white and blue and red and brown feathered bird

Do Ducks Need a Coop?

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Ducks are very friendly and smart birds and for the most part they are free to roam and move around your backyard.

But if you are serious about raising ducks or even keeping them as pets, you must have wondered if ducks need a coop?

Do ducks need a coop? Yes ducks need a coop. This is quite important at night when they have to come in and rest. Another important fact is the changing weather such as winter and summer. In such a situation they definitely need a place to hide out. Also ducks need a coop to lay their eggs like all birds do.

What are the benefits of having a duck coop?

Do Ducks Need a Coop
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Now we know that ducks definitely need a coop especially at night and for changing weather conditions, but are there other benefits.

Here they are

  1. Protection from predators. Ducks are birds like we all know and there is no shortage of predators looking to harm our birds. A duck coop in this situation helps protect your birds from predators. Predators such as raccoons, coyotes, skunks, foxes, owls and feral cats are some of the predators that are known to terrorize ducks if left to roam about on their own.
  2. Protect them from bad weather. A duck coop is also necessary to protect your birds from bad weather. If you live in a place where the weather is at two extremes, then you know what I am talking about. Ducks need comfortable shelter from rains, too much sunshine, thunderstorms, strong winds.
  3. Roosting space. Another very important reason for a duck coop is to have a safe and comfortable place to roost at night. One thing to note is that a good duck coop will also allow your birds to roost comfortably while maintaining social hierarchy.  This will help minimize territorial behaviour that might lead to fighting and bullying.
  4. A space to lay eggs. If you keep ducks for eggs, then you definitely need a comfortable space for them to lay eggs. This is where a duck coop comes into play. Properly sized and well spaced coops will keep your ducks at ease for laying eggs and also make it easier for you to pick up the eggs without any stress.
  5. Feeding ease. Ducks need to be fed right, and believe me it’s a whole lot easier when the birds are all in one place. Before I had coops in my backyard, it used to take a lot of time and stress to feed my birds because they were all over the place. But with a coop, I can easily feed them all at once, monitor and observe to make sure that they are fed properly and also check for potential health problems.
  6. And for confinement. This is actually in rare cases though but a coop also helps keep your birds away from areas where they are not needed. For example, say you have dogs and you want to exercise them, then you can do that easily without scaring or bothering your birds.

How much space do ducks need?

If you want to keep ducks as pets and want them in a coop or moving around then you should know how much space they need.

Here are my own thoughts and also this will depend on the number of birds that you have

  • For house floor space, you will need at least 3 to 5 square feet per duck
  • For run or pen space, then you will need at least 15 square feet per duck. While this might be a bit too much, ducks need have a larger wingspan than say chickens and need enough room to flap and waddle.

How to build a duck coop – step by step guide

If money is not an issue and you want a coop for your bird, then I highly recommend this one I found on amazon here

It is called the GOJOOASIS 80 inches Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop Hen House. It is made of durable and strong fir wood with enough fencing to allow ventilation and also keep off predators.

It has a removable sliding bottom sliding tray that makes it very easy to clean and also keep your birds safe.

I most definitely recommend this if you want something that is already made and ready to start using.

If you are more they DIY type and you want to get your hand dirty, then here is a YouTube video I found showing you how to build your own duck coop for less than $200

Here are a few tips and tricks you want to ensure you get right

  • Make sure you get the right drill bits and that they fit perfectly into the screws that you will be using.
  • Get staples and wire cutters that work 
  • Try keeping the ducks away from you when you are building and painting the coop as they might swallow a screw or try to drink the paint
  • Make sure you plan everything out and you know exactly what you want to build before you begin.

So go build your own duck coop and when done you can shoot me an email with your pictures. Will love to see them.

Tips to consider when building a duck coop.

I know I mentioned some tips above when DIY building your duck coop, but these are tips that you want to be aware of before building any coop.

