Homesteading, Gardening, and Off-Grid Living

Housing for Ducks: How to Build a Duck House

By: Zac Friedman

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If you’re a homesteader looking to add ducks to your backyard, you might wonder where and how you’ll house them. Ducks don’t need much in terms of shelter. All they need is a secure and dry place to protect them from predators and the elements. This guide outlines housing for ducks. We’ll look at different duck house designs. We’ll cover duck house sizing, ventilation, security, construction materials, bedding, predator-proofing, and more. In addition, we’ll outline how to build comfortable habitat for your ducks. Hopefully, this guide helps you build or buy the perfect duck house for your flock.

How to Build a Duck House or Duck Coop

What is a Duck House?

A Duck House is a structure that provides shelter and protection for your ducks. It can be used to protect the ducks from predators, keep the ducks warm in cold weather, protect them from rain and snow, and provide a safe place to lay eggs and nest. A duck house is similar to a chicken coop or rabbit hutch. A duck house can also be referred to as a duck coop.

Duck house designs vary greatly. When it comes to size, each duck needs 4-6 square feet of floor space inside the duck house. The duck house should be at least 3 feet tall.

Unlike a chicken coop, a duck house does not need nesting boxes or roosting bars. Domestic ducks can’t fly. They sleep on the ground.

housing for ducks

You can build your own duck house or buy a duck house. Alternatively, you can convert a shed, dog house, or old children’s playhouse can into a duck house.

If you choose to make your own duck house, the walls should be made out of wooden boards or other material that is rot-resistant and thick enough to deter any predator from entering the house. You’ll also need a door that securely latches closed. In addition, it’s important for the duck house to have adequate ventilation so as not to cause excessive moisture build-up inside. Ducks tend to track a lot of water into their house. Excess moisture could lead to mold growth or other health issues for the ducks.

To protect your ducks from predators, consider building a fully-enclosed duck run around the duck shelter. The run should have at least 10-15 square feet of space for each duck.

It is important to situate your duck house near a body of water. Ducks need access to water to stay healthy. The water source should be deep enough for swimming and dipping their heads and preening their feathers. If ducks don’t clean their nasal passages, they can become infected. Ducks also need water to maintain feather health.

A duck and ducklings outside of their duck house

Duck House Vs Chicken Coop: What’s the Difference?

Duck houses and chicken coops share many similarities. They are both designed to shelter domestic poultry. They’re made from the same materials. The size and shape are similar. They also have a number of important differences. A duck house is much simpler than a chicken coop.

One of the most significant distinctions is that a duck house doesn’t need nesting boxes like a chicken coop does. Ducks lay their eggs in a nest on the ground. They can share a nest. A duck house just needs some litter on the ground, such as straw or wood shavings, for the ducks to nest in.

Ducks also do not require roosting bars like chickens do because ducks sleep on the ground. A duck house also doesn’t need to be as tall as a chicken coop because ducks don’t perch in high places like chickens.

As far as size goes, a duck house should be slightly larger than a chicken coop for the same number of birds. Ducks need a bit more floor space than chickens because they are larger birds.

It’s also important for a duck house to have sufficient air circulation throughout the interior. This helps prevent moisture buildup which can lead to mold and bacterial growth. Ducks introduce lots of water into their duck coop. For this reason, a duck house needs more ventilation than a chicken coop.

Duck houses and chicken coops are very similar. It’s possible to keep ducks in your chicken coop, if you have space. You can’t really keep chickens in a duck house.

For more info, check out my guide to raising backyard ducks vs chickens.

A flock of ducks

Duck House Size: How Big Should My Duck House Be?

The size of your duck house depends on the number of ducks you plan to keep. As a rule of thumb, each duck needs at least 4 square feet of floor space. For example, if you plan to keep three ducks, you’ll need a duck house that measures 12 square feet (3 ducks x 4 sq ft per duck = 12 sq ft). You could build a duck house that’s 4 feet long by 3 feet wide.

Ducks nest on the floor so the shelter doesn’t need to be very tall. Your duck house should be a minimum of 3 feet tall.

This is the minimum size. Ideally, the duck house should be slightly larger. It’s a good idea to increase the dimensions by at least a few inches to accommodate for the size of the duck’s bedding. The duck house should also be large enough for a human to access for cleaning purposes.

If you think you may breed ducks or increase the size of your duck flock in the future, consider building a duck house with extra space. Alternatively, design your duck house so it can be expanded in the future.

If you plan to raise free range ducks, you can get away with a small duck house to keep your ducks safe and comfortable at night. If you don’t plan to allow your ducks to free-range, you’ll need to build a run. This is a fenced outdoor space where your ducks can roam around.

To keep ducks, you’ll need a minimum of 10 square feet of space per duck. Ideally, each duck should have 15-20 square feet of space. The more space, the better. If you plan to keep three ducks, you’ll need at least 30 square feet of space. Preferably more.

