In the quest for ducks, only one thing is sure, and that is compromise.

Getting Craig to agree to ducks took over a year.  Probably closer to 2 years if we are being honest here. Knowing that I do not have adequate construction skills to assemble anything more complicated than a raised garden bed, it became imperative that Craig be “on board” with this whole duck extravaganza.  As seems to be an effective method of “getting your way,” I started out suggesting way more than I expected.  That is, a 15×15′ square, 6′ tall, with a hoop house roof.  Craig quickly nixed that idea, and in turn came up with an extremely complex and elegant solution that would be minimally visible from our neighbors’ houses.  And then we discussed how to build such solution, and plans changed.  The new solution turned into leveling off the corner by building a couple retaining walls and then building a 12×12′ structure that was 6′ tall on one side and 4′ tall on the other.  Then when we actually went outside to start levelling off the area and figuring out how many retaining wall blocks we’d need, it became clear that we hadn’t thought that out all too well either.  It was going to cost several hundreds of dollars just in blocks to execute the pen.  So we went back to the drawing board.  Stick with the 12′ square, and the 6′ to 4′ rake on the roof, but build the whole thing on the slope.  This actually bodes well for drainage, so I’m totally in.  We are going to put the 6′ side on the lower side of the slope, which will effectively make the whole structure appear smaller from our house/deck.  Half of the enclosure’s lid/roof will still be hinged, allowing for enough head room to get in there and clean things while standing up, but still maintain the lower roofline that we were hoping for.  Based on our new design, we got out there, filled in the hole from the tree, and evened out the grade of the slope.

As you can see, Helo was immensely helpful.

This is the view from our main deck.  The back fence is about 5′ tall, so we’re looking at the back being 1′ taller than the fence.

As we tried to fill in the hole from the tree, Helo kept laying in it.  Of course.

The new sketches include a 12′ square, half of it roofed, the other half covered in wire to keep predators out, with a hinge running side to side.  The box sticking off the right hand side of the pen will be the duck house.  It’ll have a hinged roof that’ll allow me to gain access to it from the outside and collect eggs/clean it.  Speaking of…

Side and front views.  It’ll be 4ft wide by 3′ deep, and 2.5′ tall.  It is theoretically a hair small, but based on my understanding, most of the time, ducks won’t even go in the house, and with another covered area, they will not commonly need to use it.  And if it ends up being too small(I don’t think it will), it’s easy enough to add a doghouse inside the run down the line.  I like that it’s kind of mid-century looking!  I will have to consult with my husband and father in law to discuss the specifics of my design idea, but it SEEMS pretty straightforward.

I also intended to order 10 ducklings and brood them inside the house, as it’ll be too cold outside til May to reliably leave them outside, but I just discovered how huge they’re likely to get, and there is NO WAY I can fit 10 6 week old ducklings in our house and keep them secure from the dogs and cat while we’re at work.  I am still working out how I can go about getting ducklings in batches of 3 or so, or getting friendly females and avoiding the hassle of brooding ducklings in the house altogether.  Everything will wait for the pen and house to be built.  If that doesn’t seem feasible, we will just find some friendly lady ducks on Craigslist.  It’s likely to be the least dramatic part of the whole process, but much less fun than cuddling ducklings.

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