A New Run for the Duckies

My dad built our original duck run in 2009, a year after we moved to Whidbey Island. We have a heavy population of birds of prey (before we had chickens, a bald eagle flew over the farm carrying a buff chicken!), and the enclosure was built to keep out the bald eagles and red-tailed hawks. Eventually, the plastic roof broke down, and I replaced it with a fenced roof because ducks certainly don’t mind the rain.

We realized the setup wasn’t safe years later when a coyote killed our American buff gander, Gandy, in his run. Up until that point, we knew there were raccoons, but hadn’t known that there were any coyotes in the area. Now we can hear packs of coyotes howling some nights, and there is at least one coyote that regularly visits the farm in the evening.

The plan was to replace the deer fencing and chicken wire on the duck run to make it a coyote-proof run. There was also the problem that the predator-proof run that the chickens live in shared a wall with the duck run, which made it extremely difficult to take care of the two roofs.

I’m almost done with adding hardware cloth to the chain-link fence of the chicken run walls, which I’ll also do to the duck run. While the run was predator proof, the chain-link allowed smaller birds in and out of the run. Birds were almost always smart enough to stay out of the run while the chickens were out (chickens are not vegetarians!), but with the current avian influenza outbreak hitting Washington state, I wanted to avoid any potential for contamination.

So here is the mostly dismantled duck run. The underlying wood frame was added to support the PVC frame that held the original roof. The blue nylon is showing the new angle I’m cutting the roof frame to.

Here is the section where the chicken and duck run shared a wall.

And here is that section with the roof removed and the ground regarded (ignore the mess on top of the chicken run!). I’m going to add shelves and use this section for a mix of carnivorous plants and bonsais.

The only part of the roof that is a bit more complicated is the timber bamboo, which the ducks (and me) love.

To keep the bamboo, part of the roof is going to have to be framed around the fenced upper portion.

For the walls, I’m replacing the weak fencing with chain-link panels. This is the back portion behind the duck house.

This is the upper section where I’m also adding chain-link and flattening the hill. When my dad put in the pond, the back portion wasn’t set in the ground, so I’m regrading so the ducks can access it from every side.

And this is the section further down.

To hold the new soil in place, I added a wood frame, and am ready to fill it in.

Here is the front of the run that I’m working on regrading.

And here is the front with the chain-link fence set in place.

This is where I’m currently at on the project, leveling out the front wall.

And this is Teddy’s favorite duck-related project. This is the pool I’m getting ready to finish installing for the drakes, but Teddy has decided it’s one of the best places to hang out on the farm. No pool liner needed!