Project #142 – Mobile Duck Pen

This was really a two day project, although Clark did most of the work. I need to get over myself and learn some carpentry skills, but it’s easy to move that to the bottom of the list when living with someone who is more than happy to do all the sawing and nailing for you.

We weren’t sure what to do with the pointy ends of the chicken wire, so we covered them with duct tape. So far the ducks have not tried to eat the tape, which was a legitimate fear…’cause they’re kind of dumb…cute, but dumb.

My mom was really nice and bought us a staple gun and chicken wire as early birthday gifts so we could go ahead and finish the whole thing today. I spent a few hours stapling the wire to the wood, but it went much faster after Clark got home and there were two of us to work on it. He is much better at staple gunning than me; I need two hands to push down the trigger and he manages to do it with only one.

The biggest predators we have to worry about in the city are house cats and the peregrine falcon who lives across the street. There might be opossums and raccoons around, but we were faced with making a dig-proof pen to guard against animals that may not even live here, or making a pen that could be moved easily so the ducks would always have access to fresh grass. I hope we chose correctly. The ducks have a temporary shelter inside the pen, but we plan on making a better one that will be more predator proof.

There was one type of predator that I forgot about completely: runaway dogs. Our backyard has a narrow alley running behind it that is popular with neighborhood dog walkers. Some people like to leave their dogs off leash when walking them to give the animal a little more freedom, but I guess those people never expected to run into a tasty-looking pen of ducks.

I was in the kitchen making pie crust when I heard a dog bark and the ducks peep their ‘I’m sooo frightened!’ peeps. I ran outside and saw a bear-sized German Shepherd taking a great interest in my animals and the ducks going nuts with fear. It was clear that he was big and strong enough to tip the whole pen over, even with bricks weighing it down, and attack the ducks. I yelled at the dog to get it to go away as the dog’s owner came running into the yard to claim it.

The ducks were supposed to spend their first night outside in their pen tonight, but we might have to rethink that. I hope that incident was just a fluke, but we are raising some tasty, defenseless morsels and there are lots of creatures who want a piece.

2 Comments to “Project #142 – Mobile Duck Pen”

  1. bldrnrpdx says:

    You might try some ground staples to help keep the pen in place too. It wouldn't withstand an energetic dog, but it might be safer than having bricks fall on your foot. Just a thought.

  2. Alison says:

    That might work once we add a door. Right now we're lifting up the bottom to give them food and water and let them out for free-range time.

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