Introducing the Urban Coop Company Round Top Duck House
The story behind the new Round Top Duck House from Urban Coop Company begins many months ago. Montie Twining, the owner of the company, had been brainstorming - which if you know Montie, is no surprise! Anyway, their family raises ducks as well as chickens and he wanted to design a house just for the ducks. He reached out to me knowing that I also raise ducks, and asked if I would like to be involved in designing a new duck house for his coop line.
Of course I jumped at the chance. I have the Round Top Chicken Coop and love it. It's super well-made and functional as well as very attractive - so when Montie told me that he wanted the duck house to look similar to the coop, but have some features specifically designed for ducks, I got really excited! Our ducks share the coop with our chickens, which is fine, but I had some ideas of my own about a duck house designed for ducks.
That initial conversation with Montie led to a visit down to the Urban Coop Company in Dripping Springs, Texas this past April. I was thrilled to be able to meet Dyan, Montie's wife, in person as well as their kids and pets.
I was given a personal tour of their shop which was fascinating. All of their coops are made right here in the United States - by hand. Using basic power tools, their employees handcraft each piece, clearly taking so much pride in their work.
Somehow, they even coerced me into working in the wood shop for the afternoon! After a quick training session, which included their quality standards for every board used in every coop they sell, I was given my own work bench (oh the things I could build if I had this at home!), tools and glue gun and I got to cut out the pieces for a coop. (Stay tuned, we'll be giving away the coop I worked on later this year - I even personally signed one of the boards!)
Everything in their operation is so organized, and things run very smoothly. The entire Urban Coop "family" was so welcoming and friendly, even when I squirted wood glue all over my work bench! Although at that point my 'supervisor' told me to feel free to take a coffee break. I think she was relieved that I never returned to work!
Fortunately it was time for Montie and me to down to business. We put our heads together and Montie started drawing out plans for the duck house. We went back and forth discussing different features we thought were important, headed outside to measure his ducks to be sure the proportions of the house would be right, and finally came up with a design that we both thought would work. What started as chicken scratch (pardon the pun!) in pen on a sheet of paper ended up being transformed to a 3-D design on the computer screen.
At that point, we went back to the shop to work out the logistics and details of actually building this dreamy duck spa we had dreamed up!
Several months, many conversations and several prototypes later, Montie finally let me know that the first duck houses were rolling off the assembly line. A week or so ago, I received a duck house to try out and give my feedback on. I was so excited to see our vision come to life!
The duck house arrived in 5 boxes. Only one was too heavy for me to move myself from where our UPS driver dropped them to where I wanted the duck house to ultimately be located. I was able to easily carry or slide the others by myself which was great. (They also would have easily fit in the back of my Subaru had I wanted to load them up to drive the boxes a bit further to assemble the duck house.)
I was impressed, as always, by how nice the workmanship is on all the Urban Coop Company products. I love how they are packed so carefully in the boxes to prevent any shipping damage and how all the drill bits and hardware arrive organized in a reusable plastic tote. All you need is a cordless drill to assemble the duck house. Everything else is in the kit - including the drill bits you need.
I put the duck house together by myself in about 4 hours of leisurely assembly time, stopping for frequent breaks to make notes on the instructions and to take photos. The instructions are very easy to follow and are accompanied by both color sketches and photographs to help you along. Two people could easily get the house assembled in 2-3 hours, as the instruction booklet states.
You can see how closely the duck house matches the Urban Coop Company Round Top Chicken Coop making it a natural transition for you to add some ducks to your backyard and get them their own matching house!
Of course there are some differences between duck housing and chicken housing. Ducks don't sleep on roosts nor do they necessarily need a row of nesting boxes - and the nesting area they do have access to needs to be at ground level. Montie and I were both adamant that a duck house has got to have a swimming pool..and even better if it has a sun deck or swim platform too.
Predator-proof secure latches on all the doors and gates. There's no way even a raccoon is getting this latch open! The house also features 1x2" welded wire which ensures that even snakes and weasels can't get in. The only vulnerable area is around the perimeter. To prevent digging predators, the perimeter should be lined with pavers or stones or fencing should be sunk or aproned out along the ground as a barrier to digging to keep your ducks 100% safe.
A hidden nesting area tucked under the sun deck where your ducks can lay their eggs and get out of inclement weather. Easily accessible by a small door in the back so you can collect the eggs, the nesting area can be filled with straw or shavings so your ducks can make their own nest.
A grassy play yard where the ducks can eat grass, get some exercise and where their automatic feeder and waterer are located. The ducks access the pool from the play yard using an extra-wide ramp that's nestled up against the side fencing to help the ducks keep their balance and not topple off - as ducks are known to do!
The duck house is fairly lightweight and I can easily shimmy it to a new location by myself, however two people can pick it up to move it periodically to new grass, or into the shade or the sun, etc. This is not exactly a duck "tractor" but it's not hard to move if needed. Also, the play yard is detachable for super easy cleaning!
Of course the swimming pool and sun deck/swim platform are the most exciting features of the whole duck house! The pool is generously-sized and holds 20 gallons, so it's easily filled with the garden hose and two or three ducks can swim at the same time. The ducks had no problems getting in and out of the pool using the lip on the swim platform to get out.
(Note: Care should always be taken with small ducklings, especially if they are housed with adult ducks to be sure they aren't accidentally drowned, but I'm told by Montie and Dyan that they 'field tested' the pool on month-old ducklings and the little ones were hopping in and out of the pool all day long with no trouble at all)
Under the adjacent swim platform is a drainage pan that whisks any water the ducks splash out of the pool down the drain and out through a hose. And just wait until you see how green and lush the grass grows where the pool water empties out! Because of the rounded top, your ducks will have plenty of head room to flap their wings and preen after they're done swimming.
The duck house comes with a handled scoop that you can use to bail out the pool when it needs refilling, and the whole tub slides out for easy cleaning as well.
Once I had the duck house put together and situated in a nice shady spot, I filled the pool, put some straw in the hidden nesting area and Penny, our Ancona, and Maggie, one of our Magpies, volunteered to test it out - and as you can see, they just loved it!
We have nine ducks right now, which is too big of a flock to all fit into this duck house, which is recommended for up to four ducks...so I think I have an excuse to get some more ducklings! What do you think?
Disclaimer: I was provided a Round Top Duck House by the company for review. If you purchase a Duck House for your ducks, I will receive a small portion of that sale at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own, completely honest, and not influenced in any way by any prior or future remuneration provided by the Urban Coop Company. Thank you for supporting those companies that support Fresh Eggs Daily!