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I have about 15 Peking ducks which are fully free range (I feed them daily, but I still expect them to find their own food as well). With the shortages of eggs and rising cost of their feed, I'm wanting them to start paying rent (in the form of providing me eggs). and am looking for advice about enclosing them at night so they lay eggs in a predictable place.

I understand I will need to do some cleanup of a coop, but I do seek to minize the cost of the coop and the effort I need to expend on this endeavour.

I am considering purchasing a dog run which is a 2m x 3m (and which is taller then I am) with a covered area of, I imagine, 1.5m x 3m.

My questions are -

  • How big a threat are rats and stoats to fully grown ducks? (I've lost ducklings to them, but I don't believe I've lost any ducks - but of-course the ducks have not been been penned in). Living on an island, We don't have Racoons or snakes to contend with.

  • Other then access to (limited - so they can drink/clean their beaks but not swim in it) water and some straw or similar, do I need to have anything else in the pen? (I plan on feeding them in the pen in the evenings, but won't give them access to unlimited food in the pen). I am unsure about nesting boxes or private spaces in the coop for example. Should I be partially boarding up the sides of the coop to provide better shelter?

  • Am I better off putting the pen on Grass and moving it periodically, or attaching the pen to a plywood floor to frustrate rats? If I need a plywood floor, should I be looking to cover it with some kind of Lino? Its worth noting occasionally the ground gets waterlogged. I expect I can leave the coop open and the ducks can sort themselves out during these rare times if required?

  • Bonus if anyone has any idea of how I might be able to prevent/discourage male ducks from entering the coop? (ideally I would prefer only female ducks in the coop - which will be open during the day. I am not willing to kill my male ducks. I have not been able to tell with certainty if some ducks are male or female, but the majority are definitely female)

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    Maybe of interest, but not answering the question: Experience with 3 peking ducks and the struggle to give them a new enclosure backyardpoultry.iamcountryside.com/poultry-101/… Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 6:15
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    In Switzerland there is a rule to have for 1 male and 2 female ducks of middle weight 4 squaremeter of enclosure, 400 squaremeter of meadow and a clean clear water. per female they calculate in the enclosure a "bay" of 40x40cm for nesting. tierdoerfli.ch/assets/assets/… Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 6:34
  • plywood will not keep the rats out,we had 50 chickens 12 of them was chewed on by rats during the night,birds in general canot see in the dark so they are easy prey for any predators.rats will gnaw a hole in 15mm plywood in 5-10 min Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 6:30

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