Winter Duck House

Now if any of you have ever tried to house your ducks with your chickens over winter you know the issues.. 1) they make everything wet 2) they will mess with your water if given a chance 3) they do not need to be eating that costly higher protein and laying feed while they are having a winter rest..

and to top it off, they don’t even stay in.. on the coldest day of winter, they will still be fluffed up and laying on the snow.. honestly unless its like snow blizzard, they are some of the most stubborn fowl about being outside that I have ever seen.

Having said that, they do! need warm and dry house and bedding for when they do go in.. so while I do not mind running ducks in the summer quarters when it comes to winter, I much prefer to give them outside runs with their very own quick, easy and o so warm straw bale winter house.

The back of the pen has a solid wall, I built on these, the pens have builds for wind block on two sides and the front has a half wall as well.. so this is not a out in the open pen, which already gives it a great leg up..


then we take full 60 pounds straw bales and we layer an stack them to deep, the small door is here on the right corner, we take more straw and stuff any gaps between the bales, and then we put down a full 4 by 4 6 inch thick straw chip on the bottom and loose straw on top of that, if cleaning it, I will pull the loose out and leave the chip to compost in place as a small form of a deep pack, over top this goes a full sheet of plywood, and when this is covered with a layer of snow.. its as snug as a bug..


My poor hens you can tell they are coming off a season of sitting and hatching eggs, they are all in the process of moulting as well.. look at those blood filled feathers growing back in.. they get the winter off, three hens, one big drake and they will get fresh sprouted grains, fermented grains and then come late winter, they will go onto layer rations, they will be first egg layers and if all goes well, they will help fill up my incubator with fertile duck eggs for my first hatching of 2017.. and I will be able to put a passel of ducklings out in spring to fatten up on all that spring goodness.

When I see photos of a flock and the hens look ever so pretty, and its the time of year for steady laying or for sitting birds to have been sitting and hatching, and I think.. Slacker! Working momma fowl are like all working mothers, they show it LOL

They were so happy to have a big outdoor water bathing area and they checked out their indoor digs and wagged their tails.. all is good..


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14 Responses to Winter Duck House

  1. Great! Straw bales are SO USEFUL! I had a duck once – he loved the snow – I have a photo somewhere of him sitting in his wee bucket of warm water set in deep, deep snow – steaming! – happy as a wee pig. Speaking of which I had better get back to work.

  2. valbjerke says:

    It’s funny – people always ask me how do our ducks and geese manage in the dead of winter to stay warm…….then when I point out they’ve got the same down you find in your bed covers…..they look kind of sheepish. Ours have an enclosed shed should they wish to use it, and a big tub of heated water as well. They’re quite happy to stay out in the snow though. 😊

    • oh my, I had to explain that to a couple of people lol they kept comparing them to Canada Geese and how THEY fly away during winter…. then I sighed and asked “do you know where down-filled covers come from?” and we had a good laugh

  3. we have a few ducks too (first year raising ducks) and I have read all the stories of keeping them together with the chickens… so we decided to create an area in our barn just for the ducks. Our barn is like a run-in-barn with one side open (the south side). The chickens have a closed in coop, but the ducks, the goats and the alpacas have deep run-in stalls. Anyway, we have a gate for the duck stall and we would feed them at night and close the gate. Many times I kept finding one, two ducks outside of the stall… We had our first snow fall last week and not, one, not two but about 15 ducks were outside picking at the snow. That moment I decided they know better how to deal with this. Since them I left the stall gate open, since they fly over it anyway! lol gotta love straw bales, keeps every critter cozy! My Great Pyrenees dogs love to “swim” in it and hide during harsh winds

    • This is my 12 winter with ducks here on the farm, I love them.. hope you enjoy them as much as I do.. they will give you lots of early, early spring eggs for eating..

      • Thank you for the encouragement! They are truly different and I cannot wait for those eggs. I am trying to figure out where and how to make their nest box, so I don’t have to go searching for eggs (my dogs would probably find them first for sure lol)… I already went through that phase with the chickens – I opened the back door to the hay storage and buh-bye lonely nests in the field. Now I know exactly where to go and fetch my breakfast hahahahha

      • How many hens do you have, start with a nest box for each hen and they will do fine for it for laying but once they decide to go broody, they will each hen need her own spot.. thankfully for a hen, she just wants a hollow in bedding with a cover over top.. very easy to go.. but if you want her to hatch babies, throw a scoop of dirt, sand or compost under that bedding to be able to hold the moisture properly for higher hatch rates.

      • we currently have 80 layers, 5 adult heritage breed hens, 14 heritage mutts teens, and 11 mutts babies. The layers were the crazy chicks lol We have about 15 nest spots. We designed the coop with the nests on the outside (the kind you lift the top and pick the eggs without walking in the coop)… they don’t seem to fight over nests, just 15-20 of them love the privacy of the hay bales more lol

      • Wow, do you sell eggs then, because that is a lot of layers, more then we are legally allowed in my area, but I know its different in each province, when I first moved here, we could have up to 300 but then I think on year three or four, they lowered it to 50 with a new limit on meat birds, the biggest issue I have is that my hens hatch babies and they don’t have the butcher paperwork.. o this province and its paperwork, so I only raise enough for our own needs.

      • Yes, we sell the surplus of eggs. In Ontario there’s a limit of 99 layers and 300 meat birds. We shuffle around a lot and raise dual purpose for that reason. We do our own butchering for the ones hatched on the farm. We sell everything at the farm.

  4. angela Newman says:

    Just wondering about using straw bales as “housing”… did I read correctly that you built these inside a fenced run? I’m considering building a little straw shelter inside a plastic covered hoop house but I wonder if that is predator proof enough… Maybe I’ll wrap the bale structure with some fencing…

    • Correct this was built with a building at the back for major wind block inside a 6 foot high fenced in run. Its close in the main yard and I never lost anyone out of it. I would not feel as comfortable doing the same without a top if I was to do it down by the big Barn which is much further away. What is your main threats.. For me main yard its fox for full grown birds, for big barn its fox/coons/fisher and if out far enough coy-wolves.

    • Can you set up a trail camera for a week and see what comes and goes in that area normally?

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