Jul 30, 2012

Raising Ducks: Building a Nest Box

Our Welsh Harlequin ducks are now fifteen weeks old.  I expect them to start laying eggs any time within the next month.  I can't wait!  In preparation for this exciting event, I built a couple nesting boxes for the ladies.   My duck rearing book says you'll need one nest for every four or five layers.  I've only got four hens, so two nesting areas should be more than enough.  I'm not even sure they'll use them.  I think it's more likely they'll lay their eggs somewhere in our yard.  I'm hoping the nest boxes - and dummy eggs I put in them - will encourage the ducks to lay in their house, where I can easily gather the eggs each day.  We shall see!  Here's how I made the boxes:
Is Blondie's abodomen bulging because she's brewing an egg in there?  I figured I'd better build some nesting boxes asap.  
I'm a planner.  Even though I often don't follow the plan once I get going.  

The circular saw is the only power tool I used to build the box.  Clamps came in handy for holding the plywood in place while I ripped it three long pieces for the sides of the box.  

I used a two-by-six as a strait edge to draw lines, and ripped along them freehand.  It wasn't a precision job.  

I cut two square-ish pieces for the ends of the box.  

I glued and nailed the pieces together.

These nails are too small, but I'm not making another stinking trip to home depot today.  I've made many wood boxes with nothing but glue holding them together - and they were strong enough to dance on.  This'll be fine.  

These pieces are all the same height - fourteen inches.  I put them together first.

I cut top and bottom pieces to fit the sidewalls, then glued and nailed 'em on.  

I cut some pieces of quarter round to reinforce and square up the seams.

I glued those to the inside corners of the box.

Then I nailed the quarter rounds in place...

...from both the inside and outside of the box.  

I wiped away the excess wood glue.  

I could go back after everything is dry and drive a few screws through the quarter round and this thing would be close to indestructable.  

I notched the separating wall to go around the quarter round inside the box.

I nailed the separator wall in place.  

I wanted to put a bit of a retaining wall on the front of the boxes.  I nailed that in place.  

I have no idea what size a Welsh Harlequin nesting box should be.  The specs are what I thought looked cozy but not cramped - and what would fit nicely inside my duck house.   Each nesting area is about 14 inches tall, 14 inches deep, and sixteen inches wide. 

I put the nesting box in the ducks' house.  

I added some hay and some dummy eggs made of wood.  

My duck rearing book suggests putting fake eggs in the nests to encourage the ducks to lay there.  I hope it works.  

I'm storing extra bedding on top of the nesting boxes.  

Okay ducks, quit screwin' around and lay some tasty eggs already!


  1. Looks great; can't wait to see if your ducks use these boxes. I've been wondering if they need nesting boxes like chickens do.

  2. Some people say their ducks won't lay in nest boxes, but my duck rearing book suggests providing them.

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