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I am planning on putting up a coop and duck house this fall and will be looking for unusual layers of all types (pullets). I'd like a mixed flock of good layers and prefer large birds but open to the smaller ones if you like yours. I will be taking classes and reading all I can on raising Cs & Ds. However, I do have one question you experts might readily know. The prospective location for my coop/duck house is in a shady area surrounded by conifers. Will this be a comfortable and healthy place for my birds? I am concerned about the amount of sunlight they won't be getting and the impact of pine needle droppings on their health. Thanks, Kath

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Comment by Joe DiMeglio on April 5, 2011 at 3:23pm

Hi Kath,

 

I have some experience w/ Ducks and generally, more sun in the pen is better, especially in the NW. Their droppings are very wet to begin with, so a pen w/ more sun and built on a sight grade for drainage will help aleviate smell and slimyness in the pen. That's a real perk when collecting eggs. A layer of gravel under the dirt & sand on top of the dirt floor can also facilitate drainage.  If you're planning on raising them in the city where noise is a factor, I would recommend some of the quieter breeds like Khaki Campbells or Indian Runners. For chickens, I'd look into some of the "heritage" breeds, they tend to be much heartier and more self reliant food wise. Mother Earth News online is a good resource for all kinds of stuff like this. You may also find migrating ducks attracted to your flock. If you build an oasis, they will come! 

 

Pine needles shouldn't be a problem as far as I know, but resin drops could be a problem if they eat them. I had a duck pen with a larg pine to one side and we never had a problem with it.The needles may actually make good (and Free!) nesting fodder for them, but I would ask an expert on that one first. Your yard will definitely be snail & slug free with that brood runing around, and the birds will get a nice, high protein boost to their diet for free. 

Comment by Leah Vetter on March 18, 2011 at 3:13pm
Do you plan to keep the hens confined in the coop?  Mine run loose in the yard during daylight hours and get plenty of sun that way - unless there isn't any! They stay in doors at night and when there is torrential rain. The ducks, or course, need a swimming pool out doors. You might not want hens and ducks mixed in the same house (or same area in the house).  Ducks are SO messy.

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