We want to share with you the custom duck house that Dusty and Otter's Dad (Nick) built for them. Without any previous experience raising ducks we had to come up with a list of priorities for the design and hope the girls would like it. Our three top priorities were:
- Protecting them from predators
- Functionality/ease of cleaning
Nick is an artist and skilled carpenter so with these objectives in mind he was able to visualize the best use of our yard and how the girls might utilize the space. He came up with an plan that is essentially an elevated deck with an enclosed sleeping area covering about half of it, and a sunken pool on the other side. As the pool is sunken into an elevated deck there is room underneath to easily attach pvc piping for easy drainage. Our lot is naturally sloped downhill so this also eases draining and their pool water runs right into our garden. On the other side of their deck is a garden with a ramp that leads up to their bedroom. The entire structure is encased in 1/4" hardware cloth to keep them safe at all times but allow for maximum ventilation and air flow. We were sure to bury hardware cloth under the earth in their garden (about 12" down) and attach to all sides of the enclosure so no animals could dig in from the outside. Each piece of hardware cloth is securely fastened with lathe screws instead of staples to bolster security. We have raccoons, coyotes, foxes and eagles in our area and heard too many horror stories of pens being broken into to take any chances with the girls. There are two doors, one at the pool/bedroom level which opens wide for easy cleaning of both their pool deck and house, and one at the garden level which is built to be standing height for an adult, also for ease of cleaning and comfort. Each is fitted with two padlocks and closes tightly. Nick did an amazing job making it safe, secure, easy to clean and pleasing to the eye. This was our first project on our newly purchased property. We often joke that their house is nicer than ours (kind of true :)
Nick used pressure treated lumber for most of it to protect it from the elements and repeated hosings and cleanings, while their bedroom is fairly protected from the elements so we used plywood which was painted with exterior paint. The roof is corrugated aluminum which we had cut to size at our local number yard. The pool is a large rubbermaid stock tank from the tractor supply. Nick drilled a hole in the bottom and fitted it with a standard shower drain from the hardware store. He then set the tub into an opening in the deck he built and attached pvc pipe to the shower drain with a valve at the end by our garden. We drain their pool every other day and refill it with fresh water. We planted a number of grasses and lavender plants in their garden, but they ate or trampled everything except for two moor grasses (which they love sleeping under). Every night we "tuck them in" to their house with a bed of fresh straw and give them a bowl of water and some snacks. They adore their house and love going to bed as I think they feel safe and secure and know they don't have to worry about any predators seeing them. We've attached a video tour of the house which I made a few years ago. Hopefully it inspires you to build the duck house of your dreams!