duckfeedhutI built this poultry feeder A-frame a week or so ago. I used old barn wood this time. I don’t often find ways to recycle the barn wood, because it’s so dimensionally gigantic, dense and heavy compared to modern lumber, that even the tiniest structure weighs too much. Right now, we want everything to be move-able since we don’t know where all our permanent structures are going to go. But, this worked ok: made from barn siding and roof pieces, I think it “only” weighs about 50 pounds!

As you can see, I’m sticking with the A-frame theme, I just like the way they look, how easy they go together, how stable they are in the wind, and that they use less lumber than a cube. This thing I kind of free-handed, I didn’t do any measuring, I just eyeballed how it should go together based on the size of the feeder.

My plan here was to move the duck (and soon to be chicken) feeding station out into the yard. Since the ducks are nicely conditioned to free range by day, but go into their house at night, they no longer need a feeder in their shelter. And, that means they don’t need water in there either (ducks will choke themselves if they can eat grain but have no water with which to wash it down). The end result- less mess in their night shelter, and less frequent cleaning for me to do!

I am really pleased with the way things are working out with the ducks. I worried about predation during the day, since coyotes and eagles are ever-present and ducks are pretty helpless and not too brainy. But, we’ve only had one duck disappear in daytime in the last year and a half. So, knock on wood, they seem to be reasonably safe as long as they’re penned at night. I can stand a small percentage loss, as long as the predators don’t make a habit of it!

The ducks’ free-ranging during the day offers many benefits: they need less purchased feed, they eradicate slugs, they have a healthier diet, their eggs are richer, they stay cleaner and nicer-looking, and they are happier. Though they manage to hide a few eggs from me while they’re out and about, for the most part, they lay early in the morning in their pen. So, I’m satisfied with my egg yield, and am getting enough egg buyers now that the ducks are at least breaking even. What mystery eggs I do find in the yard go into the dog food. The best part is the slug patrol: I have a horrible slug phobia, so the ducks are worth their weight in gold in keeping the yard slug-free!

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