You should also consider the breed of ducks you plan to raise when deciding how big to build your duck house and run. Some duck breeds are larger than others. For example, Pekin ducks are significantly larger than Khaki Campbells or Rouen ducks. Because Pekins are larger, they need a larger duck house. Ideally, each Pekin duck should have 6 square feet of space.

Some cities also have ordinances for duck and chicken keeping. There may be minimum requirements for duck coop space. Oftentimes each bird must have at least 3-4 square feet of indoor space by law.

For more info, check out my guide to homestead space requirements and layouts.

A small duck house

The Duck House Entrance

The duck house needs a door so the birds can enter and exit. The door needs to meet the specific needs of ducks.

The duck house door should be wider than a chicken coop door. A good size for a duck house door is 14 inches wide by 12-14 inches tall. Ideally, the door should be wide enough for two ducks to enter or exit the coop at once. This is necessary because ducks prefer to walk in pairs. They also tend to push and shove. If the door is too narrow, they can get stuck.

You should also consider the breed of ducks you’re raising when designing the entrance of your duck house. Larger breeds, such as Muscovy ducks or Pekin ducks, require a wider door.

The duck house door is crucial for keeping your duck safe and secure. The door needs to keep your ducks in at night. More importantly, it needs to be strong enough to keep predators out.

You can build the door out of wood, metal, or plastic. To add some strength and security, consider adding a layer of hardware cloth to the inside of the door. This can keep your ducks safe if the door starts to wear out or rot with age.

The latch that locks the duck coop door needs to be predator-proof. Intelligent predators are capable of operating simple latches. A two-step latch is necessary on duck coops.

You also need to make sure that your ducks can access the entrance. Ducks are not very maneuverable creatures on land. Their bodies sit close to the ground. Their legs are also pretty weak for their body size. To allow your ducks to enter and exit the duck house, the entrance needs to be low enough to the ground so that ducks can easily access it.

If your duck house isn’t at ground level, you will need to build a ramp for your ducks to walk up into their duck house. The ramp should have a gentle slope. It should also be textured so the ducks’ webbed feet get plenty of grip when wet. You don’t want your ducks slipping and sliding down the ramp. If your ramp is narrow, you should also consider adding some railings to the sides of your ramp to prevent the ducks from falling off.

Security: Predator Proofing a Duck House

To ensure your duck’s safety, it’s essential to make sure their duck house is secure from potential predators. Ducks are the prey of a number of common animals including housecats, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, foxes, badgers, owls, bobcats, owls, eagles, hawks, snakes, and more. When designing your duck house, you need to protect your ducks from burrowing predators, ground predators, and aerial predators.

A raccoon looking through a fence
Raccoons will eat your ducks and eggs if they make their way into the shelter

To protect your ducks from burrowing predators, the duck house itself should have a solid base. The bottom shouldn’t be open. A solid piece of wood or concrete slab base will help keep predators out. It’s also a good idea to bury a sheet of hardware cloth under the base of the duck house. This will act as an extra layer of protection for your ducks. Predators can’t burrow through it.

If you’re building a duck run, line it with a fence made from hardware cloth. The hardware cloth should be buried a minimum of 12-18 inches below ground. This will prevent the majority of burrowing predators from digging under the fence and into the duck run. The fence will also keep ground predators out of the run. To keep ground predators out, the fence needs to be 6-8 feet tall.

When building your duck run, use hardware cloth in place of chicken wire. Hardwear cloth is a much thicker and more durable material. It can withstand gnawing and clawing from small animals much better. Chicken wire is too flexible. Some animals can bend it and crawl through it. Hardware cloth also lasts longer than chicken wire. This reduces future maintenance.

To protect your ducks from flying predators, such as birds of prey, consider building a cover over the duck run. In other words, make the run completely enclosed. To make your run completely enclosed, you will have to build a frame out of wood or metal poles. To cover the top of the run, you could build a metal roof and make it rainproof. Alternatively, you could simply cover the top of the frame with a hardware cloth top.

If you follow these guidelines when building your duck house and run, you can guarantee that your ducks remain safe and sound at all times.

Duck House Latch

You need a lock or latch to keep your duck house door closed at night. The latch must be predator-proof. Intelligent predators, such as raccoons, are capable of operating simple latches such as deadbolts and lift latches. If a predator gets into your duck house, they can eat your eggs or your birds.

A locking eye hook is a secure latch that predators can’t operate. Alternatively, you could install a simple latch and put a padlock on it at night. This will ensure that your birds stay safely locked in their coop.

Windows

Windows on duck coops are optional. Because ducks spend most of their day in their run or free-ranging, they don’t need the extra light that windows offer. Ducks love to be outside, even when it’s snowing or raining. That said, there are a few reasons you might want to consider installing windows.

Windows give the ducks a bit of extra light. During the winter when days are short, the extra light can help promote egg laying. The more light your ducks get, the better. Ducks also love to be outdoors. Letting some daylight in can brighten their mood.

If your ducks require extra light, you can install a coop light instead of adding windows. This would be cheaper and more effective than installing windows in your existing duck house.

