Duck, Duck… Done (Kinda)

If the success of a weekend is measured in how many splinters you have at the end of it, then, guys… I am killing it. Or if you measure in how many full-grown ducks are no longer living in my grandmothers sun room… also winning. However, if you’re using metrics like “number of cedar shingles that did not blow off of the finished duck house while driving it down to my grandmothers house”? Well, shit.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s start here, last weekend, when I stopped over to check on the “ducklings”… mind you, the last time I saw them, they looked like this…


And not TWO WEEKS later…


Holy duck!

That’s not even a joke. Chickens, at 8 weeks, are about half their full-grown size. Ducks, at four weeks, are already bigger than a full grown chicken. And there were three of them living inside the house with my grandmother and her two cats.


Finishing the duck house became a major priority.


Saturday and Sunday were fully dedicated to the task. Finishing up the cedar shingles… and figuring out how to make half of the A-frame roof into a seamless-looking door.

I worked late into the night Saturday, and got up early Sunday morning to put the finishing touches on before loading it up and driving it an hour down to my grandmothers house.


And, holy shit, all of the sudden it’s done!


I tried to build this thing as “light” as possible–minimal framing members, and minimal thickness on the sheathing and siding– but I’d still put it well over 200 pounds. Moving it should technically be a two-man job, or (because this how I roll) a one-girl/one-tractor job…


My mom texted me in the middle of this and said, “Are you loading it alone?” And I was like, I’ve got a pickup truck, trailer, and tractor all going here… I’m hardly alone.

Because I need to do a little re-wiring on the trailer (listen the lights totally work, the turn signals are just, uh, confused, that’s all) I decided to take the back roads into Ohio. The trip went smoothly from my perspective, but maybe less so for anyone who was driving behind me when shingles starting blowing off the roof…


GODDAMMIT. That sound you hear is a little bit of my spirit dying an unshingled death. Seriously. Here’s what happened: I am an idiot.

Well, 50% idiot, 40% not thinking things all the way through, 10% why the hell is it so hard to find hot-dip galvanized roofing nails? That last one is particularly relevant because I had to order the nails to for the shingles online (and wait a week for delivery) and 1″ nails worked for THE ENTIRE ROOF except for the top row of shingles on the door. THOSE shingles apparently weren’t nailed all the way into the sheathing, and when I subjected them to 55 mph winds while driving down the country roads, they peeled off in sheets.

So. Okay. In retrospect, duh. The sheathing is thin, the shingles aren’t properly overlapped in that spot, and the nails were like a 1/4″ too short. I got what I deserved here.

But, honestly, it’s not a show stopper for the ducks. So I repaired what I could and then we hauled those “ducklings” out to their new home…



Three of them. In the sun room.


Everyone was a bit shocked when they asked how we were going to get them outside and I said, “We’re going to pick them up like footballs, and haul them out there, obviously.”

Even my grandma…


My mom was taking pictures and she said she felt like the photographer at a wedding when all the bridesmaids and groomsmen come down the aisle… now wait, let me get your picture…


These ducks already adore my grandma, by the way.


And quite like their new home…


It seemed like we did a good job integrating them into the new duck house…


(Also, note to self, should have made the inside of the door prettier since it’s open all the time, but it is what it is.)


Turns out these ducks are kind of adorable little shits. My grandmother has had to physically pick them up and put them in the house every night so far. And they also love a.) mud, and b.) getting sprayed with the hose…


They are not so sure about Mewchie the cat…


And vice versa, I imagine.

So, 1.) This entire duck adventure has been hilarious and awesome, and if my grandma can’t handle these Nugs she can always send them up here to the farm because we will hug the shit out of them up here, obv. 2.) The duck house was a ton of fun to build, and I’m glad my mom and I got to collaborate on this project. But, 3.) Holy shit, I would like to be able to check this off my list. It would have been so awesome to drop off a fully-intact duck house on Sunday and be done with it, knowing all the ducks are safe and sound. But, no.

Instead we covered the spot that was missing shingles with some plastic, and I had grand ideas of finishing up a long day of work today, heading to the Lowe’s near my grandma to pick up more shingles, and patching the thing so that I could tell you guys that as of the writing of this post the duck house was TOTALLY DONE.

