HAYDOCK GOOSE or DUCK HOUSE
Anybody who like me has kept domestic waterfowl will tell you that ducks and especially geese are messy. I’ve heard it said more than once “they peck once and poo twice”. Therefore, to maintain a desirable level of husbandry their housing needs to be easy to clean and well ventilated. They like a tall door they appeared (in my experience) to not like ‘stooping’.
As ducks and geese seem void of the ‘chicken go home to roost gene’ I found it ‘testing’ to get the birds in at night. My advice is to give them a late feed in the house at bedtime. Another bonus of feeding at bed time is that the birds will have a crop full of feed on which to overnight, which is especially beneficial during long cold winter nights.
My preference for floor and nest litter is wood shavings or a proprietary brand of horse bedding, both of which are far more absorbent than straw or hay.
Ducks and geese are not disposed to use a nest box. Geese choose to make their own ‘mess nest’ where they want to. Ducks seemed to lay eggs wherever they are when the need arises, every attempt on my part to induce either of them to lay in even the most basic nest failed. The best I could do was to offer them a segregated area of the house that if they wanted to they could own. (see optional HOUSE PARTITION below)
When it comes to fowl housing I am of the opinion that to design, build and then ultimately market functional fowl housing worth the name you need to have been a 'keeper'. When creating any animal or bird housing I apply three criteria.
Firstly, and most importantly, the house MUST pander the birds needs and their natural instincts. As with all creatures, waterfowl are ‘hard-wired’ to certain behavioural traits, which to ignore is foolhardy.
Secondly, the house accessibility and functionality should aid the keeper achieve a high level of husbandry. Awkward, hard to clean housing gets steadily filthier, until in the end the welfare of the birds becomes an issue.
Lastly, ensuring we do not compromise the birds and keepers needs, we strive to make our work aesthetically pleasing. Achieved by applying a critical eye to scale and proportions, the selection (and rejection), of materials, the routine use of sandpaper and adding those little bits of unnecessary detail, we accomplish the desired effect. Perhaps best summarised by a customer who said "this is housing even our neighbour can be proud of".
THE HAYDOCK GOOSE or DUCK HOUSE FEATURES
When both the side walls are removed, it opens the house all through, you could even use the yard broom to sweep from side to side.
When opened in conjunction with the removable side walls it opens the house still further so you can clean standing up and not kneeling in the mud.
LIFT OUT FLOOR SECTION:
Enables the keeper to tackle the compacted crud that accumulates just inside the threshold as the birds trundle back and forth.
Air flow is a vital aspect of house design, the birds should have access to fresh air, even in the winter. The HAYDOCKS have vents set in under the eaves allowing fresh air to be drawn into the house as the warm foul air (pun indented) rises to be vented via the full-length ridge vents.
I have known customers block the vents in the winter in a misguided attempt to keep the birds warm. Obstructing the air flow could prompt respiratory problems, especially if floor droppings have been allowed to accumulate. If you want to keep the birds warm over a long winters night better to give them each a fist full of mixed corn about an hour before dusk. This is will give them a slow release energy source to overnight on.
Handles on the gable walls are a must have when moving the house. Unlike a lot of housing I have seen especially recently the Haydocks can be moved without fear of it disintegrating, because we construct the Haydocks on ridged glued, pinned, mortise and tenon jointed main frames. Making the house ‘stiff’ enough that it can be rolled on its side for hosing.
THE HAYDOCK CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS
All framing and cladding is pressure treated joinery grade red pine.
12mm thick tongue and grooved boarding.
20mm thick shiplap boarding (joints bedded on mastic).
12mm thick MARINE grade ply.
THE HAYDOCK RANGE
HAYDOCK 4x3 GOOSE or DUCK:
Floor 1.1mtr x 0.9mtr. Housing two to three geese, or six to eight medium size ducks.
HAYDOCK 4x5 GOOSE or DUCK:
Floor 1.1mtr x 1.5mtr. Housing four to six geese, or up to ten medium size ducks.
THE HAYDOCK OPTIONS
Removable internal wall that when in place partitions the house for nesting.
Sturdy 0.6mtr x 0.9mtr ramp gives smaller birds a 'leg up'.
2mtr x 0.6mtr x 0.2mtr deep, water trough with ramp bridge.
(link to PADDOCK RUN)
Although the timber we build with is pressure treaded or marine grade and will last many years, we think it prudent to once in a while apply a re-treatment. The treatment we both use and strongly recommend prevents future wood rot by forming a WATER SHEDDING layer over the timber surface.
When first applied the treater has both the colour and consistency of diluted milk, however it dries to be fully TRANSPARENT so can be liberally applied without showing brush or run marks. It is water based so it CAN BE APPLIED TO WET WOOD. Being MICRO POROUS it allows the wood to ‘breath’ and most importantly it says SUITABLE FOR ANIMAL HOUSING on the label!