Duck Setup - What has been your best setup?


May 23, 2022
We are getting 4 runner ducklings shortly and so have four weeks to create a duck friendly habitat next to our chicken coop.

What I'd like to know is what has been your best setup so far? What mistakes have you made along the way and what you would recommend housing-wide.

I would be super grateful to see pictures of any of you duck homes.

Husband wants to create a small pond but I have a feeling that would end up being a poopy mess. We also don't have an endless supply of money sadly so money saving tips are gratefully received. For example the house will be made from pallets.

It's easy to find chicken information but ducks it's much thinner, even food is hard to come by!

Callender Girl

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Sep 18, 2018
North Central Iowa
First of all, how wonderful that you are getting runner babies -- I think they are the funniest ducks in the world. I have had more but currently have seven that are loose during the day, but only when I am home.

I think it's quite possible to make them comfortable without spending a lot of money. I found my "duck shelter" used, online -- although it wasn't made for ducks.

Mine live in a converted chicken tractor -- essentially a 3-foot-by-10-foot box with a wooden frame made of 2-by-4's, a hinged door that opens out on one end and a hinged door that opens from the top on the other. Metal roofing covers half of the top, and the entire thing -- which was originally wrapped in chicken wire when I bought it used -- now has hardware cloth wrapped around the chicken wire. In the brutal winter months, I add a tarp over most of the coop to keep out snow and brutal wind. My runners aren't at all bothered by bad weather; they almost seem to enjoy it.

I keep feed and water dishes at the end of the shelter so I can easily fill -- and often refill -- them. Because ducks are so messy, I have a plastic boot tray underneath the water dish to keep them from muddying the floor.

What would I do differently? Well, the tractor sits directly on the ground, which was good when it was used to let chickens graze. Someday, I plan to raise the whole thing a few inches off the ground, both to allow for better drainage and to make it easier for me to reach in and clean. And clean. And clean.

A pond sound lovely but likely would become a poopy mess. I have two kiddie pools and a small stock tank that I have to empty almost every day not only because they poop but they also like to dribble mud into the water.

I have been given a a clawfoot bathtub that I intend to use as a duck pool with some additions. For me, the advantages are that it can drain directly into the ditch along the driveway, it's deep enough for the ducks to really enjoy their bathing, and it will be much easier to clean than the kiddie pools. I have to build a wide, not very steep, ramp as an entrance and a little platform inside so they can easily get out.

Best wishes with your ducklings and their housing!

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16-17
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Oct 3, 2009
Mountains of Western N.C.
I agree with @Callender Girl Runners are just the coolest and funniest ducks. I have 7 also and 2 Buffs that hatched with them that think they are runners and a Muscovy who hatched them that has claimed them as her own family [she has a Muscovy family but prefers her kids] ❤️ Mine were 6 this past April. I will say mine do like the idea of being able to go into their coop in really cold weather. They sure don't mind the rain though and actually love making mud pies. lol
Their coop is a storage building that was already here when we bought this home 26 yrs ago so of course every other building out here has been converted We had a building for my dh Harley it is now feed and Muscovy house We had to build a goose house because I had a gander and breeding season would be a nightmare to have him with any bird beside his mate and we have our original chicken coop which is now the winter hang out to keep everyone out of the weather and wind in winter. So be prepared to add once you get started. Actually I started with 1 muscovy drake we rescued from our mountain river[2004] of course I had to go get him 3 females. Now I have the original drakes son[11] and he has 3 females since the one Muscovy is with the Runners.
I have a 50gal stock tank and a large kiddy pool and since mine aren't actually in a pen just a half-acre with fencing they have their pools and watering station outside so no nasty mess inside. When my Runners had their first winter I tried hard to fix it so they could have water over night I use heated buckets in winter but my gosh no matter what I did to try and keep the mess down nothing worked so now they all have to come out to eat and drink then they can go back inside. This has worked fine.
Pallets will make an awesome coop I have seen many on here that are really cool. Just be sure to use hardware cloth over every opening Chicken wire will keep poultry in but will not keep predators out. Good ventilation is also very important they produce a lot of moisture.
you might get some ideas here
we used old windows from when we replaced them in our house and in winter I keep the tops open to keep the coop bedding dry and so the moisture can get out. These windows face east and south. the others are closed and we also have ventilation around the top of the coop at the roof. I can get better pics of our main coop but first pic is the muscovy house and feed room. Please be sure to post pictures of your Runners when you get them. We love baby pictures AND :welcome


May 23, 2022
Thank you both! This is very helpful, we don't have a huge garden. It's pretty big by England urban standards but I think the runners are going to fit well.

They are just starting to hatch so hopefully we'll see them soon!


May 23, 2022
These little guys are so cute but boy do they grow fast. Husband hasn't started their home yet eek!


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