Ducks are curious, social animals. This means they need space to fly, explore, and interact with other ducks in their flock; this is true for both inside (their coop) and outside (their run).
If ducks don’t get enough space or become overcrowded, it can be harmful to the health of your birds, and you’ll see consequences such as injuries from fighting, disease from being stressed, and depression when they can’t fulfill their natural instincts.
These problems will inevitably lead to additional issues, such as a lower rate of laying eggs and overall poor health. For ducks, it’s important to provide adequate space in their coop and outside in their run.
Factors that impact how much space ducks need
Ducks need space because they are social animals. If given a chance, ducks will form a pecking order and become aggressive with other ducks if there is not enough space to diffuse hostility. So how much space do ducks need? There are several factors that go into how much space ducks require:
- Duck breed: some breeds like Indian Runners are natural foragers and do better with more space to roam outside. Other breeds like Muscovy ducks do better in smaller spaces. It is best to check on a breed-by-breed basis about the optimal amount of space they require.
- Duck maturity: young ducks may not need as much space as mature ducks since they are not as aggressive.
- Duck gender: it is best to keep ducks of the same sex in separate spaces, but if you must house them together, provide enough space for them to establish their territories. If they cannot establish their territory, aggression may happen between the two.
- Number of ducks: one or two ducks will have less space requirements than a flock of ducks, so the more ducks you have, the more space you will need to provide.
- COOP vs. RUN: if your ducks are being raised in a coop but allowed to roam free during the daytime within your property or on grass, they will have lower space needs since they can return to their enclosed coop for safety at night.
- Weather: ducks need access to shade, especially during warmer months. If they can’t get under a tree or shaded area, you may need to provide an additional shelter specifically for them if the coop doesn’t have adequate shade.
How much space do ducks need in their coop and outside?
There are many breeds of ducks, each with different requirements when it comes to space both inside and outside the house. For example, Muscovy ducks don’t require much indoor space – just a safe place to sleep.
On the other hand, Call ducks need more outdoor space than most breeds. This is because they are very active. If you put a call duck into a small outside area, it will become stressed out.
Smaller breeds of ducks may only need about 4 square feet of space inside the duck house. Larger breeds can use as much as 10 square feet indoors. Outside, you’ll want to provide at least 8 square feet of space for each duck.
Space in the coop does not need to be as large as the outdoor run, but you’ll still want to provide at least 8 square feet of space per duck. If you have a small number of ducks, it may be easiest to build your duck house with an attached, outside run.
For ducks that spend most of their time outside, we recommend providing at least 50 square feet per duck. There are no maximum space requirements for runs – make sure the area is safe and has shelter and freshwater. Make sure your outdoor run has a predator-proof fence and remains dry in the event of rain.
Make sure to have your coop/run in a quiet, non-busy area, so your ducks are not scared when outside.
Make sure you keep their food and water in the coop, so there is no noise late at night nor early in the morning when they are sleeping. Ducks are calm birds, but only if they have had a good night of sleep. If kept awake or disturbed, ducks can become stressed and may even attack.
What are the consequences of insufficient space?
When ducks don’t have enough space, it can cause problems in their mental and physical health. Some of these consequences include:
Injuries from fighting
If ducks are overcrowded or cramped for space, they will naturally fight to protect themselves and establish a pecking order. This can lead to injuries such as bruises, broken bones, and in very severe cases, death.
Disease from being stressed
If ducks don’t have enough space to move and eat in their coop and run, they can become stressed and depressed. Overcrowding is a common cause; when there isn’t enough room to spread out and find food or water, the birds may become frustrated and eat their feces. This can lead to diseases such as Coccidiosis, which may be fatal for the ducks.
Depression when they can’t fulfill their natural instincts
Ducks are naturally curious animals, which means they like to explore and expand their living space. If your duck doesn’t have enough room outside of their coop to do this, they will become depressed and lethargic.
Low rate of laying eggs
If ducks don’t have enough space in their coop, it can cause them to lay fewer eggs or stop laying altogether. Because of this, it’s important for duck owners to make sure they have plenty of room to move around to avoid this problem.
Poor health in general
All of these problems can lead to decreased overall health for the ducks, which means they will become sick more often and require veterinary care that could be avoided if they had enough space to roam.
