How to build a duck home at PumpjackPiddlewick

My duck enclosure has and always will be a work in progress. I learned a lot from the previous enclosure I made in previous homes. Now it was time to improve on my duck home.

The three biggest learnt factors

You always have to have an eye to safety for the ducks, from the 4 legged predators but also the overhead flying ones. It’s important to consider safety from all sides.

Lots of trees and/or bushes for shade in the summer are needed. These are also good places to hide and nest when the mood strikes.

And lastly, but not least, a pond or three, that are easily (re)movable and therefore cleanable or a self cleaning pond system. A very definite must as ducks love water, but are also incredibly messy creatures.

New and Improved

I am lucky in that I can offer my ducks a completely enclosed walled garden. So my walls of my garden are also the walls of my ducks’ home.

The walls give added benefit of wind protection, as well as an additional hangout place for the ducks. They often can be seen sat snuggled up next to the wall. And the walls also provide shade.

And then there are the trees and other plantings for additional shade, nesting and snoozing spots. So its time to get to start digging. With the help of the ducks of course. This is after all their home. And they are keen to tell me how to decorate it for them.

And so to work

My restoration garden hadn’t been touched in over 20 years, maybe longer. When I moved in it was seriously overgrown. It took weeks just to cut back the undergrowth and months to cut away the creepers.

Over the top of the walled garden, aka duck enclosure, are wires crisscrossing the air space. It keeps the larger, predator birds out. Whilst the little wee birds can easily get in to the feeders dotted about. Birds are smart, and there are a couple of crows that adore sitting on nearby fence posts and watching the activity in the garden, whilst my ducks wander around at my feet helping. They too have learned that this space is safer for them.

Multi-functional Duck Home

It is my intent to have the garden be a multi-functional space. Yes, a space for ducks (and eventually chickens), but also a sort of hidden garden for me. A place to sit, relax, read or enjoy a glass of wine. A shared space, that fulfills home, food provider and relaxation.

With this in mind, zones were planned. Fruit trees were planted around the perimeter and are being espaliered along the walls. They too are multi-functional as shade, wind breaks and in giving me their bounty.

Fruit bushes like currants and raspberries were added for lower level coverage, in between the fruit trees. There are even two asparagus and strawberry beds that have been planted between trees along the perimeter path. These won’t provide as much multi-function (just food), so I am considering adding some physalis too to garner additional height. Fingers crossed.

Interior Decorating

So let us move into the interior. Start by imagining a large square, with you at the bottom side. To the right, we have the duck pond surrounded by bay leaf shoots. These stand about a meter high and provide a great foraging, napping and nesting area. And of course the pond is perfect for duck baths.

The top right corner has a sort of platform area. It used to be a rubbish dump, now cleared. Then filled in, smoothed out and bricks laid. Cafe du Canard has been set up in this corner. My favourite spot for reading, writing or simply duck watching.

And then there is the middle section. Four rows of hugelkultur raised beds have been put in, running parallel to the bottom side of the garden square. As this garden is south facing, come the hotter months and the area will be baking. I need to create additional shade with plants that love sun, but can also climb. Tomatoes for sure. But my favourite is a trellised bean tunnel.

The Perfect Solution

Building a walk through trellis is the perfect solution. This area is a sun trap, even in the cooler months. When the plants are at full throttle, they will create shade in a too sunny spot come the height of summer.

My favourite plants to grow are climbing beans. Its pure joy to walk through the tunnel in summer and pick to my hearts delight. I alternate their growing with different varieties of tomatoes one year. Then various squashes, courgettes (zucchinis), melons, and pickles another year.

And the pièce de résistance! I have a useful, not wasteful, place to get rid of the ‘dirty’ (read highly fertilised) duck pond water. And won’t even have to carry it that far. Ta Da!

In Contemplation

And this is what sitting, musing, in my ducks home netted me. Multi faceted, solution driven ideas. Of course, like all gardens, no matter their size, it takes some planning. And then the work. But it is truly a wondrous thing to see your planned space come to fruition.

More Ducks?

If you enjoy reading about ducks, have ducks of your own or want ducks, I have many many more tails (get it?) in my Duck 101. Hopefully you will find the insights useful, or simply enjoy their stories.

For more gardening posts, check out my Garden Findings.

And please consider nourishing my writings by checking out my Nourish Page.

If you are a duck, or animal, lover like me, you will find some truly unique items for your home or as gifts in My Shop. Here’s a taste…

(Simply click on the image to see more.)

2023-02-17

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