Monday, February 13, 2012

Converting a Dog House for Ducks - Easy DIY Project

~Next time I wouldn't even bother with the nesting box since they don't use it anyway~
When we had only two ducks, they happily slept in the chicken coop with the chickens in a wooden box on the floor.  But when we got 5 more ducklings last spring, I decided it was time for the ducks to have their own house.  Fortunately there was an old wooden doghouse at the edge of our property that had been sitting empty since we bought our house.  I swept out the squirrel and mice nests and all the cobwebs, dragged it down to the run and set about converting it into a duck house.


This is what it looked like when I tackled my project.



A scrubbing and then a new coat of paint was the first step.  I also set the doghouse up on wooden boards to get it off the ground so the bottom won't rot and to prevent predators from digging up underneath it.


Then using cedar shakes (about $8/bundle at Lowes) I nailed a new 'cedar shingle' roof over the old shingles.




I cut ventilation holes in the front and back and stapled hardware mesh on the inside to prevent access by mice, rats or weasels.

A piece of wood with some slats nailed to it makes a nice ramp.

I cut a door from a piece of plywood to fit the opening and then attached a predator-proof eyehook latch.

A hole cut in one side of the house with a wooden box attached (made out of scraps of plywood) becomes a nesting box.  Of course little Bella couldn't resist checking it out !

A shingled, hinged roof completed the box.


I cut a ventilation window in the opposite side, staple hardware mesh over it and then used the plywood cutouts to make hinged doors.


Coming along very nicely so far, using just leftover scraps of wood and the cedar shakes.  I did switch out the plain metal hinges for these black barn hinges.  A small investment and they look so much nicer.



I handpainted a sign for above the door ....
  
And then added straw bedding and stapled up an old bandanna that I cut into curtains for the nesting box.  Ducks like their privacy too !

Easy afternoon project.  The ducks now have a nice, warm, dry, safe house to sleep in.




I don't know how it is in your household, but in ours, I'm the one who builds stuff - most likely because I'm too impatient to wait for my husband to get home from work and explain or draw out what I want built (but that's a whole 'nother story).  I have my own set of tools even. You don't need many, in fact I have built two chicken coops and a duck house using only a cordless drill, hammer, staple gun, jigsaw and circular saw.

Some suggestions for your toolbox
After your initial investment, the money you save building things yourself will pay for these tools in no time!

   

And if you want to go really 'girly'....
(I'm actually kind of digging these pink tools - you can bet my husband would NEVER borrow them!)

     


15 comments:

  1. I just realized that ducks don't roost! I never thought about it! I was going to remove 2 nesting boxes from our current coop to put in a window, but I think I'll keep them attached and make it into Duck Sleeping Quarters!

    ReplyDelete
  2. No they don't ! You don't need roosts for them and the nesting boxes have to be floor level. You can even use just a wooden box or rubber or plastic tub. If they are anything like my ducks tho, they will just lay their eggs anywhere in the house. I've never had a broken one yet, despite finding them all over the floor each morning.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post! I've been debating over getting a few ducks since before I got my chooks 2 yrs ago. What are the dimensions (approx.) of the dog house? All 7 ducks fit in there happily? And what type of ducks are they? A few look tiny.
    Love the curtains as well! (I've bought my material and Velcro {so I can remove and wash when needed}, just have to dig out the sewing machine!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the dog house is about 3x3.. normal sized dog house. The ducks are pekins, so they are rather large. I would say 6 is probably the most you would want to fit in the house - but they are hardly ever in it since they sleep in their attached night run (1" metal fencing with Niteguard lights on all sides !) I stapled up the curtains, but velcro is a good idea too :0)

      Delete
  4. So, do the ducks go in at night like the chickens do or do you have to put them in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, the do not. But they are super easy to herd in. They sort of loiter around by the door and then I just shoo them in. Once one goes in they all follow. They would much rather sleep outside all night. Even in the rain and snow, but I dont' trust my run fencing quite that much.

      Delete
  5. It looks like this is an older post, but hopefully you'll still check it....

    A neighbor gave us eight ducklings this past spring and now we're trying to figure out the water issue for winter. We're in Minnesota, where we can easily have below freezing temps for a solid month. We don't have a water line out to where the coop is so we'll have to hull 5 gallon buckets from the house. I'm a little concerned because the ducks love their water and enjoy making a mess of it even more. How do you handle the water issue in winter?

    Love your blog, by the way, and am a new follower.
    -Rachel C.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! Welcome. I hope you follow our duck page on facebook Ducks Too also.

      Our water line freezes often in the winter so we have to haul water too. We haul hot water from the tub to the barn. The ducks don't get a pool in the winter, just large black rubber tubs that I put in the sun. An electric heated dog bowl works pretty well too.

      Delete
  6. I love this house - I am planning some housing in anticipation of getting ducks next year. Thanks for linking up with me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just got ducks, and am so excited. They will eventually be put outside and be in a predator proof run next to the chickens. I have been searching for housing ideas for them. We have black bears that come around on a regular basis and i need for the ducks to be secured at night. I love your dog house, and think something like this would work for me. My question is, how much room do the ducks need in their house. I have 5 ducks. So glad I found your site, info on chickens is easy to find, but ducks not so much. thanks Charlotte

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Charlotte! I have 5 ducks in the doghouse, but its attached to a 4x8 run that is INSIDE our regular chicken run. The ducks' night run is made of 1" welded wire on a wooden frame and I have the NiteGuard predator lights around it for another layer of protection. Ducks are pretty active at night, so they will need a sort of larger house if they are locked in all night. They really do prefer to sleep outside, so if there is any way to make them a secure night run, they would love it. But against bear wow! I've heard of bear tipping chicken coops right over!

      Delete
  8. Hi Lisa
    So glad to have found your site - can't wait to dig through all the tips regarding ducks!! I've got 3 9 week old Pekins & they are quite the bunch. They herd themselves into their house each night & can't wait to come out in the mornings. We built their nesting boxes up off the floor, but think we'll remove them til next spring & just keep them at floor level. I like the window on the house - we find ours is really stuffy, even with many vents up along the roof-line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good! Ducks are great! I would remove the nesting boxes. Honestly ducks hardly ever use them - they just make a nest in one corner to lay their eggs in. And for sure cut a window. Ducks emit a lot of moisture when they breathe, so it does tend to get stuffy.

      Be sure and check out my facebook page Ducks Too as well. Lots of nice duck people over there.

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. One can easily convert the abandoned barns into
    dog runs, which helps keeping the pets physically fit and active.

    ReplyDelete

I love your comments! I reaad them all even if I can't respond to each and every one. Please stop by again soon!

Lisa of Fresh Eggs Daily
www.facebook.com/FreshEggsDaily