Our duck and goose house and yard setup.

We’re getting lots of nice starter-sized duck eggs now, despite the shortening days:image

We also got our first goose egg:

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Ducks and geese don’t need nesting boxes like chickens do. They’ll just dig a little depression in the straw in the corner of their house.  I suspect some of them are also laying their eggs in the reeds around the pond, though I haven’t yet found any.

I thought it might interest some readers to see our current duck and goose yard setup.

In the middle of the yard is a hugelkultur herb and vegetable bed around which I’m slowly building a lashed fence made from tree branches I harvest from our woodlands:

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Spent straw bedding is used for mulch in the garden bed.

We had grand duck house dreams but ran out of time and had to settle for repurposing a Rubbermaid storage shed for now:

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We removed the plastic windows and replaced them with hardware cloth. A bungee-corded fan helps with ventilation.

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The rabbit hutch is also in the duck yard:

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The duck yard is not covered, but does have an 8-foot fence around it. The bottom four feet are hardware cloth to prevent raccoons from reaching through and grabbing sleeping ducks.

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There is a semi-dwarf peach tree that provides shade and fallen fruit for the ducks and geese. In turn, their droppings fertilize the tree.

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We took a second piece of hardware cloth and attached it to the bottom  of the fence and made a skirt on the ground that extends out several feet. We then let the grass grow up through that hardware cloth skirt. This discourages digging predators from getting into the duckyard..

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We also strung two strands of hot wire, one at four feet and one at the top to discourage climbing predators:

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We have a large earthen pond…image

…directly behind the duck yard:

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Uncle Waldo, our Pilgrim gander

The duck eggs we are currently getting are about the size of a large chicken egg:

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Three brown chicken eggs and one white duck egg

I was uncertain about how cooking duck eggs might be different, so I followed Carol Deppe’s directions:

I use a heavy pan, which is covered and off the heat for the last part of the cooking. I scramble the eggs, adding a little salt, cayenne pepper, and oregano. (You can add milk if you want. I don’t.) I start the cooking on medium-high and stir the eggs with a spatula a few times initially until they start chunking up. When I have mostly big chunks of egg dispersed in some remaining liquidy egg, I turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook 2–3 minutes—until the eggs are lightly brown on the bottom. Then I use a spatula to turn the eggs over in spatula-sized sections, then cover the pan, remove it from the heat, and leave it for 3–5 minutes to finish cooking the other side of the eggs. I end up with sort of hamburger-patty-like slabs of eggs. These make great leftovers, hot or cold, and make good sandwiches or finger food.

I started with two duck eggs:image

Added the seasonings:

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The whites are thicker and stickier than chicken eggs

And used my trusty cast iron skillet that we’ve had for 25 years:

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Served on a slice of fresh sourdough bread with a few remaining cherry tomatoes from the pot on the balcony:

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The duck eggs tasted richer and did not have that “chickeny” flavor. Yummy!

 

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10 thoughts on “Our duck and goose house and yard setup.

  1. One thing I forgot to mention is that we don’t lock the ducks and geese in the house at night. We lock them in the duck yard, but we just close one of the doors to the duck house and leave the other one open. They can go in or sleep outside, whatever they prefer. When I go out at night to check on them sometimes, they are almost always sleeping out in their yard somewhere.

    So far this has been fine. I was a little worried because the yard isn’t covered, but our predator security seems to be working fine. I have gone out at night on the balcony and seen coyotes sitting right outside the duck yard. Raccoons too. I think they are too big now for owls to mess with them. My one worry is weasels, but so far we haven’t seen any.

    We do lock the rabbit in her hutch, though.

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  2. All seems well at your household. The thing that has been bothering me is, that when the weather turns harsh, what will you do with your menagerie? They don’t find a den and sleep through like some of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ducks and geese are extremely cold hardy. The down on the geese’s bodies is so thick that I can’t part it and see down to their skin. My parents ducks walked around in their back yard all winter without a problem.

    Of course, they must have shelter. And they have their house which they can go in. In really bad weather we will close them up inside it, but in average winter temperatures they can come out and walk around as long as they have a place to go to get off the snow if they get too cold.

    We chose chicken breeds that are good to have in Michigan, ones that are known to be very cold hardy. The chicken coop is very large, so if they need to remain in it during severe weather, it’s perfectly cozy for them. But even in regular winter temperatures, they should be able to come outside for a while every day.

    Also, we will be stacking straw bales around the north side of the chicken coop, duck house and rabbit hutch for extra insulation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am gld that you don’t have to move them all in with you. That would be chaotic! It is good that you don’t have to make any special arrangements for them.

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  4. Maybe it is just me and I may be a little twisted but, every time I see the title of this post, I think of soup. And, I am not that much of a Marx Brothers fan.
    I need to go to the grocery store. Maybe these cravings are telling me something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is our little shiba inu, Ruby. She looks so much like a fox that we are always a bit worried that she will sneak off to one of the neighbors’ houses and end up messing with their chickens and getting shot because they mistook her for a fox.

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