Another reason to add windows to duck coops is for aesthetic reasons. Some people like the look of windows. For example, maybe you want to make your duck house look like a miniature house or a log cabin. Windows can help you achieve the look you want.

You might also add windows for some extra ventilation. You could open the windows on hot days to let some extra airflow through the duck house. This can help dry things out. Your ducks will also stay cooler and more comfortable. When the weather is poor, you can close the windows.

If you choose to install windows in your duck house, it’s important that they be completely sealed to keep rain and wind out. You may also consider installing shutters so you can cover the windows if they get broken or if the weather is extreme.

If you build your duck house with windows that open, you should cover them with a layer of hardware cloth. This will keep predators out.

Ventilation

Maintaining proper ventilation in a duck house is incredibly important for the health of your ducks. Ducks are waterfowl, which means they are usually wet. They can track water into the duck house on their feathers and feet. In addition, ducks emit moisture when they breathe. Ducks also produce watery excrement, which introduces more moisture.

If their duck house isn’t ventilated properly excess moisture can build up. This can lead to mold and fungal growth, which poses serious health risks to the ducks. Bacteria can also multiply quickly in wet conditions. This can make your ducks sick Diseases can spread quickly in wet environments.

Ventilation helps to keep the duck house dry and keep your ducks healthy. By providing adequate airflow in the duck house, moisture is able to escape and be replaced with fresh air. The interior of the duck house and the duck bedding dries out quickly when there is good ventilation.

A great way to ensure good ventilation in a duck house is to install windows that can be opened when needed. The windows should be placed near the top of the walls. Warm air rises and exits through the windows. The size and placement of windows will depend on the size of your duck house. The larger your duck house is, the larger the windows need to be.

Additionally, having two doors at opposite ends of your duck house will help promote cross-ventilation so that fresh air circulates throughout the entire space. Leave the windows and doors open while your ducks are in the run or free ranging. The house will dry out during the day.

If your duck house has open windows, it’s important to cover the openings with hardware cloth or chicken wire to keep predators, such as raccoons, out. This way, your birds can enjoy ventilation and stay safe from predators. Alternatively, you could install shutters that can lock closed.

Types of Materials to Use to Build a Duck House

Wood boards

The types of material used to build your duck house can play a role in the comfort and safety of your birds as well as the longevity of your duck house. There are a number of materials that can be used.

Wood is the most popular choice for building a duck house. Wood is durable, easy to work with, and can be painted or stained to give it character. Cedar is also preferred due to its resistance to rot and decay. Pressure-treated lumber is also ideal because it helps keep pests away and provides long-term protection against moisture. Plywood is often used for the walls because it’s lightweight yet sturdy. If you use untreated wood, your duck house will only last a couple of years before it begins to rot away. Untreated wood can’t handle the moisture. You can use scrap wood if you don’t mind rebuilding your duck house in a couple of years.

Metal may not be the first material people think of when building a duck house but it is an excellent choice due to its durability and low maintenance needs. Steel sheets or galvanized aluminum are ideal because they resist rust, which helps extend their life expectancy. The downside to metal is that it can become very hot when exposed to direct sunlight. You need to make sure your duck coop has adequate ventilation before using this material as your structure base. A metal duck coop needs windows.

Plastic may seem like an odd choice but it has several advantages over other materials when building a duck house. Acrylic, vinyl, and polycarbonate plastics all have great weather resistance properties. They won’t corrode or rot like wood or metal would if exposed to harsh conditions such as rain or snow. Plastics also come in many colors and shapes so you have plenty of design options available when building your duck house. 

Roofing Material

The roof of your duck house needs to be waterproof so your birds stay dry in the rain. Solid, waterproof materials like asphalt shingles or galvanized steel are great choices for duck house roofs. Other materials such as cedar shingles are also suitable but may require some maintenance as they age.

If possible, consider building your duck house under an existing shelter for extra protection. For example, you could build it under a carport, garage overhang, or in a barn.

Insulation Material

The final consideration when selecting materials for your duck house is whether or not you want to include insulation. In most climates, insulation is not necessary. Ducks are hardy creatures.

If you live in a location that experiences extremely cold weather, adding insulation inside your structure will help keep your feathered friends warm in winter months by providing an extra layer of protection between them and the environment.

A number of insulation options are available. Fiberglass insulation, straw bales wrapped with plastic sheeting, or even foam boards can be used depending on how much insulation you need and how large your duck coop is.

Duck Run

A duck and ducklings in a run

A Duck run is a fenced area around the duck coop that provides your ducks with a safe place to roam and exercise without having to worry about predators. You also won’t have to worry about your ducks escaping while they’re in the run.

To ensure the run is secure from predators, it should be completely enclosed with walls and a roof. The walls should also extend into the ground.

This completely enclosed design prevents climbing predators such as raccoons, weasels, bobcats, or minks from entering. It also prevents aerial predators such as eagles or hawks from flying in. The deep walls prevent burrowing predators such as foxes and coyotes from digging under the fence and accessing the run.

