Keeping any poultry can be immensely rewarding but it can also be a challenge when you live in an urban environment and have foxes or raccoons to contend with. Mackenzie from Simply Human Blog tells us all about her ducks, their home and the challenges she’s faced setting up her ducks in the city of Colarado Springs in the US.
“Mackenzie from Simply Human Blog here. I wanted to take a minute to introduce you to our ducks. This is our duck pen. It’s 150 square feet down on the ground and we have a lot of raccoons and foxes in the area, we buried the fencing down one foot to make sure nothing was able to dig under it. As you can see it’s one inch by half inch at the bottom, and the top is one inch by two inch mesh so it covers the whole ceiling so nothing can get down in there. Our ducks are now about two months old, we got them on April 4th, well they were hatched on April 4th. And they’re gonna be quite noisy as I move around here as they think I’m gonna feed them weeds. The beauty of ducks is all I do is weed my garden and throw em in there with them, in addition to the feed I give them. The feed is an organic corn, like a meal type of a thing, it’s been working out great. I feed myself organic, so I wanted to feed these guys organic. It costs me a little bit more. You can see the ramp that leads up to their main housing. And i have two buckets down here for them to play in and drink. They need to be changed about twice a day, and long term I’ll probably put a third bucket out there so they don’t need me to do that. Also I’m gonna put a platform in here, where the floor drains into some tubs. I’ll show you the floor in their main house, with the water and that drains in to some tubs and makes the clean up really easy. If you know anything about ducks, they are very messy, they dig around in their water and spit it out all over the ground, dig down into the ground. And in an effort to keep that cleaner, I’m going to build a platform here.”
“OK, let me take you into the cage. They’re gonna get loud for a minute, but I wanna be able to show you the inside of their pen. This is the main part of their house. I only put them in here at night and sometimes they come up here during the day, but not very often. This is the light I used when they were younger. I haven’t used it in a while so I should probably pull it out of there. Colarado Springs law requires that we have 4ft of indoor space per any fowl. So that’s why I have such a large indoor space for them. And I’ll take you round the backside of the pen here. This door is for clean out. It makes the cleaning out of the pen quite easy. This door is where their food is kept when they’re inside their pen. It’s just a small room that leads into their main house, and there’s a door on this side that leads into their water. I did this because that way they won’t be able to drag that much water from their water dish into their sleeping quarters. It keeps it drier and it works out splendidly. This is their water shed. This is a 5 gallon self waterer. I clean it out and fill it every other day. The floor is wire mess and underneath it is a slanted tin floor, that helps keeps the water draining out into the tubs that I have. It keeps the smell down. I can just spray this clean, it works out very nicely for it’s purposes. Here are the tubs. And I empty them out about every other day. They don’t get very full unless I leave them for several days. When they’re full I empty them on the compost pile. It keeps the moisture level in my compost up. This is the HOT compost right now, when I clean out the cages, I’m surrounded by neighbours on all sides, and to keep the smell down I always dig back the compost pile and put their old bedding underneath and cover it up with the old compost, that helps to keep the smell down. It’s done a great job so far; no complaints from the neighbours. I worry more about the noise than I do about the smell. I hardly have a problem with the smell at all, I keep em pretty clean.”
“The floor of the pen is covered with straw, that only need to be cleaned up every two months, it doesn’t get too bad in there. The inside has wood chips And I use wood chips and wood shavings, and those I clean up about once a month otherwise the ammonia smell gets too strong. They are not supposed to be able to fly, these breeds, at least any distance. Well as you can see they’re quite entertaining. My husband and I have enjoyed having them in the yard and watching them play. It’s just been a great time. There’s a lot of discussion about whether to have ducks or chickens, we did ducks specifically because we could have a male here in the city limits. With chickens, because of roosters being so loud, we’re no allowed to have a male, that means we can’t raise our own young. And it’s cheaper probably, in the long run to raise our own young, so that’s why we went with ducks. A little more work in the interim, but we rather enjoy them. They’re very meditative. I love watching them play in their water. As you can see they’re quite rambunctious. Anyway, until the next time”.