This whole duck thing has taken longer than expected. That is due primarily to scheduling conflicts, and bad weather (who’d have thunk the weather might suck in February). It also has a little to do with me having a few necessities in terms of design, and those conflicting with Craig’s version of how the pen needs to look. Mostly, that the entrance to the pen be in the near corner of it, that the south half have clear corrugated plastic roofing, and that I be able to walk upright inside of the pen. After much discussion, argument, a little yelling and fit-throwing on my part, and I wore Craig down. We both gave up things that we believe will make the place functionally or visually better, but we have finally come to an agreement. It is a freaking relief. Upon coming up with our compromise, which is essentially just a 12×12 box(ironically, quite close to my initial desires), I cornered my father in law and we came up with a materials list.
We will sink 12 pier blocks into the ground and connect our uprights, which will be 4x4s to them. This keeps the lumber off the ground and gives the pen a pretty solid foundation. Then we’ll run 2x4s as horizontal cross pieces. On the “right” 6 feet in the pen there will be corrugated plastic roofing, which will allow light in, but keep at least some of the rain out of the pen, giving me a dryish place to put their house, feeder, etc. The other 6 feet will be covered in wire fencing to keep things like raccoons from eating the ducks. It will slope down from the front of the pen to the back of the pen, allowing for the roof to drain, and hopefully most of the moist messes to drain down hill as well. I’m going to wrap the pen in 1×1″ wire fencing on the bottom 2 feet, and run that wire down into the ground about another 1 ft and bury it to prevent digging animals from making their way in. The top portion of the pen will be probably 2×2 or 2×4″ wire fencing, as well as the unroofed side. I’ll have 2x 2ft wide doors, as I was hoping for a 4 ft opening, but from a structural standpoint, my FIL believes it’ll be easier to support 2 2ft wide doors versus 1 4ft wide one. Makes sense.
I will make another post shortly with details on my “duckponics” setup, but it’ll start with the pond, which is a necessity in any duck setup. Many people use blue plastic kiddy pools, but they’re just so ugly, I know it’d be a tough sell for Craig, and I’m not particularly fond of them. We were able to find a pretty large preformed black pond liner on Craigslist for $50, which is nice, considering something that size tends to run in the $300 range new. The pond liner will get sunk into the ground as far as is possible, and then surrounded with gravel and rocks so the ducks are less likely to drag mud, straw, etc into the pond.