I love raising chicks, it’s one of my favorite parts of spring. I can’t give you all a clear reason why, Hubster is always asking me and I can’t really ever give him a good reason either. It’s a hobby I enjoy. That’s all. This spring, we had too many chickens and I was told I was not allowed to get chicks because we had nowhere to put them. So, when I went to our local feed store for some other random farm necessities, and they had chicks, I was feeling the longing pull me to their bins and stare at their cute fluffiness. MMMM, they are so cute and fluffy and chirpy……..ahem, where was I? Oh right, ducks, so they had ducklings. Which, if you’ve never seen are even cuter and fluffier and chirpier than chicks. But of course we had no room for them. So what did I do? I bought 4, duh.
So when I brought my purchase home and proudly presented them to Hubster, he asked me: “So, where are we putting them?”. I admit this made me take pause for a moment….um….”Oh, I’m building them their own coop” I blurted out, proud of myself for my superior problem solving skills under pressure. “Uh, huh. And where are they going until it’s built?” he asked patiently (He did marry me after all and so he has a vague awareness of where this is headed). “Our basement! I said proudly, I mean, I’ll probably need a little help…” So after we got them settled in our chick brooder down in the basement, I began hunting Pinterest for awesome duck coop designs.
I settled on a simple A frame design that would maximize floor space, while minimizing materials necessary. And Hubster and I got to work. Our base was 5’x5’ plywood on three 4”x4” pressure treated skids. We arrived at these dimensions slightly arbitrarily and given a redo I would have made the base 4’x4’, making more use of our 8’x4’ plywood materials, and would not have been THAT much smaller as to be cramped. Oh well, hindsight is 20:20. We used 5 regular 2”x4”s as “ribs” and T1-11 as the fronts and backs. We used corrugated metal roofing with a top vent for plenty of ventilation. And we finished just in time! Because the ducks had been sharing the coop run with our younger chickens and were getting rather uppity about their cramped quarters.
Their size had been worrying me from the very beginning actually. They started out in my regular chick brooder with no indications of the approaching problem, but within two weeks of having them, I knew we were going to have space issues. Here’s all my chick brooding stuff: feeder, waterer, and mini pond. I have since upgraded to this waterer (the ducks make a huge mess on any water dish and the drinkers help to reduce that somewhat).
The ducklings grew much more rapidly than chicks their age and I was unprepared. They would soon outgrow their small brooder, and as soon as it was safe we moved them outside. After we moved them however I got slightly concerned that maybe they were like goldfish and just grew to the size of their enclosure, in which case I would come out the next morning and their heads would be above the 8’ tall dog kennel fencing we use for our chicken runs, looking down at me and quacking at me in a deep dark voice “Hey Mom!”. But then I woke up and they were still their normal (albeit still rather large) selves.
They seem much happier to be in their new digs and I look forward to adding 2-3 more next year (Honey if you’re reading this I’m just kidding. Hehe. Maybe)
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