Given that ducks and geese lack the instinctual drive to return home at night akin to chickens, their housing management can present unique challenges. To encourage the return of the birds at dusk, I recommend a late feeding within their housing. This not only ensures their safe return, but also allows them to fill their crop for sustenance throughout the cold winter nights.
In terms of bedding, my choice leans towards wood shavings or a high-quality horse bedding. Both materials are considerably more absorbent than straw or hay, making them ideal choices for maintaining cleanliness and comfort.
Ducks and geese typically don’t utilise nest boxes in the traditional sense. Geese prefer crafting their unique ‘mess nest’ in a location of their choosing. Ducks, on the other hand, tend to lay eggs spontaneously, and attempts to persuade them to nest in a designated area often prove futile. The best approach I’ve found is to provide a partitioned area within their housing, offering them a personal space should they wish to utilise it (refer to optional HOUSE PARTITION).
In my view, creating effective waterfowl housing requires hands-on experience as a ‘keeper’. Every design I create meets three essential criteria. First and foremost, the design must cater to the bird’s natural instincts and fulfil their specific needs. Ignoring their innate behavioural traits is counterproductive and ultimately detrimental.
Secondly, the design should prioritise easy accessibility and functionality for the keeper, enabling them to maintain high standards of husbandry. Housing that is hard to clean will progressively deteriorate, leading to welfare issues for the birds.
Lastly, without compromising the needs of the birds or the keeper, the aesthetics of the design are given careful consideration. This is achieved through a meticulous approach to scale and proportions, discerning selection of materials, regular use of sandpaper for the finest finish, and attention to minute yet impactful details. These elements come together to create a pleasing result that harmonises with its surroundings. As one satisfied customer eloquently put it, “this is housing even our neighbour can be proud of.”
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