We’re just about ready for the ducks to arrive next week! WHEW! Here’s a pictorial of how the project went for anyone who might be curious about how it went. The whole project cost around $150, with 2/3 of that being for the cost of a massive roll of hardware cloth. The ducklings are set to arrive in a few days and will be inside the first few weeks, but having this done ahead of time is a HUGE relief…
The coop’s skeleton, made from repurposed 2×4’s, 4×4’s, and scrap plywood leftover from our kitchen remodel. Ducks don’t need to perch on anything so we just built them a 4x4x4′ space with a slanted roof so rain can run off easily, with vents at the top to keep good air circulation that they require. I lined the walls with hardware cloth as we saw how quick of a job rodents can do to go through cedar shingles if they want in bad enough.
We then started building the walls (yep, in the snow) with repurposed fenceposts (using leftover housepaint so it’d match our house), then built the roof with scrap 2×4’s and donated repurposed galvaized steel sheets. The only thing we purchased for the coop itself was the hardware cloth roll, a few boxes of screws, and 16 stick-on tiles (39 cents each) at Lowes to make cleanup easier (they’ll sleep/lay eggs on a bed of straw laid on top of the tile).
Next up was building their door (scrap plywood, with hinges we already had from the old compost bin), the duck entrance on the right (I wanted a separate door for them so we could do easy cleanup without a ramp in the way) and a ramp since they’re not as agile as chickens (again, all scrap wood). I also used existing Zero-VOC primer and paint we had on hand to decorate the door (I found and roughly copied a duck graphic I found online, while my husband thought of the words). Below the coop are concrete blocks from the demolished border my husband took out with a sledgehammer (thanks to the tool library for that loan!), which we’ll eventually cover up somehow – but this will keep them from going under there to hide/lay eggs/etc. As you can see, we have a snow gum (eucalyptus) tree that made designing the enclosure, our final step, a bit of a challenge (I had originally wanted the enclosure to go all the way around the duck house, but there’s no easy way to do that if you want a roof on the enclosure!).
And finally, we built the enclosure. My husband buried the (repurposed) posts (which were acquired from The Rebuilding Center for a few dollars, literally) after I painted them, I scored this red door from a community garden lot down the street that is prepping for demolition (more condos, ugh), and we cut attached & buried the hardware cloth walls (6″ trench to keep the rodents and raccoons out). I also had some extra pieces of roofing shingles from when I had my home’s massive roof tear-off/replacement project done 5 years ago, so we attached those to their ramp to make it less slippery for them to exit. You can’t see it but they also have a sliding door into their coop entrance, for extra protection at night (and warmth in winter). We still have the roof to put on and that wonky back corner to enclose, but otherwise it’s all aesthetics to finish up – spread mulch, cover up the base of the coop to hide the concrete scrap, etc. We had to move our beehive a foot or so over and might move it another foot so Dan can easily access it, but fortunately it being still fairly cool, they’ve orientated just fine since they only do a couple of cleansing flights right now and are pretty much inside still cuddling up. Whew!