The run should be made of materials that are durable enough to withstand wet and muddy conditions. The fencing surrounding the run should be sturdy enough to prevent any predators from breaking into the run.

Because domestic ducks can’t fly, the run doesn’t have to be very tall. A duck run only needs to be 3-4 feet tall. The fencing should extend 12-18″ into the ground to prevent burrowing predators from entering the run. A gate at the entrance is also necessary so you can access the run for cleaning. The gate should have a secure latch to prevent intelligent predators from opening it.

To secure the run, you can use hardware cloth. Secure the hardware cloth directly to the duck run structure.

You can use hardware cloth or bird netting to secure the top of the run. Bird netting isn’t quite as durable. It will need to be replaced more frequently than hardware cloth.

Your duck run will get wet and muddy. Ducks will move in and out of the water and track water into the run. Ducks also produce large and loose droppings that make the run wet. Bacteria can multiply and make your ducks sick.

To keep your ducks healthy and happy, consider placing straw on the ground of the run. Straw can help absorb any excess moisture. This can reduce bacterial growth. You will need to clean the run regularly to keep your ducks healthy.

Inside the run, you also need a waterer for every 6-8 ducks. Ducks drink surprisingly large quantities of water.

You need to have some type of water source inside of the duck run. Ducks need access to water at all times. You should place a pond, baby pool, or trough in the run as a water source.

Creating a shady area in the run can provide relief from sun rays during hot days. This shady area could either come in the form of trees or a special shade structure. The shade structure should help block out direct sunlight while still allowing airflow into the space. 

Ducks don’t need shade like chickens. On hot days, they can jump into their duck pool to cool off. They do appreciate having a shady spot to rest.

Fencing

You don’t have to build a duck run. You can simply let your ducks roam freely on your property. You will need some type of fencing to keep your ducks where you want them. If you don’t have a fence, they can roam and get lost.

Domestic ducks can’t fly. You don’t need a tall fence to keep them in place. A 2 foot tall fence is sufficient. This short fence won’t provide any protection for your ducks. It will just keep them on your property.

Duck House Water Access

A duck swimming in a pond

Ducks need to have access to a clean water source to remain healthy. This means there must be a water source inside of the duck run or on the pasture where your ducks forage. You can use a duck pond, a baby pool, or a trough as a water source for your ducks.

Ducks need to regularly dip their bills and heads into water. This helps to keep their mucus membranes moist and clean. Ducks should never go more than 8 hours without access to water. If ducks don’t have access to water, they can get sick. Ducks can develop an infection if they don’t dip their heads in water regularly. The water source needs to be deep enough for them to submerge their heads. Ducks also like to dive. You don’t need a super deep body of water but your duck will appreciate it.

A duck drinking water
At a minimum, your duck run needs a place where your ducks can dip their head in the water. They also need a pond or pool on your property

Ducks also need an area where they can splash around and wet their bodies and preen their feathers. When a duck splashes itself, an oil gland activates and excretes oil that makes the feathers waterproof. This helps duck swim. It also helps to protect the ducks from both hot and cold weather. The water source needs to be large enough for your ducks to swim and splash around.

Ducks like to swim, even during the winter months. It’s important that your ducks have access to water year-round. If you live in a cold climate, you’ll have to find a way to prevent your ducks’ water source from freezing. There are a number of tricks you can use to prevent your duck pond from freezing. Check out this guide to caring for ducks during the winter for some ideas.

Of course, ducks also need to drink water. You should have waterers in the run area. There should be one waterer for every 6-8 ducks. Ducks drink a surprising amount of water. On average, each duck drinks around 1-1.5 liters of water per day.

The Floating Duck House

A floating duck house on a pond
A floating duck house on a pond

If you have a large duck pond on your property, you might consider building a floating duck house. A floating duck house is a great way to give your ducks a cozy spot to relax in that is safe from predators. It can also look beautiful on your property.

Floating duck houses are usually built out of wood. They are anchored to the bottom of the pond so they don’t float to the edge. Most floating duck houses are anchored with pilings or stakes that are planted in the bottom of the pond and protrude up through the surface of the water. This allows the floating duck house to be securely fastened and remain stable in different water depths and conditions.

Floating duck houses often have an A-frame or peaked roof. Inside, it is typically equipped with bedding like straw or hay for comfort and insulation. A floating duck house also needs a ramp to give your ducks easy access into and out of the water. With proper construction materials and maintenance, floating duck houses will last many years without needing any significant repairs.

DIY Duck House Designs

A floating duck house

Building your own DIY duck house is an easy, fun, and affordable way to provide your ducks with a safe and comfortable home. There are a number of different DIY duck house designs to choose from. You could build a simple rectangular box with a pitched roof. Another popular design is the A-frame duck house.

