An Informative Guide From Duck Cages To Duck Care
Before you start thinking about duck cages, you need to be sure you can properly care for a duck first. Do you have enough room to keep a few ducklings happy? They are very social birds and will not much appreciate being raised in solitary. Keep in mind that you should have a bare minimum of 10 feet of available space per duck. Also, they not only need shelter but a place to swim as well.
Ducks have many natural predators including hawks, owls, dogs, foxes and snapping turtles so offering them a large water source can help protect them during the night but they may also need to be locked in their cages or shelters at night.
Also, ducklings require quite a bit of care in the beginning so not only do you need to be up for the challenge but you will have to be sure that you buy proper food and be fully prepared for their needs before bringing them home.
Duck cages should be thought of as shelters and not traditional cages. It should be large enough for the duck to completely expand its wings to move around freely. Pet ducks should never be housed in actual cages unless it is for a short temporary period. If you are unable to allow your ducks to freely roam around your entire yard, you should give them a clean area of their own that is completely safe from predators and easily accessible for feeding and daily maintenance.
Many people prefer to build their own shelter-like duck cages with interior shelters to hide from weather, special pads to stop water from puddling and even steps into their own pool. You should always cement posts into the ground to avoid a potentially life threatening situation during harsh weather conditions.
Some folks choose to use an extra large dog kennel that houses a cozy smaller shelter inside for nighttime. Your specific yard size and climate will influence what type of pen you will need. If you have to confine your ducks for some reason, never use litter or wood chips in their duck cages as they can pose a choking hazard or be harmful ingested. Straw or hay is the safest thing to use but be sure to replace the bedding daily. Mold can easily form in just a few days that creates a deadly environment with your pet ducks.
If you must use traditional duck cages only temporarily while the ducklings are young and you are building their shelter, purchase the type with vinyl coating. Do not use the cage without covering the bottom with fleece, receiving blankets or old towels that be washed and replaced daily. Also, be sure that the spaces of the cage are small so that the ducklings cannot squeeze their head through causing strangulation.
If you live in cold climates, your shelters and temporary duck cages will need a little extra attention. There should be adequate heat and ventilation. Your climate will determine the strength of the heat bulb you use but be sure that it is high enough out of reach from the ducks and away from water exposure. Also, be certain that they have a place to go to escape the heat if they get too warm.
You can build your duck shelter with a waterproof roof, insulated walls and even a rubber flapped entrance like a doggie door. This allows your ducks to have shelter from outside elements and predators but also the ability to roam freely. If you don't' have a special shelter you can bring your ducks into the basement or garage at night to keep them safe, just be sure there is sufficient water, warmth and food.
Sudden weather changes can cause illness like pneumonia so you must be sure that their duck cages and shelters are clean and dry. Damp food and bedding can produce harmful infections.
While summertime is a bit easier to care for pet ducks and not have to worry about cold conditions and water freezing, there are still potential hazards. They require a place to escape heat, sun and electrical storms. Fresh drinking water and plenty of shade provided at all times is a must. Also, never use pesticides to keep bugs out of duck cages and shelters. Search for a bird friendly option that is available, specifically manufactured to use around birds and pets.