A duck house is generally constructed or positioned for use by ducks for protection during nesting. They have been considered helpful for various species in particular the wood duck. Styles and sizes are available for several different species and for use in the wild or for raised birds.
People purchase a duck house for various reasons, including being able to observe the birds. Wood duck populations in particular were declining in the past and by providing successful nesting habitats they began returning year after year. These showy ducks may lay 10 to 15 eggs annually which are brooded over by the hen, although the drake is often nearby.
Duck House Types
There are many types of duck houses available, both decorative and those simply serving the purpose of protection. A typical Wood Duck or Hooded Merganser house has two doors, for observation and cleaning. It also contains a ladder and hole for the baby ducklings to use to exit to the water which begins when they are simply one day old. This box is typically approximately 24"x11"x15" which provides adequate space and should be placed near water such as ponds or rivers.
The Bufflehead duck is smaller than most other nesting ducks and requires a different house. They have fewer holes and just one main door. The size is smaller as well being shaped at a 173/4" x 9 1/4" x 11" size which suits the Bufflehead quite well.
There are numerous other sizes of nesting boxes for use as duck boxes and most will be larger due to the size of the individual species. Ducks may also be kept in houses similar to dog houses or chicken coops when being kept as pets or in confinement for eggs or raising purposes. They may be very decorative or simple and are often large enough for a person to walk into, with smaller boxes placed inside. Small A-frames are available that are placed on the ground similar to quail houses for ducks kept in captivity.
Using a Duck House
Using a duck house will have some similarities. When brooding in the wild they should generally be left alone to sit on their eggs unhampered. When setting up the duck house a nesting material such as wood chips, cedar shavings etc can be placed within. The duck house should be placed approximately five feet on top of a pole that will not allow predators inside, metal is ideal for this purpose. They may be placed in a shallow pond or alongside a pond, creek or river. They can be placed up to half a mile away if an adequate food supply seems to be available. Ideally plentiful cover will be available for the ducks as well.
Shopping for a Duck House
Shopping locally for a nesting duck house will not always be an easy task, depending on where you live. There may be some at farm and garden centers or at feed suppliers. Shopping online will give a broader selection as well as instructions for building one if desired. When shopping for a duck house for pets or farm animals more local options will be available through farm and garden or local feed suppliers. Ordering online will present many styles of duck house from which to choose in a red and white barn style to a very picturesque teak Japanese garden style.
Ease of cleaning is one feature to consider when purchasing a duck house. Other considerations are the construction of the box and hinges as well as finish placed on the wood to ensure it will stand up to the elements and last more than one season.
Prices of a Duck House
Prices of a nesting duck house begin at approximately 60 dollars. They can be found for sale at various times of the year for less and they can also go much higher. The type of duck house used for keeping a pet duck in a pen or a coop for more than one duck will start closer to 100 dollars depending on the style and size. Building a duck house will require the acquisition of wood, hinges and tools if these are not available and the cost will vary.
Guests in a Duck House
Cleaning out the nesting material soon after the duck has finished using it in the wild is a good practice to help keep it free from bugs and other undesirable guests. Duck boxes left on the ground will occasionally become home to other animals. For this reason a duck box for ducks kept as pets or for egg production should be fenced off separately from the rest of the yard.