On my To Do list this weekend was: build duck shelters. ok. I did write the list. However, what I wanted the duck shelters to look like was still up in the air. This is our first real attempt at raising ducks. I have made some observations over the last few months as the ducks have grown almost into adulthood. After combining those observations and a few google image searches. I came up with a short list of criteria.
- No Confinement - goes without saying, but we do keep our broiler chickens well protected from predators. Ducks on the other hand are older and wiser, they also forage more than chickens so they need to range further. Not to mention they have a natural defense mechanism of "running to the pond". We didn't want to inhibit any of these attributes so the duck shelter had to be open-air.
- Pond Access - If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but can't swim in a pond is it really a duck? We think not. the shelters will be situated alongside a one acre farm pond. we wanted the ducks to be able to use the pond at will.
- Shade - Ducks are very hardy, and hopefully the pond will help them stay cool in the hot summer. But I have observed that they love shade on hot sunny days. I wanted the duck shelter to be the closest and most convenient form of shade. That should keep them from seeking shelter in the nearby woods.
- Comfortable nest box - Ducks lay eggs on the ground, not in an elevated nest box. We needed a protected and comfortable nesting area inside the duck shelter that would offer a desirable place for the ducks to lay eggs, and a convenient enough way for us to collect the eggs.
There you have it. That's how the Carlton Farms duck shelter was born. Hopefully it works as well in practice as it does in my minds-eye. We will be moving them to the pond this week, I'll provide an update soon. The one remaining question? Why were the duck shelters in my carport? Well, It's extremely hot. We, like the ducks, seek shade if possible. Not to mention had we built them onsite we would have had to listen to the generator all day. In the carport there is a shade and a plug-in.