You can make your DIY duck house as simple or as elaborate as you choose. The only limits are your carpentry skills and your imagination. For example, you could make your duck house look like a barn, cabin, castle, or miniature model of your own house. Get creative with it.

A few tips for designing your DIY duck coops include:

  • Construct the main part of the house out of wood, with a pitched roof to keep out rain and snow.

  • Make sure the house has enough space to comfortably fit all of your ducks while they sleep.

  • Provide adequate ventilation on all sides to ensure fresh air flows through the duck house during hot summer days.

  • Line the inside of the house with straw bedding or other soft material to make it cozy for your ducks.

  • Create an outdoor run area so that your ducks can safely roam around outside and so they can’t get lost.

  • Construct a small pond or pool in the duck run.

For some inspiration, check out this great list of DIY duck house designs.

How to Build a DIY Duck House

Before you start building your DIY duck house, first, decide on the size of the duck house. This will depend on the number of ducks you plan to keep in it. Consider building your duck house slightly larger than you need so you have space for more ducks and so your ducks have a bit of extra room.

Additionally, decide on a location for your DIY duck house. It will be difficult to move after it’s built so make sure you choose the right place to build your structure. Make sure you build your duck house in an area that is secure from predators but still receives plenty of sunlight and ventilation. The location should also offer good drainage so your duck house doesn’t flood when it rains. Also, make sure the area you select is large enough to accommodate your duck house.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Materials

Wood is recommended for creating the structure. You’ll need some lumber for framing. 2x4s work well. Plywood is ideal for the walls. You could also use tongue-and-groove boards. Make sure the wood you choose is pressure-treated so it can handle the weather and moisture. You can also use scrap wood.

You’ll also need some type of roofing material for your duck house. Corrugated sheet metal works well. You could also use standard shingles. In addition, you’ll need a couple of hinges and a latch to make the door. You’ll also need some chicken wire to cover the windows.

To hold your duck house together, you’ll need nails, screws, and wood glue. You’ll also need some basic tools such as a drill, saw, and hammer. To make your plans, you’ll need a pen and paper. You’ll also need some other basic carpentry tools such as a screwdriver, and measuring tape. You may also need windows and hardware cloth, depending on your design.

Step 2: Measuring and Cutting

Start by measuring out all of your pieces of lumber according to their designated sizes. Use either a hand saw or a power saw to cut them out precisely as measured. Remember, measure twice, cut once. You want to ensure that each piece fits snugly together.

Start by cutting the floor of your duck house to size from a piece of plywood. If your floor is larger than a single sheet of plywood, you’ll need to build a rectangular frame out of lumber to hold the floor.

If you’re building an A-frame duck house, lay two pieces of 2×4 down to make an A shape. Line the bottoms up with the edges of the floor panel. Adjust the boards to give them the proper height. Mark your boards and cut them to size. You’ll need four boards to build an A frame duck house. If you’re building a box-shaped duck coop measure your boards to the height you desire and cut them to size.

Regardless of the design you choose, the top of your DIY duck house should be angled so that water can run off of the roof.

Step 3: Frame Building

Next comes frame building. This involves attaching the frame pieces so they form a box or A-frame duck house shape.

After all of the pieces have been cut correctly, begin assembling them using screws with wood glue as needed for extra stability. Make sure everything is securely fastened.

If the sides of your duck coop are larger than a single sheet of plywood, consider adding some support beams. Cut the beams to size and attach them to your frame. The support beams will make for a stronger frame that can hold up to a heavier snow load and stronger winds.

Step 4: Siding

After the frame has been assembled, it’s time to add the siding to your DIY duck house. This can be either plywood or tongue-and-groove boards.

Measure the sides and top of your duck coop and cut the siding pieces to fit. Cut the top 3-5″ off two of the walls for ventilation.

If you’re building an A-frame duck house, the triangular end walls should have ventilation. The sloped side walls should be solid. If you’re building a box shape, any opposing walls can have ventilation sections.

Next, decide which wall will have the entrance and cut out the door. The door should be at least 12″ tall by 14″ wide. Save the piece you cut out. You’ll need it to make the door later.

Attach all four sides to your duck house with nails or screws. Consider attaching one side with hinges and a latch. This allows you to easily open the duck house for cleaning and collecting eggs.

If your duck house is box-shaped, you’ll also need to measure and cut a roof panel. Securely attach the roof with nails or screws.

Step 5: Roof Construction

The duck coop roof should be made from sturdy a material such as asphalt shingles or metal sheeting. Avoid using any material that may allow water in. Install a layer of tar paper under the roofing. to help make the roof more waterproof.

Next, attach the metal sheeting to the roof with screws. Alternatively, install shingles. Make sure the roof is securely attached to it stays in place during heavy storms.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Once your DIY duck house is done, start adding the finishing touches. Install some hinges and a latch onto the door and re-attach it to the wall that you cut it out of.

Install the windows for extra light and ventilation. The windows should be covered with hardware cloth to keep predators out. If you don’t have windows, you can install shutters or simply leave the windows open.

