Good design makes one’s life a whole lot easier. Properly planned and thought out design will save time and ultimately money for a farming enterprise.
Getting the design right often takes time and effort, and I find that I tend to just leap into projects and try and get things done – to the detriment of the planning and design stages.
Every couple of weeks I need to move the duck coop. The ducks create a mess (especially after rain) and moving them onto new grounds gives them more grass and insects to eat and limits their damage to the pasture.
Obviously the portable electric fence needs to be clear of everything including the coop, food container and waterers or else it won’t work.
However, leaving a gap between the back of the coop and the fence is causing problems. The ducks seem to think that this design is encouraging them to run around the coop when I try to put them away.
Just imagine trying to gently herd all ten birds straight into the coop. A couple will always decide to go around the coop (“It’s not time to go to bed yet!”). Once they’re around the other side, I have to coerce them back to the front and enter the coop with the rest.
This process has become so painful, that I am having to catch a couple of ducks several times a week, which is far from ideal. Having to catch the ducks means that it’s more difficult for me (see: time consuming) and it places stress on the group of birds. In turn that will result in fewer eggs laid – a no-win situation for all parties!
I’m not sure how to block the gap – placing the food container between the coop and the fence is dangerous and inefficient with the electricity. I am flirting with the idea to make little barriers out of spare bits of wood just so I can at least put the birds away easily.
Should the fence be permanent at some stage in the future, I would be able to leave the coop against the fence (and I would have external electric wires on the top and bottom of the fence). For now though, that’s not an option. If I can make a pen design more effective it will save both me and the birds some stress, so watch this space!