Except it turns out the Lowe’s near my grandma does not carry cedar shingles like ALL OF THE LOWES IN MICHIGAN, so I couldn’t. And I was pretty damned salty about this for my entire hour drive home. I mean seriously stressed-out and pissed. And then I realized that, yeah, I couldn’t finish the duck house tonight like I wanted to. So instead I had an extra hour or two to drink a glass of wine and relax in my garden…


That’s right. The thing that pissed me off most today resulted in more time drinking wine in my garden. Hellllo, perspective.

So instead of being pissed, I just enjoyed it. I’ll find some time to patch up that roof later this week, and we can all be relieved that my grandma doesn’t have three full-sized ducks living in her house anymore.

And despite that “missing shingles” thing, the A-frame turned out pretty sweet, right?


All around, not a bad deal.

22 Responses

  1. I’m loving the new duck house! You have a great life! I now want ducks in addition to chickens and donkeys. I think the condo HOA might feel otherwise. I already have a couple cats.

  2. Yep…Did turn out really nice, as nice as any plans you see. You can alway stencil a pic of Donald or Daffy on the inside of the door or maybe one of the head duck determined by pecking order. They grow like weeds indeed, evan faster than cornish which surprised me. Big Kudos on A-Frame duck coup/house, any duck would indeed be smitten resideing in such a dwelling.

  3. Sweet!! It’s gorgeous!

    The shingled cleanout door…wonders is there a stop when the door is opened, and is it water tight at the top? Not that ducks will mind any extra water..haha.

    How long before they get to check out that big pond in the background!?

  4. Can she look out her house window and see in the back of the duck house?? Good planning, there!!!

  5. It’s 40 degrees this a m and ducks won’t come out of their house. And they won’t go in at night. But everyone loves them. They escaped yesterday and ended up in the neighbors garden. All this takes up a bit of time but it’s better than sitting in a bar.

    Yes, I can look into the house from inside the bedroom window. This is all quite an adventure and impossible without my grand daughter’s talent.

  6. What a gorgeous home you and your mom have created. I LOVE DUCKS! Unfortunately the ones I had years ago were taken out by a sneaky skunk. I think we cried for two days 🙁

  7. it’s AWESOME!!! love the pics of 3 generations of Kit’s carrying ducks out of the house LOL!!! pick them up like footballs… perfect. and the ducks look happy, too! nice to see them settling into their adorable A-frame/coolest duck house ever!

  8. I love the duck house. It’s beautiful.

    So I learned about duck growth the hard way also. I planned to make a living space for ducks before they got “grown.” Unfortunately I based my planning on the rate at which chickens grow, which obviously was all wrong. Ducks grow about three times as fast as chickens. I have some 3 week old ducks that are already bigger than their 6-7 week old chick sisters. And they are mallards which are considered bantams in the duck world.

    Looks like you have Pekins there. They are massive. My two Pekins towered over all my adult ducks at about 1 1/2 months old. I think the Baby Huey cartoon character was based on Pekin ducklets. 🙂

    Super job on the duck house.

  9. Oooooh, I think I feel my coop rebuild project sneaking up to the to-do list. I thought I was going to get laying hens first, but now I really need my ducks. Of course you carry them like footballs! That gives you more time for duck snuggles. I think we need another T-shirt with something about hug a duck on it.

  10. Super Sweet!!!!! Just like your grandmother seems to be. How fun she is for raising those beautiful babies in her house and chasing them around the neighbors – garden when necessary – An extra hour and wine is well worth the frustration of not finding the shingles. Sometimes you just have to let the shingles fall where they may….

    Great job.

  11. Your grandma’s comment “it’s better than sitting in a bar” made me laugh out loud.

  12. Ducks are absolutely amazing and have a wonderful temperament. They quiver with joy when it comes to nuzzling their bills into mud, eating lettuce, and playing in water. Ducks have an intense love and -need- for water, a kiddy pool would be really good for them to have (get your g’ma a small kiddy pool for them! :D).

    Duck eggs are exquisitely tasty, so much more delicious than chicken eggs. Once you’ve eaten duck eggs, you’ll never wanna go back to eating chicken eggs.

    Ducks are heartier than chickens, able to withstand colder and damper climates. They’re rather smart and are more responsive to various commands than most chickens.

    Also, for their ensured longevity, please consider installing a chain-link dog-run type of 6 foot fencing to fence in their corner area, and cover the entire top with chicken wire so nothing can get -in-!

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  14. You really know how to build both a duck coop and a blog. Good job and thank you very much. You are awesome & amazing!

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