Trim and sand along the edges so everything looks neat and tidy. Be careful not to leave any sharp edges as these can harm your ducks.

You may also want to use some type of sealant on the outside so that water does not seep into the walls. Also, consider painting or staining the outside walls. This will protect your duck house from the weather and make it look more attractive. A good finish makes for a beautiful duck house.

Install some linoleum or peel-and-stick flooring onto the bottom of the coop. This will make cleaning easier.

Lastly, after all steps have been completed, add bedding materials such as straw into the interior space.

If necessary, build a ramp for your ducks to make it easier for them to climb up into the duck house. This could be as simple as a piece of plywood.

Ducks and chickens on a free ranging on a homestead

DIY Duck House Ideas

You don’t have to buy expensive building materials to build a duck house. You can make a DIY duck house from materials you have laying around your homestead.

Convert an Existing Structure into a Duck House

If you don’t have the tools or skills to build a DIY duck house from scratch, you can start with an old dog house, shed, or a children’s playhouse and convert it into a duck house.

To do this, you will need to seal up all of the openings with wood or chicken wire. You can then install a door that locks securely. You’ll also need to make sure the roof is waterproof. You may also need to install a ramp so your ducks can enter and exit.

Pallet Duck House

If you have some old pallets on hand, you can easily build a pallet duck house. Pallets are a cheap and sturdy building material. A pallet duck house is also a sustainable and environmentally friendly option. If you don’t have pallets, you can also use scrap wood.

There are a couple of ways to build a pallet duck house. You can take the pallets apart and use the boards for siding. Simply build a frame from lumber then nail the pallet boards to the side.

Alternatively, you can leave the pallets intact and use them for walls as they are. Simply stand four pallets on their sides in a box shape and nail them together. You can then nail a piece of plywood on top and add a piece of sheet metal for a roof. Cut a door into one of the pallets. This pallet duck house design offers excellent ventilation.

For some pallet duck house inspiration, check out this guide.

A duckling

Where to Put a Duck House?

The location of your duck house is paramount for keeping ducks safe and healthy and maximizing egg production. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a location for your duck house.

When choosing where to put your duck house, look for an elevated and well-draining spot. Your duck house should be situated on higher ground so that the water won’t accumulate around the house during heavy rainfalls. If your land is prone to flooding, you could build the duck house on stilts. If you do this, you will need a ramp for your ducks. It is also important to ensure there are no sharp drops in elevation near the duck house where your ducks could fall.

Ideally, the front of the duck house should face south so it receives direct sunlight for most of the day. This helps dry out the duck house more quickly after rainy days. 

To make it easier to build your duck run, consider placing your duck house next to a natural or existing barrier such as a fence, garage, or wall may be beneficial. If you do this, you’ll have one less fence to build for your run. The natural barrier can also provide some shelter from rain and wind.

Check that there are no hazards nearby such as pesticides. These could make your ducks sick if ingested. Also, make sure there is no excessive noise from traffic. Traffic noise can stress out birds, which can make them more vulnerable to disease or infection. Stressed and unhealthy birds don’t produce as many eggs.

Ducks also need plenty of space to roam around and forage. Ideally, you need 15-20 square feet per bird. You must make sure that your chosen spot has enough room for all your ducks.

Furthermore, ducks need access to fresh water year-round. For this reason, you should consider finding a location with nearby access to a pond or river if possible. This will allow your ducks to bathe naturally.

If you don’t have access to any natural water source, you will need to buy or build a pond or pool for your ducks. Make sure you have space in the duck run or in the area where you plan to let your ducks free-range.

What do Ducks Need in Their House? Bedding and Nesting Boxes

Duck eggs

Ducks need a comfortable and warm space to sleep and nest in. In this section, I’ll outline how to prepare the inside of your duck house for your ducks before moving them in.

Bedding For Duck Coops

Ducks require bedding that will keep them warm, dry, comfortable, and healthy while resting and laying eggs. Straw, hay, and wood shavings are two popular choices for duck house bedding.

Straw is better bedding than wood shavings. There are a number of reasons for this. First, straw provides more insulation. This makes it ideal for cold climates. You can pile the straw high to create a warm environment for your ducks.

In addition, straw is more moisture-resistant than wood shavings. It also offers quicker drying times. It won’t wet out or soil quite as quickly. You won’t have to replace the bedding quite as frequently if you use straw.

Eventually, your duck’s bedding will get wet and soiled, regardless of the material you use. It’s important to remove wet or soiled bedding from the duck house on a regular basis.

Keeping the bedding dry helps to prevent harmful bacteria and mold from growing. Mold can lead to respiratory infections in your ducks if left unchecked. Aspergillosis is a fatal infection that can occur if you don’t replace the bedding frequently enough. Ducks are more resistant to respiratory problems than chickens but they are still susceptible. particularly if they live in a humid environment.

When changing out the bedding, make sure to use fresh, dry material. Remove the old bedding and clean the house before putting your ducks back. This will ensure that they can stay happy and healthy during all of their adventures in the pond.