Tips for Keeping Ducks with Less Space
What should you do if you can’t provide your ducks with adequate space? Here are a few tips:
- Use pens to keep your ducks in specific areas of your yard. This will help you avoid problems when cleaning up the coop, give the ducks safe areas for play, and also clean them out easier. Remember that if there is less space in their area, it will take less time to clean their area.
- Build multiple smaller coops. Ducks do not like living alone, so having more than one coop may help your ducks feel less lonely. You can also build these small coops in different areas of your yard for variety and the ease of cleaning the coop. If you have enough space, you can even rotate where your ducks can live.
- Make the most of your space. Find different ways to make the most use of your limited space, such as using their water and food sources as play equipment or creating a run that is used for grazing, too. Ducks love sampling new things so that these choices may increase their fun and entertainment.
- Create a mud pit in your run area so that ducks can satisfy their need to be clean while having fun and releasing energy.
- Make sure you have enough shade areas in your run since it can get very warm outside for ducks.
- Do not put too many feeders or waterers into the run area to prevent overcrowding.
- If possible, try to limit the number of ducks you buy to the amount of space you have.
- If you have a Pekin duck, avoid adding more than six ducks to the coop to prevent injuries from fighting.
Best Duck Coops and Runs
As a farmer, you need to ensure that your ducks are always in a safe environment. It is essential that you keep your ducks safe and protected from all kinds of dangers and predators. With a good run or coop, you will be able to provide the most suitable environment for your ducks.
These structures are designed to be easy to use and are also spacious for comfortable, healthy ducks. Following are some of the best duck coops and runs you can use to make your ducks safer.
TRIXIE Pet Products Natura Duck Coop
The coop is spacious enough and can comfortably accommodate up to four ducks. It is the best solution for free-range ducks and has been designed with hidden grips, making transporting the coop a lot easier.
Whenever you need to access your pet quickly, there is a slot in the roof that you can easily slide. The top is also rain-proof and will ensure that your duck is protected from the elements of the weather.
For those living in an urban area, it is the ideal coop and will provide the best security for your flock. It is also easy to assemble ad comes with all the hardware you need to install at your home.
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Easy to assemble
- Cannot accommodate many ducks without overcrowding
Ogrmar Chicken Coop
This coop features raised perches and is also very comfortable. In the cold and rainy season, the perches will ensure that your poultry is safe, warm, and also dry. The ducks will also be protected from harsh light in the hot season, owning to the design of this structure.
With a ramp, your coop can accommodate more ducks since accessing the raised area is made easy. There is also enough support to prevent slippages and ensure that your ducks have the healthiest environment to live in.
The pitched roof keeps your ducks protected on rainy days, and the coop also features a fence for better ventilation. The fence also keeps predators at bay, and it does not leave any allowance or space for dangerous animals to slip inside the coop and cause harm to your ducks.
- Cannot fit many ducks
ALEKO Wooden Pet House Poultry Hutch
Your ducks need enough space to play and rest in, especially if you happen to live in an urban setting. With a design made from Chinese fir wood, this structure is straightforward to set up and durable and will give you long service life.
An asphalt shingle roof at the top keeps your ducks protected from bad weather, and a wire mesh ventilation keeps the flow of fresh air unrestricted. The design of this run is both safe and comfortable. It does not feel restricted, and there is plenty of fresh air and light getting into the duck run.
As such, the ducks will be able to live in the best environment but, at the same time, stay protected from all kinds of predators. You will find it to be ideally suited for use in small spaces and very easy to use.
- Space is limited if you need to keep more ducks
- Might not be sturdy in some places
To summarize, ducks need plenty of space to lay eggs efficiently and stay healthy. This means your coop should have a minimum size of 4 square feet per duck inside, while the run area needs at least 10 square feet for each duck.
Make sure there is enough space by remembering these tips: if you notice your ducks are aggressive, get sick often, or don’t lay eggs often enough, they probably need more space to roam.
Image credit: Photo by Tejas Prajapati from Pexels, Photo by Gratisography from Pexels, Photo by Gary Barnes from Pexels, Photo by MOROCCAN PHOTOGRAPHER from Pexels
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