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Wood Duck houses


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What's the best time to put these up? Anytime? I was wondering if put up too early some other bird might utelize the next and too late...well obviously would be too late. I've never built one or placed any so any and all tips would be appreciated. I really want to do my part with the marsh I hunt. As far as I know there is only one duck house on the marsh and that's been dilapidated for some time now. Also wondering if the mallard nesting platforms would be a good idea as well.

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  • Official Fishing Report Team - MN

I would put them up right around now or any time soon. You want to get them up before the birds arrive. I prefer putting mine out when theres ice on the sloughs as I use my 4 wheeler to haul a ladder out. This makes it easier to get them up in the tree. I usally check mine periodically to make sure they are in good working order or replace damaged ones with new ones. Alot of your local sportsmans clubs make them and usally you can find some extra boxes if you call someone in charge.

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I'm not sure when to put them up but I know a way to make a cheap and easy woodie house. It sounds kind of weird but take two 5 gallon buckets and fasten them together end to end. Cut the hole in the apropriate spot and hang then like you normally would. I know this was done a few years back in WI (I think by a collage ecology class) and it worked great. They found that the green buckets were favored by the ducks with a nesting rate around 75% I believe. The white ones nesting rate was closer to 40%. I suppose the green ones look more like the hollow trees the wood ducks nest in naturaly.

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Quote:

take two 5 gallon buckets and fasten them together end to end. Cut the hole in the apropriate spot and hang then like you normally would.


Thats not a real good idea, IMO, I have heard that artificial materials dont breath as well as wood, and since its not ventilated it can "cook" the eggs and ruin the clutch, it works like a green house....so to speak.

Another tip is to face the house EAST in the early morning is TYPICALLY when Hens are looking for nesting holes, and a house facing EAST will create a BLACK hole where the entrance is making the woodduck house more appealing.........Hope that helps.....

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Another thing I've heard is to not put more than 2 per slough, if it isnt very big. More than 2 and nesting rates go down for some reason. I'd also not put them on trees then you dont have to worry about predators. Those mallard platforms are an awesome idea, I think Deltas platforms have an 80% success rate which is unreal. nice work putting anything up.

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I would strongly encourage you to put your houses up on seperate poles with coon guards, any wood duck houses that you just hang in trees will be subject to squirrel use and raccoons raiding the nests and killing the hen. An added benefit is that its easier to check the houses in future years (kids love to help!), when you want to renew the nesting material. The poles and guards seem like a hassle, but once they're up, you'll love the easy maintenace, and best of all, they're 100% predator proof. Build your houses now, gather your posts and coon guards, then when it thaws, you'll still have time to get your posts in and houses up.

As far as numbers on one pond, if you space them 200 feet apart, you'll be fine. Just don't put up a big pole and hang 8 on it. I DID that and I rarely get more than two wood ducks using the eight houses. Afer talking to the wood duck experts, I found out that its a territorial thing, they won't allow another wood duck nest close to their own house.

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Went and searched around, goto www dot woodducksociety (Contact US Regarding This Word), they have some excellent photos of coons climbing all over a wood duck house in a tree. If that doesn't convince you to mount them on a seperate pole, nothing will. If you're going thru the effort and expense to build wood duck houses, do it right and mount them on poles with coon guards. Follow the links from the link above and it will show you a drawing of how to mount the seperate pole.

Hint: if you want to avoid the cost of tin predator guards, find some 15 gallon jugs, dairy farmers and large institutions get soap and chemicals in them, rinse them out, cut the 'bung end' off, then make a hole on the other end slightly bigger than the pole on the other end of the jug. On your wooden post, put two lag screws into the post opposite each other where you want the coon guard and slide the guard over the top before you mount the house on. The jugs have worked for me, no coon has gotten by it. By using only two lags, it keeps the jug 'wobbly', no coon can get around it.

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woodduck, You make a good point. There probably would be a considerable amount of warming in one of those houses. I never tried it but the article was very convincing. I geuss that goes to show you that you can't belive everything you read. blush.gif

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This may sound obvious, but I'll bring it up anyway.

If you plan to put out houses over water, be sure that there are no bogs that move around on the body of water.

It doesnt take much of a bog chunk to wipe out your pole/house.

It doesnt do much good if the houses are knocked over.

I need to get to making some more myself. Time is ticking.

Getting them out when there is solid ice is MUCH easier as IceHawk pointed out.

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If you plan to put out houses over water, be sure that there are no bogs that move around on the body of water.

It doesnt take much of a bog chunk to wipe out your pole/house.

It doesnt do much good if the houses are knocked over.


