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When we built our duck house, I wanted to make sure the ducks could also have a predator proof outdoor area attached. My friend Lisa at Fresh Eggs Daily recommended this because ducks are messy and it’s helpful to keep food and water outside so the inside of the house stays dry. I was trying to keep our duck run as subtle as possible so I decided to build it behind the shed. There’s some extra unused space back there and it gave them a decent amount of space without cutting into our yard too much. Of course, when we’re home we let the ducks out in the rest of the yard too.
There were, however, some challenges with this run. Runs aren’t terribly complicated when they’re just a long rectangle. But ours is odd shaped and there’s a tree in the middle of it. I’m not 100% it’s perfectly predator proofed, but I sure hope it is. I’ve had to overlap the hardware cloth in some spots and there’s a small amount of space around the tree. That said- hardware cloth is really sharp and hard to move so the small gaps on the top may not be an issue. And if it is an issue, I may end up with a pet raccoon in our duck run because I doubt he’ll be able to get back out.
Long story short, I’d recommend the KISS (keep it simple stupid) method to build a duck run. You’re already in for a lot of work so you may want to avoid adding more work like I did (wink). But if you have an odd space, you CAN make it work if necessary.
Supplies Supplies listed below may include affiliate links to the products.
- Hardware cloth 1/2″ galvanized steel
- 2×4’s and something to cut them with.
- Heavy duty staple gun with lots of staples
I nailed the frame into the coop. Some of these pictures will look a bit lopsided… partly that’s due to the area, but my husband did adjust the frame a bit after I put it in. You can see I added some boards across the top to support my hardware cloth for the “roof.”
Hardware cloth was stapled onto the frame so that the top and sides were covered.
I dug down about 6″ for the hardware cloth to go into the soil vertically, then bent it at an angle to fan out horizontally a bit. Then I covered it all up with dirt again. So here’s the rough part… I had to bury hardware cloth in several spots… and it was awkward. I buried it along both short sides of my shed (outside the run). I also buried it on the outside of our privacy fence… it was easier to work in that area. Essentially, if something could dig under an area to get to your chickens or ducks, add hardware cloth there. I missed one spot and my dog started digging in it. So I fixed it. I’ve been inspecting the area daily to keep an eye out for areas I need to fix.
My husband built the door. I added the hardware cloth to it, then he put it on. We added a latch. The door ended up being pretty tight- as in, I can barely open it, so we haven’t stressed too much about a lock on it. I usually use a piece of rope in the latch to keep it from being opened easily.
Afterwards, I added the hardware cloth to the top of run, overlapping as necessary. I had some extra cuts of the roofing from the duck run leftover so I laid it on top of the hardware cloth to keep a portion of the run dry.
I had to build a frame for the end of the shed. I wedged that between the shed and privacy fence. It was nice and tight. I added my hardware cloth, again burying it.
Ahh and I had to go back to the store for more hardware cloth because I needed a small cut to bury in front of the door frame.
This was a lot of work, but I feel much better knowing that my ducks can spend some time outside at night and not be cooped in their house.
Lisa suggested putting some solar lights up to attract bugs so the ducks can snack all night.
My kids have a small plastic chair in the run so they can hang out with their duck friends.
Video Tour of Our Duck Setup
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Mandatory Cute Duck and Children Photos
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