needs to be able to be to escape to avoid mould and other complications that come with damp. Vents should be put at the top, meaning fresh air will be able to flow in and out of the house.
Floating Duck Houses
Duck houses can either be on ground or can be afloat on water. Occasionally, wheels will be present on the duck house to make it easy to maneuver them from water to land.
Once you have worked out what size duck house you will need, you will need to look for duck houses for sale. Ducks aren’t fancy and they don’t need a lot, other than ample space. Which means that you have a lot of choice when it comes to finding a home for them. You can choose to build a duck house, buy one or even repurpose an old dog kennel.
Deciding where to put their house is just as important as the coop itself. There are many positives that come with putting a duck house on water. Firstly, the ducks will have easy access to their natural environment and freely be able to move from dry land to water. Secondly, the ducks will be safer. None of the ducks natural predators swim, meaning that having their house floating on water will ensure their well-being.
Finally, the ducks will feel safer. Whilst, as an owner, it would offer you more of a peace of mind to have the ducks moored on the water, it will also make the ducks themselves feel more secure. With the easy access to water, it will prevent the ducks from feeling overcrowded which will prevent fights or overmating. They will be able to exercise more as the water will be right outside their pop-hole and they will produce more eggs, as they will be more content with their surroundings.
How to float a duck house
Duck pond houses are usually designed to accommodate a variety of different breeds of ducks. However, if you are handy, you might be looking to build your own duck house. No matter what material you are using for your duck house, you will need to think about location.
If you are planning on floating your duck house, you will need to consider treating the wood you are using, otherwise it could become susceptible to mould and mildew. By treating the walls and roof of your duck house with a wood protector, it will ensure the longevity of the structure as well as the health of your birds.
If you are keeping your duck house at ground level, treating the wood is still advised, however, you will not need to consider a ramp as the ducks will be able to access the house through the pop-hole of the structure.
Now, you may be questioning how to float a duck house on a pond. Usually, a duck house will have PVC pipes on the bottom which will allow it to float on water. Duck houses on ponds will also have a pre-drilled anchor hole which stabilize the structure and allow your birds to freely move between the water and land with safety.
Plastic Duck Houses
Duck houses can be made out of lots of different materials, the two main ones being wood and plastic, both of which have positives and negatives associated with your ducks living conditions.
Positives of having a plastic duck house
Plenty of duck houses for sale in the UK are made from recycled plastic, which would be a better environmental move. Unlike a wooden house, plastic is rot proof. With the mandatory ventilation in the top of the house, a plastic coop is also not likely to become mouldy as well. The plastic will not hold in moisture like a wooden one would, meaning it would be a better long term investment for your ducks. Additionally, a plastic duck house is more portable than a wooden coop. Plastic is lighter and therefore can easily be moved from place to place if needed.
Positives of having a wooden duck house
A wooden duck house is more of a classic choice when it comes to picking your bird’s home. Much like plastic duck houses, there are a lot of positives that come with having one made out of wood, the first being that female ducks typically build their nests in tree cavities usually near the water. By putting your ducks in a wooden coop, it will allow them to act out their natural instincts.
Also, ducks like to be able to escape their homes, explore the water and the environment around them. With a plastic house, it could leave the ducks feeling claustrophobic. Both full grown ducks and ducklings have sharp claws that they can use to climb. The best material for this is uncut, rough wood. Plastic does not provide the traction that ducks require, due to their web feet, meaning they could struggle with a fully-plastic home.
Duck houses with runs
Your duck house should offer a good amount of space on the inside but you also need to consider how much space they will need outside of the run. If you have limited space or are planning on assigning your ducks to one part of your land, a run attached to their pen is a must.
A duck pen will need to have a minimum of 15 square feet per every bird that you have, this is more than is recommended for most other pet poultry. Ducks have a large wing span and they need more space to waddle and flap. Additionally, if you don’t have a pond or lake to allow your ducks to swim in, your duck run will need to have enough space for a plastic swimming pool. Ducks will need to have access to water, no matter how much space you have given them.
If you are going to have your ducks free roam, a pen is not needed. However, you will need to take precautions to duck-proof your garden or land. As mentioned previously, ducks are prey animals and will have many predators after them. To ensure your duck’s protection and allow them to feel safe, you will need to make sure that nothing can get to your flock.
Ducks tend to roost at night, meaning they will need more protection. In the evening, you should put them away into a secure duck house. Ducks are not like chickens and therefore, will not put themselves to bed when the sun goes down. They will most likely need to be rounded up and put away for their own safety.
Duck Nesting Boxes
Ducks also tend to roost in the night, however, unlike chicken and other poultry, they don’t roost on perches. Instead, they prefer to sleep on a bed of straw or hay on the floor of their duck house. A duck nesting box is not a necessity, as they will usually choose to lay their eggs on the floor, most likely where they have made their nest.
However, if you have some fussy ducks and you are still planning on building or buying a duck nesting box, it will need to be extremely roomy. Duck nest boxes to be large enough for a full-grown bird to get into, turn around fully, sit and nest. This will allow the ducks to incubate their own eggs.
Hopefully this blog post has helped you with all of your duck house needs and you feel more prepared to give your birds a lovely home.