It’s high time for an update on those wacky ducks on our homestead! It has been a few months since we finished construction on the duck coop and I finally got around to painting their finished duck coop. On a recent photo shoot in our backyard, the photographer said it looked like a bit of Mexico with all the bright colors. We’re been through enough iterations of coops over the years that I wanted something lively and fun in this quirky corner of the garden.

Painted duck coop (blue & pink) attached to the chicken coop (yellow)

Ducks are far less destructive in the garden than chickens. They tend to be more protein-oriented, meaning they go for slugs and bugs before they will munch on the plants. That said, I have noticed they have taken a liking to whatever they can reach along the edges of the raised beds. The beet greens in particular are thin along the edge of the beds.

Runner ducks grooming themselves out in the garden

Letting the ducks free range also keeps our feed costs down. They eat much more than our chickens, which can get expensive. Having access to the garden really helps round out their nutrition and keeps our feed costs low.

Feed in white bucket, clean drinking water in red bucket, & clean swimming pool in back corner

Ducks are more commitment in terms of time and space. They need more room than chickens to stretch their wings. We used a heavily shaded area of our garden to place the animal housing. That was a way to produce food in an area that can otherwise be challenging to grow edibles.

Dirty water gets transferred to buckets for pouring into the garden

Cleaning out their water bucket and swimming pool also takes some added time. It gets dirty so fast! Every other day I pour the water onto our trees and shrubs, giving them a nice dose of fertilizer, and refill them with fresh clean water. It is always so entertaining to watch the ducks scramble into the newly filled pool for yet another pool party (video below!).

What’s quacking, clucking or buzzing on your homestead? Do you have plans to add any backyard critters to your homestead? Is constructing livestock housing a fun challenge or an overwhelming burden? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson