Domestic ducks are easy-going birds and can be successfully raised as pets or farm animals. Keep your ducks healthy and happy in a duck pen that provides shelter from predators and climatic extremes. Prepare a comfortable enclosure that enables the ducks to move freely, as well as to fully expand and flap their wings.
Decide on the location to build the duck pen and house the ducks. The ideal location should be on a raised, well-drained area that prevents rain water from accumulating and keeps the pen dry. The pen should also be close to food and water sources and provide the birds with a natural source of shade.
Prepare a concrete floor by laying concrete slabs on the ground. Estimate the space requirements by planning on a minimum of 0.9 sq m (10 sq. ft.) of space for each duck. Concrete floors are easy to clean and prevent predators such as foxes and rats from digging their way into the pen. You should, however, place a thick layer of straw bedding over the concrete flooring, as concrete by itself can be rough on the ducks' feet.
Position four 1.8 m (6 feet) high wooden posts vertically along the fence line. The posts should be at a distance of 1.2 m (4 feet) from each other. Cement the posts 60 cm (2 feet) into the ground to thoroughly secure them, and prevent them from becoming a potential life threat during severe weather.
Use a spade to dig an earthen trench 15 cm (6 inches) deep, along three sides of the fence post line. Place 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) hardware cloth in the trench and fill the trench with earth. Secure the hardware cloth around each post with a staple gun and heavy-duty staples, keeping one side open for a door. Cut excess wire with a wire cutter. Hardware cloth is a better option than chicken wire, as its narrow gauge wire prevents predators from entering the duck pen.
Build a screen door for the duck pen by combining wood and hardware cloth. Ensure that the door is the same height as the fence posts. Prepare the door frame by cutting the wood in four sections and fastening them together, at the four corners with 7.5 cm (3 inch) screws. Staple the hardware cloth to the frame and connect the door to the unfenced wooden post with hinges fixed at the top and bottom. Secure the door by attaching a barrel bolt to the door frame and the wooden post.
Place a tin roofing sheet over the fence to cover the duck pen. Attach the tin roof to the top of the wooden fence posts. Use a drill to make a hole into the tin, pass the watertight screws through the tin and secure it to the wooden fence posts.
Discourage predators from entering the duck pen by placing a row of heavy stones or concrete slabs along the bottom, around the three covered sides on the outside of the pen fencing.
Change the straw bedding daily to prevent mould from forming and creating an unhealthy living environment for the ducks.
Tips and warnings
- Discourage predators from entering the duck pen by placing a row of heavy stones or concrete slabs along the bottom, around the three covered sides on the outside of the pen fencing.