You may want to build a mallard house for one of several reasons. Many people in rural areas struggle to keep wild mallards from laying in their hen houses in the spring. Also, those concerned with propagating the species find that building mallard houses and placing them on nesting platforms near the water or on raised posts in a wetland helps preserve mallards by providing a safe space to nest. The two house designs commonly recommended by conservation experts are the cone and the roll.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Half-inch hardware cloth
- Flexible wire
- Flax straw or Bermuda hay
- 8-foot length of 1-inch metal pipe
- 14-foot length of quarter-inch steel rod (for cone house)
- 18 inches of one-inch metal tubing and 40 inches of steel rod (for roll house)
Cut an 82-inch length of the quarter-inch steel rod. Bend this length of steel rod into a circle, and weld the ends together to form a ring.
Cut four 20-inch lengths from the quarter-inch steel rod.
Weld each of these lengths to the steel ring, They should be evenly spaced around the ring, 20.25 inches apart, and should look like the framework of a pyramid, all leaning in towards the centre
Weld the other end of each of the 20-inch steel rods to the top of the one-inch pipe. This creates the frame for the cone.
Cut a square of half-inch hardware cloth three feet by three feet.
Make an 18-inch cut into the hardware cloth halfway up the left side. This will be used to roll the cone.
Form the cone by overlapping the cut area 2 inches. Use the flexible wire to sew the overlapping sections of hardware cloth together and secure the cone shape.
Place the hardware-cloth cone into the cone frame you created. Bend the protruding corners down around the steel ring, and use the flexible wire to secure them back to the main body of the cone.
Fill the cone with flax straw or Bermuda hay.
Drive the 8-foot post into a wetland, where approximately half the post is above and half below the water level.
Weld the 18-inch length of one-inch tubing to the top of the 8-foot pipe to create a T.
Cut the 40-inch steel rod into two 20-inch sections, and curve them.
Weld these two sections near the ends of the t. They will cradle the tube shaped house.
Cut a seven -foot-by-three-foot section of half-inch hardware cloth.
Roll up the first three feet of hardware cloth to create a tube. This will be the inner layer of the house.
Sew this roll into a fixed position with the flexible wire.
Spread flax straw approximately two inches thick over the remaining four feet of hardware cloth.
Roll the remaining four feet, now straw lined, around the original tube,created in steps 5 and 6.
Secure the outer layer of the tube in position using the flexible wire.
Drive the 8-foot post into a wetland, where approximately half the post is above, and half below the water level.
Tips and warnings
- Using the flexible wire to secure the bedding hay or straw to the hardware cloth can limit wind damage to the bedding.
- It is easiest to place a mallard house during the winter months, when the ducks are not there and the wetland is frozen.
- Before mallards return in the spring the bedding in the mallard house should be replaced.
- If your cone is larger than specified dimensions or the opening for your tube house is greater than 12 inches in diameter, Canada geese may invade your mallard house.
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