No, not a sportsball reference. We’re making another addition to our homestead menagerie: ducks!
We recently ordered four ducks for delivery in late May, the same day we’ll get a few more chickens.
Here’s what the Buff ones look like as adults:
And the Cayugas:
The ducks will be free-range on our large pond. Unlike chickens, the ducks shouldn’t destroy our landscaping… hopefully!
I will build a small 4×4 foot duck house for them, similar in construction to the cat house I built last year. That is the ideal size for four ducks. I currently plan to position it on the east side of our pond. In the following picture, looking south, it’ll be positioned in the center of the picture, at the edge of the pond in front of the rock:
I will re-contour the ground to be a little less sloped, just enough for drainage. Here’s a view of the spot looking north:
After doing a bunch of research into duck house designs, I wrote up a bunch of notes, then over the last few days, I sketched my plans. I drew them on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, in the excellent Linea Sketch app.
Here are the external elevations:
It’s basically a 4×4 foot cube, with a gable roof.
The west side faces towards the pond, so can be considered the front, and features a door for the ducks to go in and out, that can be closed at night with a vertically sliding panel, like the chicken coop. It’ll also have a custom sign, and the controller for the door, that will be able to automatically close it at night, and open it in the morning.
The east (back) side will have a couple of large doors, enabling access to a small cupboard that will contain a jug of food, and storage of spare food and supplies. It’ll also enable access of the nesting boxes. Ducks can lay eggs pretty much anywhere, but I’ll provide ground-level nesting alcoves as cozy private places to lay, and hope they use them.
The north side will include another door, that will enable access to the interior for cleaning, and to reach eggs laid outside the boxes.
The south side will have a closable vent, that can be opened in summer to help cool down the interior.
Here’s a top-down plan view:
Here you can see the food cupboard on the left, and the interior on the right. The circle is a plastic jug for food, that leads to a tube with holes for them to eat from, like in the chicken coop.
Finally, here’s a cross-section through the middle:
You can see the food jug and tube, with a nesting box below, plus the ventilation, the duck door, and the ramp into the pond.
As usual, it’s quite likely I’ll refine the design over time, especially as I build it, but it’ll probably end up much like this, unless I have any radically different ideas before I start. If you have any suggestions or questions, let me know!
We’ll get the ducklings at the end of May, so I’ve got a few months to build this. It will take a while, working on it only on weekends (building it in the shop like the cat house), but I think there’s time. Should be fun!