Backyard Duck Coop Best Practices

A backyard duck coop needs to have a minimum of 4 square feet of space per duck.  The duck coop should have a roof and secure door that closes shut at night.  A duck house should have adequate ventilation due to the heavy moisture they generate.  The rest are nice to have and good to look at.  Let your creativity flow and have fun building an awesome home for your animals.

Thinking about how to build a duck coop in your urban backyard make sure and cover each of the following areas and your duck coop will be a success for you, the ducks, and your neighbors.

How Big to Build a Backyard Duck Coop

building a duck coop for many birds

How big should you build your backyard duck coop?  Well, that depends on how many ducks you plan on raising.  The recommended size minimum is at least 4 square feet per duck living in the coop.  However, this is pretty tight and a good rule of thumb for individuals that house a large flock, if you only have 2 ducks and build them a 2-foot by 4-foot house they will be ok, but that is not much room to walk around in.

Our backyard duck house is built for 3 ducks and is 4 feet by 6 feet.  This gives the girls plenty of space to walk around, and get comfortable at night.  It is nice to have the extra room as there have been times when we needed the ducks to stay in their house for a day.

Consequently, by going a little larger we can add food and the best duck waterers to the coop for days we are away from town.

What kind of roof for a duck house?

hard roof duck house

The roof of a backyard duck house can be as simple as a piece of plywood.  If you look through duck or chicken coop plans online it is obvious some people will go overboard with their backyard poultry project.  You do not need real roofing shingles.  We chose to use a plastic corrugated roofing sheet and a couple of scrap ends from a patio roof we built.  The roof of our duck house is on hinges so we can lift the whole thing up to ease in cleaning when doing a full washdown of the inside.

Should a duck house door lock?

The door for a chicken and duck coop does not have to have a lock.  Ultimately, it is nice if you can have a latch to keep the door shut.  If we do not turn the latch on our backyard duck coop they are able to easily push the door open and get out in the morning.  If building a duck house on a budget, come up with something simple.  A simple board that can go across the door is enough to secure it.  This is for predator protection in case they get to your duck house.  We keep our duck house inside of a fully enclosed run.  When in doubt, it is always wise to err on the side of flock safety.

Only use an open door like this if it is built inside of a very secure duck run.

backyard duck house with no door

How much ventilation is required for a duck house?

Ventilation is a critical component of a duck house.  The house should have large air vents on the sides near the roof.  Our duck house has a portion of the floor with ventilation holes to allow air to flow throughout the coop.  Due to the need for lots of ventilation, some backyard flocks do very well in an A-Frame coop.  If the weather doesn’t get too cold consider A Frame duck coop plans when creating their home.

Ducks are prolific snackers and enjoy mixing their food with their water.  Hence, ducks trap a lot of moisture in their feather throughout the body.  When they waddle into the coop still wet this moisture needs to go somewhere.  Every well-designed duck coop will address ventilation and yours should too.  Our coop has ventilation holes drilled into the plywood with a 4-inch hole saw.  The hole is then covered with hardware cloth to secure it from predators.

Cold Weather Backyard Duck Coop Concerns

insulated duck coop for winter

Ducks can tolerate cold temperatures.  We do not need to be concerned with covering the vent holes in our climate.  If your winters are consistently below freezing read this.  At the end of the day if your temperatures are not consistently below 15 degrees Fahrenheit you do not need to be concerned about added insulation for the duck coop.

Urban Homesteading Recommendations

Tips for Urban Backyard Duck Raising

  1. Build the duck coop inside an enclosed run.  This gives you two layers of security at night and one during times that you are away.
  2. Use hardware cloth fencing to secure the run and all ventilation holes in the coop.  Make getting into the run difficult for rats, they will try to get in.
  3. Paint the inside of the duck house.  This makes washing it out with a hose.  Our bottom ventilation holes act as drains during a clean and wash down.
  4. Add hinges to the lid.  Cleaning out from the top for a small home is much easier in my experience.
  5. Develop a process for managing the material that goes in and out of the coop and run.
  6. Quack Quack, give neighbors a few eggs from time to time.  It can be very helpful to have one or two neighbors that are willing to stop by and do daily maintenance tasks like water & duck feed when you are away for a weekend or longer.

In Closing

Build a secure house for raising backyard ducks and chickens. You do not need to spend a lot of money to do this.  Check out these cheap duck coop ideas, if you need help thinking outside the box.  While they are livestock, we understand for many urban homesteaders their ducks are certainly pets if not members of the family.  Spoil the girls, have fun and make their house pretty.  We had extra paint from a remodel and matched the roof to our patio so the duck coop matched the exterior of our home down to the trim.