When the bedding is soiled, you can compost it. Straw or wood shavings mixed with duck waste makes an excellent fertilizer for your garden or raised beds. Be sure to compost it before placing it around your plants. Fresh duck poop can burn your plants.

Do Ducks Need a Nesting Place?

No. Nesting boxes aren’t necessary for ducks, unlike chickens, which need nesting boxes. If you’d like to install some nesting boxes in your duck house anyway, make sure they are on the ground and at least 14 square inches in size. Fill the nesting boxes with clean straw.

If you’d like to test whether or not your ducks will use nesting boxes, you can place a box on its side in one corner of your duck house. If your ducks use it, great. If they don’t, you can just remove it.

Do Ducks Need a Perch in their Duck House?

No. Ducks do not need a perch in their duck house. Unlike chickens, ducks do not roost. They can’t fly or climb into a perch. Ducks sleep on the floor of the duck house on straw or sawdust bedding. Ducks build a nest in the bedding and share the space.

Flooring for the Duck House

When it comes to the flooring of a duck house, linoleum or vinyl are two great options. Both materials are durable and easy to clean. They can be cut into custom shapes and sizes to fit your duck house perfectly. Both materials are also waterproof and slip-resistant. They are easy to install. You can buy peel-and-stick flooring that simply sticks on.

With either of these two materials, you’ll be able to easily maintain a clean environment for your ducks. You can simply sweep out the duck house. If it gets too dirty, you can hose it out and then let it dry. This flooring can also prolong the life of your duck house by preventing the wood from rotting.

What Should I Put on the Floor of a Duck Run?

There are a number of different materials you can put on the floor of a duck run including pine shavings, cedar shavings, dry shredded leaves, dry grass clippings, pine needles, pea gravel, sand, dirt, straw, or hay.

The best material for the floor of a duck run is hay or straw. Both materials provide soft and warm flooring for your ducks to walk on. These materials dry out quickly. They are also compostable. It is important to regularly change out the hay or straw to ensure that the run stays free of mold.

For more info, check out this guide to duck run flooring.

What Kind of Shelter do Ducks Need in Winter?

A duck standing on a frozen pond in the winter

If you live in a cold climate, you’ll have to plan for winter when building your duck house. Ducks need a dry shelter during the winter months. Be sure to seal the roof so no snow can enter. You should also make sure your duck house is draft-free. Seal all the windows to keep the cold wind out.

To keep your ducks warm during the winter, it’s a good idea to provide an extra thick layer of bedding for some extra insulation. You can add an extra straw layer to the bottom of the duck house to improve insulation.

In most cases, ducks don’t need a heat lamp in their duck house. Heat lamps are a fire hazard. Ducks don’t need the extra heat. They can pull their feet up against their body and tuck their head under a wing to keep warm. Your ducks can also huddle together to keep each other warm.

If you live in an extremely cold climate and your duck house is wired for a heat lamp, you can use one if you choose. Your ducks will appreciate the extra warmth when it’s well below freezing. Alternatively, you can insulate your duck house.

It’s important to ensure that your ducks stay warm enough during the winter. Ducks handle cold weather well but they are still affected by the cold. Ducks can get frostbite in extremely cold weather but it is rare. Frostbite can occur on the face and webbed feet. Extremely cold weather can kill ducks if they don’t have access to a suitable shelter.

Ducks love to go outside and swim, even in the depths of winter. In most cases, ducks don’t need supplemental light in their duck house. The natural light is enough, even when days are short. Most ducks lay eggs year-round.

How to Prevent Duck Pond from Freezing

It’s important to note that ducks also need access to fresh water during the winter. They need to swim and dip their heads in the water, even when the weather is below freezing. You will need to find a way to prevent your duck pond or duck pool from freezing over. There are a number of ways to achieve this.

One helpful trick is to fill bottles halfway full of table salt and let them float in the pond. This can keep the water liquid when the temperatures are down in the teens. Another trick is to float some inflatable balls or ping-pong balls in the pond. This can help keep the water moving so it doesn’t freeze.

Of course, if the weather gets cold enough, your pond will freeze. To prevent this, you can use a heater or bubbler to keep the water in liquid form. Some people use a heated dog water bowl to provide their ducks with fresh water to dip their heads in.

For more tricks, check out this guide.

Do Ducks Need an Insulated House?

No. You don’t need to install insulation in your duck house. Ducks are very cold hardy creatures. They don’t need the extra insulation. They are capable of keeping themselves warm. You should make sure the duck house is properly sealed to keep wind, rain, and snow out.

If you live in an extremely cold climate you may choose to install some insulation to keep your ducks more comfortable. You can pack some straw bails around the duck house to help block the wind and trap some heat. It also helps to use an extra deep layer of straw bedding on the bottom of the duck house. You can install insulation when building the duck house if you choose. Some people install regular rolled insulation like you would use to insulate a house. Another option is to use foam insulation.

