Domestic Waterfowl Club.

Shelters, Housing etc.

Shelters, Housing etc.

Ducks and Geese need housing of varying sorts dependent upon the method kept. This can range from a barn for loads of meat birds to  cute 'Duckingham palace' or floating house for a pair of Calls. They all will have one major factor ... how you clean them as ducks or geese firing liquid poop requires different housing to tidier chickens that you can sweep the droppings and shavings up.

Rule 1. Does the house have a flat surface for cleaning /sweeping/hosing or sweet little nest boxes and barriers. If keeping more than Call Ducks in the back garden resist if you answered no to this as cleaning with a dustpan brush just isn't going to happen and the cute interior rooms are done to sell  to humans not for ducks private sex lives.

Rule 2. Can they get out of the door easily as many pop holes on hen houses are pretty useless for Geese/ Muscovy and even Runners but the video will make a mint on Youtube

Rule 3.Is it cute , cheap and made from nice softwood in China or the far east. . . check with a key or fingernail if it marks it is softwood. After a few seasons it is disintegrated scrap and false economy. If roofing felt is glued  down with geese they love playing tear the roof off if not beaten by bad weather first. ie You get what you pay for.

Rule 4. Divide cost by years of use and the modern recycled products based ones are now a b good buy.As are uk built  better wooden ones  but remember to treat inside once before adding birds or assembling as this will discourage mites. In future years very hot water plus jeyes fluid ( use goggles 'gloves etc) or hot water and bleach on the floor will keep it bug free. Do in summer or on a fine day prop open to dry then re treat the wood, allow to dry  again and the smell to disipate then put birds back for bed time

Large Solway Recycling  houses 1 with wire  floor, pop hole, and ark which they will add a door to for geese

I bought the Kitson / Solway recycling ones as they have a pop hole PLUS a large duck/goose sized door at the other end. Bad news they add a hanging nest box ( used for pellets for supper in my case) and a removeable perch bar ( used to prop door open). I personally use them on the earth in summer and on a pallet in winter as most breeds will do one step. The pic below ( added soon) is over 10 years old and I found that if the pop hole is changed for a sheet of weldmesh in summer it is brilliant. . . no mites, no cleaning as I simply burn the pallet in Spring and add hay if very cold

Small Kitson/Solway duck house

Smallest Solway recycling coop. . . made from recycled farm  plastic  and drinks bottles,  any colour, reversible , UV proof etc so will not go brittle and crack minus point costs as pretty much hand made. . .  do not bother with the floor if for ducks either add a pallet or smaller mesh of your own. Never get the run as better to make your own with weldmesh sheet . Simply tie the corners of weldmesh and move/ re assemble where needed without a bad back from lifting  a fixed run or get a removeable run if for a tiny garden

Alternative garden shed from most suppliers such as B&Q  if a shelf is added above the  birds then it can be used to store shavings/food etc and is still cheaper than the cute house online

One from Dorset designed to clean out ... large door  + removeable roof

Standard Duck/ goose ark works if you have easy access otherwise ! Needs wood treatment regularly

Drinkers. . .  never never the sweet plastic ones for hens if all else fails a washing up bowl with a brick works

Food Bowls . . . At present I am using plastic Ikea dog bowls on a block wired to the fence through that nice little hole at the side. .  cheap simple a few of those means they all have a space to eat and any ill not eating are obvious. Ducks and gees both prefer food not at floor level so even old free plastic bread trays or plastic veg crates upended make a good 'table' anything falling though is then hoovered up by wildlife and no rat holes hiding under trays!
Extreme Cold

Welfare of your birds ..  rule protect them they are not fox proof and leaving them unprotected is cruel... finding Foxes in snow is easier though. Just because it is cold does not mean the waterfowl will suffer. Bread although not strictly good for them is popular especially if the chip pan oil is added also sliced fruit and veg .
. . .Waterfowl are sweet toothed by preference and please no salt as poisonous to them. Pallets if really frozen are good decking to sit upon, off the ground.
 . . Watch if using electric fence as ice can short it out.. . . .  
 . .The good news if pestered by vermin the tracks allow you to find their homes and feed accordingly. . . . very obliging foxes reveal themselves at this time normally a vixen. who will keep using the same lair. Locate the rat nest or lair now to save problems in the future . .Icy weather is also the best for rat control they show where they are active and are hungry so do NOT delay until further into Spring when they have bred more babies
Their needs alter if the ground is icy they will need drinking water at least once per day. .  by preference warm to hot with a slurp of cheapest vegetable oil (and a  spoon of sugar/optional). . . this allows them to drink before it freezes and the oil allows them to groom and waterproof their feathers. Watch their feet as some are prone to frostbite in extreme weather if sleeping outside  as some will lose toes etc . . . .if just sore add hand/barrier cream or E45 and separate for a few days to recover. . . catching them being the first hurdle . .  . refer to sliced bread again corruption and bribery is always best

Extreme Heat /Sun

Needs; shade if the pens are not planted up do so put bricks around plants/bushes roots / stem until they establish. The only weedkiller of use is SBK to de-nettle the areas. Do NOT plant willow they love it as a snack but dislike buddleia as above ! They ignore phormiums, pampas grass etc even irises and lilies but check if human friendly as pampas grass as I discovered bites !
More ducks die from lack of drinking water than lack of food also from fly strike on open feathered breeds so watch them esp Pekin and Toulouse.

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