Duck Coop: The Beginner’s Guide To Housing Ducks

Looking to add some ducks to your homestead this year? But don’t know what to do about a duck coop or housing ducks? We are going to go through everything you need to know about setting up a duck coop for your new flock. 

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Do You Really Need A Duck Coop?

If you plan to keep domestic ducks, you really should have a duck coop to keep them in (even if you plan to free-range your ducks). A duck house is an important part of successfully keep ducks. 

What Is A Duck Coop?

A duck coop is a secure area to lock your flock up in at night to keep them safe. It also gives your fowl somewhere to lay their eggs. 

What Kind Of Coop Do Ducks Need?

Ducks need a ground-level coop, that they can easily walk into without having to climb. We’ll go into what exactly they need out of a coop later on in this article. 

Do Ducks Need To Be Locked Up At Night?

Yes, you need to lock up your ducks at night. Because domestic ducks can’t fly well, and due to the fact that they don’t return to the coop at night like chickens they are sitting ducks (wink) for preditors. 

Can Ducks Use A Chicken Coop Instead Of A Duck Coop?

Yes, you can keep your ducks in a chicken coop, we keep a mixed flock here at the cottage and they are very happy together. 

Setting Up The Perfect Duck Coop For Beginners

Ready to add ducks to your backyard or homestead? Let’s talk about what your duck coop is going to need to keep your feathered friends happy. 

Do Ducks Need A Pond?

Spoiler alert domestic ducks don’t have to have a big pond to be happy. That being said ducks do love to splash and play in the water. We don’t keep a pond in our duck coop because it’s too hard to clean and refill, but we do keep a kiddy pool on hand for when we let our ducks out to free-range in the orchard. 

Duck Coop Basics

Whether you are dreaming of big white Pekins, tall skinny Indian runners, or loud-mouthed Welsh Harlequin ducks all pretty much need the same thing out of a duck coop:

  • Space In Your Duck Coop – ducks just like chickens or any birds you keep need enough room in their coop to be happy. Don’t overcrowd your coop with birds. 
    • Plan for four to six square feet of floor space per adult bird.
    • Your duck coop or house needs to be at least three feet tall.
  • Security For Your Duck Coop – ducks are vulnerable to attack by predators
    • Your duck coop should have a bottom, sides, and roof.
    • Skip the chicken wire and go with hardware cloth over any windows or vents along with the run to keep predators out. You can also bury it around the duck coop to prevent predators from digging under the coop. 
    • Secure locks, remember that raccoons can lift latches and slide deadbolts to open doors. I like to use padlocks or clips on mine to ensure my flock is safe when they are locked in. 
  • Proper Ventilation In Your Duck House – Ducks breathe out much more moisture than chickens do so it’s really important to have good ventilation in your duck house. 
    • Place vents near the top of your duck coop to help with the airflow.
  •  Bedding For You Duck House – ducks are quite a bit messier than chickens, so when it comes to bedding it’s really important to choose one that is quick-drying or bedding that absorbs well.
    • Straw can be used in your duck coop, along with sawdust shavings, pine shavings, and pine pellets.
  • Doors For Your Duck House & Coop – the doors need to be sturdy enough to keep predators out at night. 
    • Our duck coop is made out of wood and hardware cloth and is really sturdy. When it came to a door our choice was to go with a wooden door.
    • Avoid building a duck house that requires a big ramp to get in, ducks don’t climb well so this will make it hard for them to get in. 
    • Make the door large enough for two ducks to enter or exit at the same time.

What Your Duck House Doesn’t Need

Domestic ducks unlike their wild cousins are pretty unique and because of that they don’t need some things in their coop:

  • Your duck house doesn’t need roosting bars – domestic ducks don’t fly well, because of that they nest on the ground instead of roosting. 
  • Your duck house also doesn’t need nesting boxes – for the most part, ducks won’t lay in nesting boxes, they prefer to lay in quiet corners where they have built their nests. 

Some Fun Additions For Your Duck House

These aren’t absolutely necessary for your duck house, but they can be nice additions:

  • Windows – windows help to allow light into your duck coop and can help dry out your coop. They also can be great decorative additions to your coop.  
  • Pond or pool – your duck coop doesn’t have to have a pond however it can be a nice addition to your coop. Just be sure your ducks can easily get in and out because domestic ducks are not great swimmers. 
  • A human-sized door – if you are building a covered run, having a door you can walk in makes cleaning up so much easier. 

Did we answer all of your questions about housing duck? If not drop them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them!


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