Our Aviary and Pens
When we moved to Utah in June 2014, we had the flock in a temporary aviary for several weeks while we closed on our house and designed the permanent aviary.
Once the house was ours, we drew up plans for a 12’x52′ (624 sq ft) chain-link aviary to be built.
The first step was setting the posts in concrete.
The aviary covering is constructed of black vinyl-coated chain link on all sides and top.
To keep critters from digging under or reaching through, hardware wire cloth lines the entire perimeter of the aviary, and extends out 18″-24″ before being buried. By extending the hardware cloth out, critters try to dig at the base of the fence, and don’t understand they’d have to back up a foot or two to dig under the buried wire.
The back of the aviary has privacy slats as well as a privacy shade cloth, which blocks wind as well.
Center posts in the aviary provide a good framework for different sections and also keep the chain link top secure.
Cinder blocks at the doorway prevent digging as well as buried hardware cloth. During the colder months, the top of the aviary is open to let in sunshine as well as snow. But in warmer months, the top is covered by several shade cloths to keep the ducks cool.
Half of the aviary is a long walk way from the front door to the back pens and winter pen.
The other half of the aviary is divided into many different compartments for different needs. Some areas house difficult personalities, others have special-needs ducks that need extra protection.
The entire aviary is about 50′ from the house, which is a zoning rule for poultry in our city.
But when we’re home, the flock gets supervised yard time outside of the aviary to roam around and doodle for bugs.
Once the main aviary was built and the flock was safely moved in, we began work on the winter pen.
The winter pen is inside our garage and takes up about 8’x14′ of area. It was built to provide extra warmth and comfort during the winter months for our special-needs ducks.
We also used it last summer to house new rescued babies who needed extra protection from the big ducks.
The winter pen connects to the inside of the aviary, so ducks can come and go in safety.
The aviary was built with a little connector area so we could connect it to the winter pen later, while keeping everything predator-proof.
The only problem with the connector between the aviary and winter pen is sometimes it gets blocked by goobers.
Each of our sections of ducks has a shelter to protect them from rain, snow and wind. Many sections have these A-frame nests, made from pre-built saw horses purchased from Home Depot. Ducks really love to have both an entrance and an exit to their nesting areas, so they can sneak out the back if something comes in the front. These nests work great for that.
We also have several dog house nests that some of the girls prefer for laying eggs.
And some cat carrier nests for smaller ducks.
Or larger nests for big kids.
Each section of ducks has nests, a baby pool and food/water dishes.
The main aviary often also has a larger, deeper pool.
But our favorite pool is the tree trunk pool. This one was a sand box made by Little Tikes. Unfortunately they don’t make them anymore.
We feed most of our flock Mazuri Waterfowl maintenance food. It is a floating food which is a great, natural way for ducks to eat. Floating the food also helps prevent it from attracting rodents.
We use rubber food dishes which are great in winter time when everything freezes. The rubber makes it easy to get the ice out and refill the bowls.
So far the aviary and winter pen have worked out really well, and have proven to be very safe and secure for the flock. We learned a lot after having separate night pens and a day aviary in Seattle, and made adjustments here to improve the design and simplify daily chores.
That’s it for now from all of us at Ducks and Clucks.
Thanks and quacks,
Tiff and the flock