Per my and the ducks morning routine, I am sat in Cafe du Canard, coffee to hand, as I write this. In fact it is the duck enclosure that is tickling my writing thoughts today. Or rather the concept of duck houses within the enclosure.
A number of times over the past couple months I have been contemplating duck houses. Because of chicken houses. The hope is to get chickens in the spring, so the enclosure is being reviewed with the consideration of where to put a home for the chickens.
Originally I thought I would build a tree house for them. Chickens actually like to roost in trees. Well, some chickens do. However, in researching, it was decided this was problematic. And after all they have the trees themselves to roost in should they like.
And amongst this contemplation, I am also reviewing the ducks’ accommodation.
You see our duck enclosure is large. It’s a garden room within our garden, with stone and mesh walls, and netted ceiling. Plants, herbs, flowers and trees are slowly being added around it to grow up and create green walls. They will also strengthen. The hope is that eventually we will barely be able to see the mesh at all.
It was designed large to give the ducks, and chickens, the freedom to move about when and where they like, within. And within, there are various shelters for them. We do not lock them in to a house at night. Rather they can choose their shelter, as and when needed. It comes instinctively to them.
Their space is large enough, encompassing everything they need, that we don’t actually have to let them out of the enclosure. We do, of course, let them out, as ducks are super curious folk. And like our other pets have freedom to roam within our house and garden.
Sad experiences have taught us that any time outside of the duck enclosure must be supervised time. Consequently they are great helpers when I work on the garden. But in winter our routine is of morning coffee hour in Cafe du Canard and evening glass of wine on the patio by the fire.
I take these opportunities to write, work on a project, edit photographs for the shops or read. And sometimes, simply contemplate. Like today, and the consideration of these duck houses. Or lack there of.
There, I have rambled my way back to the concept of these duck houses.
Now ducks that live in the wild don’t actually have or need houses. But they do like shelter. And in our enclosure that is what we prefer to provide. There are a number of cat carriers dotted about amongst the trees in the enclosure. Considered portable duck nests, but also a form of shelter when wanted.
They are not ideal as they have ventilation slots in the sides, so not a hundred percent waterproof. But in general they work well and the ducks like them especially for nesting.
Through trial and error we have discovered that the preferred style of duck house is a low 2 or 3 sided shelter with a roof. We have built one thus far. It is actually big enough that it could technically shelter almost all the ducks, but which Maggie has claimed as her own, of course. Sometimes she deigns to let George sit in it with her.
There is another sort of lean to shelter as well, but not yet fully rain proof. That’s on the list for January. I have discovered a way to recycle water bottles into roof tiles and guttering. So not only can I make it waterproof, but also collect water for the ducks, too.
In the meantime, given the amount of rain we have had recently, I have recently added in our plastic garden cloche tunnels. Since they are not yet needed to protect any plants in the garden at this time of year, they might as well be used as additional duck houses during the cold and wet months.
I have set one in the walled corner as this is a favourite area for the ducks to nap. There is a tree that grows in this corner. In spring and summer, as leaves unfurl, it provides ample shelter and protection. But this time of year, bare branches do little to protect the ducks and keep their straw dry. So a cloche is helping out. And it has me looking, and considering.
This would be the perfect spot for our chicken house (as chicken’s seem to like a more enclosed place to go into at night than ducks). The intent is to use one of our old wine barrels for their house. And in reviewing this spot, I have realised that if we raise the barrel up on to legs, we create a sheltered space underneath of the sort the ducks like. Win, win.
So that is part of this January’s projects in the enclosure. More duck houses, in the style they like.
PS: Love Ducks?
We have a selection of duck gifts available for you or those you know who love ducks. Some vintage, some our own designs, all unique.
(Simply click on the photo to see more, and/or purchase.)