1. You want a place that is easy to clean. 

Let’s face it, ducks are not clean birds. They are messy and love to get wet and popping everywhere.

So you really want a duck coop that is very easy to clean and maintain so that your ducks do not get infected from all the accumulated dirt and feces.

If you are building it yourself, I will suggest that you make it tall enough to stand in or you back is going to be screaming from all that pain you are putting it through.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on can ducks eat raisins?

2. Allow for adequate ventilation

This is self explanatory right?

Make sure that your duck coop is well ventilated, preferably cross ventilation so your birds are not choked up and stuffy.

This will help them stay active and healthy

3. Make sure there are large entrances and exits.

This is very important especially when you have a large number of birds.

Ducks can be quite pushy when moving around and if your coop entrances are not big enough the bird might injure themselves trying to get in.

It should be big enough for at least 2 ducks to enter at the same time unless you might find your ducks stuck at the door.

4. It should keep out predators

Yes… predators are going to come for your birds and you definitely want a coop that keeps them out.

What you can do is to Ring the base of the duck house with boulders to discourage digging, fasten doors and windows with latches that have two actions (this discourages raccoons), and cover the top of the shelter with a woven wire that deters climbing and flying predators.

This will most definitely keep out any predators that are looking to use your ducks for dinner.

5. Go with a simple structure

Now I know you might be tempted to go with something complex or fancy, I know I was initially, but you want to go with something simple

First make sure your coop is ground level. Do not make the mistake of raising it up probably because you are scared of predators.

You will regret it later

If you really want it to be high off the ground then put a ramp but make sure it is not very inclined as the ducks might not be able to climb if it is that high

Lastly there should be enough space for you and the ducks to move about freely.

Remember what I said about cleaning and your back

6. Provide lots of water

Ducks love water.

It gives them so much joy and they tend to carry out so many body and growth functions in the water.

I wrote an article here talking about if ducks need a pond.

I actually think they do but if that is too expensive for you then you can give them a kiddie pool

Here is one I found on Amazon, Dycsin Foldable Pet Pool that is cheap and serves the purpose

They also need lots of water to drink so make sure you factor that in when getting your duck coop

To prevent water spillage, you want to keep their food away from where they drink water as they tend to get messy and spill the water.

7. Ensure it has a comfortable bed

While ducks are more an “I don’t care” type of bed and can make do with whatever is given to them, they still need a comfy bed to rest at night

You can either use shavings or straw to get them something comfortable.

Shavings are okay as they are comfortable and help absorb some of the moisture. 

Straw works really well because it doesn’t get as wet as fast and it keeps its shape a little better.

Can ducks stay outside in the winter?

No ducks cannot and should not stay outside in the winter.

With those terrible weather condition, you want to make sure that you have comfortable shelter for your ducks

I mean nobody, not even animals and birds should be allowed to stay outside during winter.

Do ducks return to their coop at night?

Most ducks have excellent night vision and will not return to their coops at night like chickens that possess a homing instinct.

But they are very smart birds and will definitely return when called if they know it is time for feeding.

How often should you clean your duck coop?

Like I mentioned earlier, ducks are messy birds and tend to spill water and scatter their food around their coop.

In my experience, I clean their coops once a day, early in the morning

So i basically use a broom and sweep out their poop, change their water and whatever food they have scattered about

Then once a week, I do a thorough cleaning and really take out all the mess that they have made over the week.

I think this is a good cleaning schedule that you can adopt

How do I keep my duck coop dry?

For me I use shaving and straw beds and scatter them on the floor of their coop.

This ensures that their coop stay dry and does not cause them any issues

I also ensure that I change it at least once every two days so it stays fresh and dry all through.

Do Ducks Need a Nesting Box?

No they do not. Unlike chickens that need a box to roost and lay their eggs, ducks actually prefer to make their own in the ground.

This allows them to set it up how they like and make it as comfortable as they want

Told you they were smart birds right

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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