You got that right! Darn floaters got a lot of my houses over the last couple years. mad.gif But I found them...just try to recover them from a boat while they are underwater and rammed into the muck! shocked.gif

I now place all duck houses over water, but inside the cattails if I can find a spot like that. Wrap the posts with aluminum flashing and no predators can get into the house.

So far, it's working well.

Oh, and BTW, I've been using the two 5-gallon bucket duck house idea for years. They do work very well and the success rate is very good. I would use gray colored buckets, or paint white buckets gray. For some reason those have better success in my trials.

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ChuckN, Do you drill any kind of ventalation holes in them?

And I finlly remembered where I heard about the "bucket" idea. It was from a waterfowl specialist with the DNR.

Thanks ran for reminding me.

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For my wood duck houses, I mount them on the 8 foot wooden, treated landscape timbers, put two feet in the ground, put the coon guard up about 4 foot, and use the last two feet to mount your wood duck house on. Put them at the edges of ponds AWAY FROM TREES so squirrels can jump in them from above.

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In the next couple of weeks is a good time to put them up and clean out the boxes that are already are up. If you do it too early squirrels will make their way into the box and fill it with sticks and nest in it.

If you are making them out of wood I suggest or prefer side opening boxes than top openers. It is easier to clean out each year.

One thing I see not mentioned is bedding. I use pine shavings that you can get at your co-op that they use for county fair bedding. I would not use saw dust as it absorbs too much water.

Another box that I use is made out of two freon canisters.

I only put my boxes so the bottom of the box is about 6 feet off the ground. No need to put them way up in the tree. Also they don't have to be over water as the ducklings will be led to it by the hen if it is close by. I also make sure the landing zone is clear of sticks under the box on the ground so they don't poke an eye or injure themselves.

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  • 3 weeks later...

wyldewal- No, I don't have any ventilation holes in the bucket houses. I felt moisture might get in and cause some issues with the nest.

However, the bottom half of the bucket is not a tight seal. There is space between the 2 layers to allow air to breath. You could cut slits down the bottom half to allow air movement and no rain to enter I guess. wink.gif

I took this pic of my bucket duck house. I have used them for years on different bodies of water. So far, these bucket houses have had the highest success rates for hatches. They are easy to make, easiest to clean and last forever.

I mount these houses over water at all times, onto a post, that is either wrapped in tin or a metal pole. Trees brought predators.

Duckhouse001.jpg

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And the answer to the "what to fill the bottom of the wood duck house with" question is: cedar shavings. From the Wood Duck Society website itself, buried deep in the wood duck house plans, it is listed as the final step. They like to see the houses made from cedar as well but I can't see any reason why the properly placed bucket model pictured above won't work. Wow! Can't believe I actually screwed up right for a change. All I had on hand last year was a part bag of dry, leftover cedar shavings I used in my haste to get the house out.

http://www.woodducksociety.com/WDHouse.pdf

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I recently learned of a new class of low people in this world. For the life of me I cannot understand why in the world someone would take a wood duck house, but someone did.

My cousin informed me that he was in the process of doing the annual cleaning and filling of the duck houses this past weekend and found some individual stole some duck houses off his private property! There were old snowmobile tracks that proceeded up to the houses and they took the duck houses off the posts and drove away. mad.gif 3 houses were taken that we know of. This is really remote territory too, and I wish we would have found the tracks earlier.

This happened north of Emily, MN and the duck houses were the same in the picture I posted above. There can't be too many of these around, so if anyone sees these we really would like them back (or put them to good use at least). Cripes!

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It used to be if it wasn't nailed down...now its even if its nailed down. That really ticks me off. It can be only two things that I can think of, either plain old vandalism or the morons thought that if they put it up in there swamp they'll get to shoot more woodies this year. Stupid I know, but then were dealing with idiots to begin with. I need to get out and put mine up while I can still walk on the marsh.

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chuck

what do you use on the inside so they can get out, a screen or piece of wood and then a screen. and it looks like you just wire the two halves together, is that right.

and amen about mounting them over water.

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Mounting them over water isn't that important, its more important to include a predator guard on the pole so that coons can't climb the post. Most of mine are on post with predator guards along the ponds edge, but I've started putting a few up in the woods, in openings where wood ducks are coming thru looking for cavaties and I've had a high occupancy rate. Think about it, these are 'wood' ducks that are used to searching thru forests for nest holes. They say that wood ducks will nest over a mile away from water.

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B Amish,

I use a small chunk of screen/chicken wire on the inside for the ducklings to crawl out. It's riveted to the bucket.

Yes, I used a coat hanger in that house and that's what connects to 2 pieces. Usually the original bucket handle works if you cut it and bend it, but it's rigid and not so user friendly.

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