Everything You Need to Know About Duck Coops
Ducks can be a great addition to your farm or homestead as they usually require low maintenance and produce great eggs. While ducks are a popular alternative poultry option to raise on your farm, they are different than chickens and may require different needs and attention. When it comes to raising any animal, it’s important to know the type of shelter the animal needs to survive and flourish.
Do ducks need a coop? Ducks need to be kept in a coop or secure shelter at night to keep them safe from predators. A coop can also provide shade in the summer and a warm environment in the winter. Unlike chickens, ducks don’t roost, and they’ll tend to stay at the ground level of the coop rather than using the nesting boxes.
Understanding duck behavior and their preferences can help you create the perfect environment for your ducks to flourish. When it comes to finding shelter for your ducks, keep reading to learn more!
Things to Consider About Duck Coops
While ducks are similar to chickens, they do have their differences, even when it comes to how they behave in their coop. Here are some things to consider when it comes to housing your ducks:
Ducks Can Live With Chickens
Before you decide to build or buy an entirely new coop for your ducks, you should know that ducks can live alongside chickens and share a coop with them as well. For the most part, ducks and chickens can get along well and live among each other without incident.
While ducks can live with chickens, ducks should have an enclosed area to run around in with access to a water source they can float in. Ducks like water and are designed to spend time floating and looking for food on the surface of the water. Ducks also tend to stay closer together as a flock compared to chickens. Where one duck goes, the others will usually follow.
While ducks and chickens do have their differences, they can co-exist successfully; you’ll just want to make sure that both species’ needs are met. A chicken coop will work fine for ducks; however, you’ll just want to make sure that there is space in the coop for each bird and it’s not over-crowded.
Ducks Do Not Roost
You may wonder exactly what poultry do when they are in their coops. Chickens tend to roost in their coop and lay eggs. Roosting is when a bird has a specific spot that it likes to bed down and rest. Roosting can cause a desire in the bird to go back to this spot whenever they want to sleep, nest, or rest. This is why chickens go back to their coop every night.
Unlike chickens, ducks do not roost. They have no inclination to go back to the same place over and over again to lay their eggs or rest. Instead, ducks are more likely to sleep or lay eggs whenever or wherever they want. Although they do not roost, they may seek out comfortable areas like straw bedding or shavings where they can rest and sleep.
Ducks Like Being Close to the Ground
Since ducks don’t roost, they probably won’t use nesting boxes or roosting beams that are found in most coops. When in a coop, ducks will tend to stay closer to the ground level, resting and even laying eggs on the floor. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure the floor is covered with bedding and cleaned regularly so the ducks can have a sanitary area to rest. When you walk into the chicken coop, always watch your step since there will most likely be some duck eggs on the ground!
Ducks Don’t Have a Nighttime
You may have wondered why chickens seem to have a natural bedtime where they’ll all make their way back into the coop for the night. The reason for this is since chickens roost, they will return to the same place to rest. Roosting gives them a sense of security and safety.
Ducks, on the other hand, do not roost; therefore, they do not have any special connection with their coop. For this reason, ducks are not inclined to go back to their coops at nighttime; they’ll need to be rounded up and “put to bed.” Ducks can also be very active at night, which makes it less likely for them to tire and go back to their coop at a specific time.
Duck Produce Moisture
When ducks breathe, they tend to exhale out much moisture. This can cause excessive moisture and humidity in some coops, so it’s important to make sure the coop is well ventilated. If your ducks live with chickens, the excess moisture can cause negative effects for the chickens and make it difficult for them to breathe. You’ll want to monitor the coop and check for signs of condensation or mold to ensure the coop is getting proper ventilation.
How to Make the Perfect Duck Coop
Now that we’ve covered duck behavior and how they’ll use their coop, let’s talk about how you can make the perfect coop for your ducks. Even if you have your ducks bedding down with chickens, you can add these special touches to ensure your ducks are comfortable and have what they need.
Make a Ground-Level Coop
Since ducks like to nest and rest closer to the ground, make sure your coop provides space for them at a ground-level. Initially, you may find this difficult to maintain since waste and droppings tend to accumulate on the floor of the coop. You’ll want to make sure that the coop is cleaned out regularly. By placing a tarp or tiles on the floor of the coop, you can easily remove and replace bedding when cleaning out the coop.
Have Comfortable Bedding
It’s important that you provide your ducks with comfortable bedding where they can nest and keep warm on cold nights. As mentioned earlier, ducks will lay their eggs on the floor of the coop; good bedding will also protect the eggs and keep them safe until gathering.
Bad bedding can produce dust that makes it difficult for your poultry to breathe. You’ll want to choose bedding that provides comfort and insulation for your ducks but also doesn’t contaminate the air of the coop. Straw or recycled shredded paper is a good option for bedding that meets all of these qualifications.
Provide Adequate Ventilation
Coops, in general, should have good ventilation. With improper ventilation, coops can become dangerous for our poultry. Mold can grow on bedding and walls, dust can make it impossible to breathe, and waste and excrement can make a horrible smell. When it comes to housing for your ducks, there should be open areas covered with mesh to provide airflow while also protecting against predators and adding security.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Often Do Ducks Lay Eggs?
Ducks lay an egg about every day. Ducks may not always lay their eggs in their coop but also may lay them in soft patches of grass or in shrubs. Ducks will usually lay their eggs overnight, so you’re more likely to find them in the coop if you secure them for the night. Remember, you’ll more than likely find the duck eggs on the floor of the coop since that is where ducks tend to nest.
Do Ducks Need to Go in a Coop at Night?
While ducks don’t need a coop at night, you can secure them in a coop to keep them safe from predators. Many predators are most active at night and will target nesting ducks. If you do leave your ducks out at night, they will tend to stay together and nest all in the same place.
How Long Do Ducks Sleep?
While in a coop, ducks may sleep for a few hours at a time. While chickens tend to sleep through the night, ducks will sleep periodically before waking. Ducks also take naps throughout the day, floating on the surface of the water or resting in the shade of a bush. Domesticated ducks usually sleep with their necks turned and their heads resting on their backs. Ducks may sleep more in colder or hotter months while trying to conserve energy.
As semi-nocturnal animals, ducks can cause a ruckus in their coop when they’re awake. They may chitter and chatter with each other, preen themselves, and even move around. You may wonder how this affects chickens that may be living in the same coop as the ducks. Chickens tend to ignore the ducks and still get a good night’s sleep, even with the chaos the ducks may cause.
I hope you found this article answered your questions about duck coops. While ducks stay in a coop to stay safe at night, they are still at risk of danger during the day. Investing in a guardian animal for your ducks can help keep your ducks safe from predators. To learn about the best guardian animals for your livestock and poultry, check out my article What Are the Best Livestock Guardian Animals?