Makeshift barrier as a fence for ducks
Our small flock of Ancona ducks had recently started wondering a bit further than we were comfortable with, and we found ourselves needing to find a way to fence them in. Since we didn't have the time or want to spend the money to spend on a permanent fence, we were able to come up with an inexpensive way to keep them on our property.
We have had ducks now for less than a year, and until recently, they stayed pretty close to home throughout the winter. Typically, the ducks and chickens (all sharing a secure indoor/outdoor coop) are let into the "barnyard" each day, where they have a decent space to wander but are kept from getting into any trouble. We put them back in the coop each night. There are not any foraging opportunities in the barnyard however, so when we are going to be around for the day we let them out to wander the property. They, and the chickens, love this and they go through much less feed when they are out foraging for themselves.
There is no fence or other barrier keeping everyone on the property. Until now, this was't a problem as the chickens really don't go far and the ducks have been content to stay close. Unfortunately, it was just a matter of time before they discovered the temporary storm water management pond behind our 1 acre property.
As you can see, they are really enjoying themselves. Although we build them a perfectly good splash pond in their very own barnyard ... Ok, to be fair, the splash pond is a like a kiddie pool and the storm water pond is a northern cottage lake with a dock and tire swing in comparison. This is where our status as newbie livestock urban homesteaders comes into play. For the first couple days we felt they were having soooo much fun and were soooo happy ... what trouble could they really get in, right? (Although our bubble-wrapping, human parent instincts did feel that taking their 3 day old duckling babies that far from home was a little irresponsible).
After a couple days the visits to the pond got longer, with most of their time spent hanging out in or around the water. They also started wandering a bit further, possibly curious if there was an even -bigger- pond a little ways on, I figure.
In the picture to the left I am chasing the ducks back to our property, starting to wonder how I was possibly going to keep them contained without permanently locking them in the barnyard.
It just so happened that the following weekend I was cleaning up some tree damage. A few very large branches had come down in an ice storm a month or so earlier.
It was Donna who suggested maybe I could use the logs from the tree somehow. That didn't seem possible or likely, given the length of barrier I was looking to create. But then I noticed the growing pile of brush. Hmm.
I only took us about 30 minutes to create a couple hundred feet of barrier. Since the Ancona ducks do not fly, the barrier just needed to keep them from walking through.
As you can see in the image below, it completely stymied them and they have been content on the property ever since. Yes, the ducklings did get through once, but they discovered they really didn't like going through without their mother and haven't tried again.
I am happy to say that the splash pond is back to being a popular destination.