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  1. #1
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    Default Ducks!

    All this chicken talk has reminded me of a duck question I have.

    We had various ducks around 2 summers ago, but they all ended up disappearing. In all but one case, the whole flock disappeared (3-5 each time). That time 1 survived, but was lost in the next round of disappearances. I assume dogs, as there are a number of them roaming around at any one time. I never found any piles of feathers, but I didn't look too hard either. I figured if it was a hawk they would have disappeared one at a time. They weren't tame enough to be easy to catch, so I doubt if anyone stole them.

    We just had them around as decorations more than anything. I did eat one, but it was too much work to pluck and not worth the effort. They seemed to do a good job of cleaning up the pond though, keeping weeds down and so forth. Plus they were fun.

    All that to say we want to try again. To that end we've come up with an idea for a 'duckhouse'. I thought I could make something that would start on land and extend out over the pond several feet. The idea would be to hopefully provide the ducks with a place to sleep that would be safe from air and ground assault. I think I could build something fairly cheap from material I have laying around. If it worked for year or so I would think about building something a bit nicer. If not, no big loss.

    Any thoughts on whether this will work? Will the ducks use it? Any better ideas? Should I even bother?
    --------------------------------
    shawn

  2. #2
    Gold Member SensibleNick's Avatar
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    Ystad, Sweden
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    Foton FT254

    Default Re: Ducks!

    Quote Originally Posted by dooleysm View Post
    I thought I could make something that would start on land and extend out over the pond several feet. The idea would be to hopefully provide the ducks with a place to sleep that would be safe from air and ground assault.
    If there's a walkway over the water, it's not safe from land assualt.

    We have ducks that stop off anually. Last year a nest appeared on the bank of our pond (0.2acres) and had 7 eggs in it.... After a hail storm I went out to check on them, and they were all gone. No shell, no mush... nothing.
    It was then that we noticed a family/lead of foxes in the area... and they're always partial to some eggs.

    This year, I'll be making a floating island for them to nest on with fresh willow sticks poking though the base that reach the water to give woven/natural cover. Ducks don't need walk-ways to get to islands.... So long as you're not planning on collecting eggs, then it shouldn't be a problem.

    Anchor an artificial island with a big stone or string of bricks on a line... It make the whole construction easier... A lump of foam (old car fender/bumper) and a pallet will get you started.
    4 Acres, an 1890 Farmhouse and a Foton 254 + bits

  3. #3
    Elite Member
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    Meridian Idaho
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    Kubota B7100D

    Default Re: Ducks!

    How big and deep is your pond? I have had ducks for a few years now and have only lost ones that nest a ways from the pond. Normally they all just head to the center of the pond and nothing can get to them easily. My pond is about 65ft x 85ft and 13 ft deep.

    Eggs and ducklings disappear on a regular basis, which is fine with me as it keeps the numbers down. Lots of ducks = lots of poop on the lawn. I suspect skunks or coons as that is what we mostly have around here. I keep meaning to pick up a game cam and see what is roaming around at night.

    I had considered the floating island idea but it turned out to not be necessary.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ducks!

    I have a small pond in back of the house, aprox 1/4 acre in size with an island aprox centered in it. I've built & put up 6 Wood Duck houses over the years & the wife & I enjoy watching the woodies preform their Spring rituals. All 6 houses are used, 1 year we had a pair of Hooded Mergansers take over one of the houses. I put out some corn for the ducks & whatever else stops in during their migration. The best part is they come & go when they want & I don't have to care for them! They are interesting to watch and they are a sign of Spring when they arrive!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ducks!

    My pond is about a half acre and 10+ feet deep in the middle. It generally freezes over for a week or two per year.

    After re-reading my original message I think it wasn't clear what I was intending to build. I'm thinking of small pole barn-like structure, maybe 2' wide and 6' long. The house would have a couple feet on land and then extend out over the water. I would partially bury the part on land to keep critters from burrowing under. The part extending out into the water I guess would have to be partially submerged.

    My thought was that the interior of the house would only be accessable through the water. I hoped that the ducks would swim in there and nest for the night and that no predator would be smart enough and determined enough to swim out and into the structure.
    --------------------------------
    shawn

  6. #6
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    jinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ducks!

    Shawn, while hawks, owls, dogs, coyotes, and foxes are the primary suspects in your "Case of the Disappearing Ducks" mystery, I wonder if you have any really big turtles in your pond? I know turtles can take baby ducks, but don't know if they are a problem for grown ducks or not.
    Jim


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ducks!

    Believe it or not, large bass are VERY dangerous to small ducklings. I would have never thought this until one day on my FIL's pond, I caught about a 5lb bass that had a small duckling halfway down it's gullet. We watched about 50 newly hatched ducklings disappear one summer.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Flatheadyoungin's Avatar
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    Southern, OH
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    New Holland TC45 Shuttle

    Default Re: Ducks!

    when i was a teenager, we used to spend weeks fishing at my uncle's pond......many times the ducks would start to cross the pond sunddenly to disappear, only to pop up on the other side of the pond frantic and trying to escape.....at first we thought we thought they were just being ducks and going under.......after a while, we figured out it must have bee turtles....there were some HUGE turtles in that pond...snappers....
    TC45 Shuttle, 270 hours, 758C backhoe, 16LA loader

    Well, I looks like I just bought myself a lot of work.....

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ducks!

    Except for the first 5, they were all full grown ducks. The first 5 were big enough that no bass in my pond could eat them.

    I don't know about turtles, I'm sure there are snappers in there. I sure hope there aren't any big enough to take down an adult duck. Even if there are, what are the chances they could take down 3 ducks in one night?
    --------------------------------
    shawn

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ducks!

    They are not like chickens, they don't go and 'roost' every night. I am not sure they would use any type of shelter unless you feed/herd them in there every night and lock them up.

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