Alternatively, you could install a heat lamp. You need to be careful if you install a heat lamp as they are a fire hazard.

Pekin ducks

FAQ About Duck Houses

In this section, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions about duck houses.

How Big of a Yard do you Need for Ducks?

The size of the yard you need for ducks will vary depending on how many ducks you plan to keep. Generally, ducks do best in areas with plenty of water and open space to roam.

You need to provide at least 10 square feet per duck in an open space. You should keep a minimum of three ducks in your duck flock. If you have one or two ducks, they will get lonely. This means you need a minimum of 30 square feet to keep ducks.

Of course, a larger space is always better if possible. Ideally, you should have 15-20 square feet per duck.

This means you can raise ducks in an urban environment in an average-sized backyard. You don’t need acreage to raise ducks.

Do Ducks Need a Duck House or Duck Coop?

Ducks need access to a weather-resistant and secure duck housing to protect them from the elements and predators. You can call this shelter a duck house or a duck coop. The terms are interchangeable.

What Type of Shelter do Pekin Ducks Need?

Pekin ducks live in the same type of duck housing as any other breed of duck. Pekin ducks are a larger duck breed. On average, they weigh 8-10 lbs. Muscovy ducks are also a larger breed.

If you’re planning on keeping Pekin ducks, consider building your duck house on the larger side. Give each duck at least 6 square feet of floor space inside the duck house. This will give your ducks plenty of space to sleep and lay their eggs.

Can You Use a Dog House for Ducks?

Yes. You can certainly use a dog house for duck housing. The dog house will require a few adjustments in order to make it duck-friendly.

Most importantly, you’ll need to build and install a locking door to the dog house. You will need a door to keep your ducks in and protect them from predators. You could build a simple door with wood and some hinges.

Additionally, it’s advisable to add some windows in the structure for ventilation purposes. You can simply cut some holes in the sides for windows. You’ll need to install some hardware cloth or chicken wire over the windows to keep predators out. If ducks don’t have enough air circulation, cramped quarters can become wet, unsafe, and unpleasant quickly.

In addition, you may need to build a ramp to make the dog house easily accessible for your ducks. You will also need to add some litter or bedding to the bottom of the duck house for comfort and insulation. Straw works well.

With these modifications, you’ll easily be able to convert a dog house into a great DIY duck house. If you don’t have a dog house, you could also use a shed or a children’s playhouse. These structures are all easy to convert into a DIY duck house.

Do Ducks Make Good House Pets?

Yes. Ducks can make excellent pets. In addition to keeping you company, they can lay you delicious eggs for breakfast.

Ducks are also extremely entertaining animals. Watching your ducks splashing around in their pond, waddling around your yard, and quacking among themselves is fun. They’re goofy animals. Both adults and children love them. They will put a smile on your face.

Of course, ducks aren’t cuddly pets like cats and dogs. They don’t really enjoy being petted or hugged. You can’t really teach them tricks. If you handle young ducks often as they grow up, you can pick up your ducks and pet them a bit.

The way you raise your ducks affects their behavior. If regularly handle your ducklings from the time they hatch and offer them treats as they mature, they can grow comfortable around you. They can become social. Sometimes they’ll follow you around.

If you just buy fully-grown ducks, they won’t be very social. If you want to raise your ducks as pets, it’s best to raise them from young ducks.

Some breeds of ducks are friendlier than others. For example, Saxony, Black Swedish, Silver Appleyard, and Welsh Harlequin ducks are known for being a bit more social and laid back than other duck breeds. Khaki Campbell and White Crested ducks are a bit less friendly.

Ducks are also relatively easy to care for though they do require a bit of work compared to other pets. Proper duck housing must be provided as well as access to food and water. Ducks also need a safe outdoor area for exercise and grazing. Ducks also need access to a large water source such as a pond or pool. If you have a backyard and a bit of time, you can raise ducks as pets.

If you plan to keep ducks as pets, it’s important to keep in mind that you need a minimum of three ducks. One or two ducks aren’t enough. Ducks prefer to live in a flock. Some people keep two ducks but it isn’t ideal.

For some other livestock ideas, check out my guide to the best homesteading animals for self-sufficiency.

A duck

Final Thoughts About Housing for Ducks

Building a DIY duck house is a rewarding and fun project that any aspiring duck keeper can undertake. Pre-built duck houses are also widely available. Whether you’re shopping for ready-made houses or constructing your own, it’s important to take into consideration the size, location, ventilation, and materials of your duck house. In addition, you also need to make sure the duck house is weather-proof and predator-proof to keep your bids safe. It’s also important to remember that you need a safe area for your birds to roam and forage as well as a water source where your ducks can swim and bathe.

With proper planning and a little creativity, you can create a safe environment for your ducks to rest and thrive in their new home. With these tips in mind, you’re now well-equipped to build the perfect duck housing for your feathered friends!

Have you built a duck house? Are you a duck keeper? Share your experience and tips in the comments below!

How to Build a Duck House pin

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