How much space does a duck need to be comfortable and happy?
Here are three nifty calculators—for coop size, run size, and duckling brooder size—as well as a complete guide to deciding how much space your ducks need.
Coop Size Calculator
*If you anticipate needing to keep your ducks cooped during the day intermittently — for example, during extreme weather, or if your ducks can only be outside when you are home and supervising them — then select "No" to ensure your ducks will be comfortable even when confined indoors.
These numbers are minimums. Bigger is always better when it comes to the size of a duck's enclosure. Scroll on down to learn more about how much coop space ducks need and why.
Duck Run Size Calculator
* Enough room that grass cover may not be destroyed.
How much coop space do ducks need?
In a nighttime-only coop, each duck needs a minimum of 4 square feet per duck.
Large breed ducks should have a minimum of 5 square feet per duck.
Bantam ducks can get by with 3 square feet.
Give your ducks more space if you can. With these numbers, you’ll need to clean often. Your ducks will also be happier and less likely to squabble and fight during the night if they have more space. If you’d like your ducks to have a really nice and roomy coop, try 6-10 square feet per duck.
If your ducks may need to be cooped during the day (or part of the day) from time to time, the coop will need to be larger so they will still be comfortable during daytime confinement. I recommend 9 square feet for bantam ducks, 12 square feet for most ducks, and 15 square feet for large ducks.
Ducks need more coop space than chickens because they are somewhat active during the night. They will move around, squabble, eat and drink (if given food and water), and make noise during the night. They also do not roost.
Tip: Plan ahead
You may have heard of “chicken math.” Duck math is equally unavoidable. If you start with three ducks, you might have seven before long. If you think you may want to add ducks in the future, build your coop and run large enough to accommodate more ducks than what you’re starting with.
How much run space do ducks need?
Each duck needs an absolute MINIMUM of 10 square feet of run space.
I don’t really think this is enough space, even for small ducks and even if you move their run every day. They will be bored and cramped, and if you only have a few ducks, even a small kiddie pool will take up a lot of their allotted space.
I recommend at least 20-25 square feet per duck.
They will still tear up the ground cover. You will either need to put bedding down or regularly move the run.
If you’d like your ducks to have grass and don’t want to deal with constant run maintenance and cleaning, give them at least 100 square feet per duck. Even that may not be enough, but it depends.
There is no such thing as a too-large run for ducks. They will use several acres of space if given the opportunity. There’s nothing ducks like better than foraging (and swimming), so try to give your ducks as much space as you can afford.
How much brooder space do ducklings need?
Ducklings grow extremely fast and generally need more space than baby chicks do.
I recommend providing 3 square feet per duckling. That may seem like a lot when they’re just a day old, but ducklings grow incredibly fast. You don’t want to have to build them a new brooder every week.
For the first week or two, 0.5 square feet per duckling will suffice, but don’t use a brooder that only provides this much space unless you’re sure you’ll have a larger one ready in time.
Any recommendations you may see or hear for “6 square inches per chick” right after hatch are nonsense and purely an error, probably caused by people thinking half a square foot equals six square inches. Half a square foot is 72 square inches.
For the first four weeks, one square foot per duckling will suffice.
After four weeks, each duckling should have about 2 square feet of space.
At eight weeks, each duckling needs at least three square feet of space.
Here’s a chart:
|Duckling age||Space per duckling|
|0-1 weeks||0.5 square feet|
|1-4 weeks||1 square foot|
|4-8 weeks||2 square feet|
|8+ weeks||3 square feet|
These numbers are more or less minimums. As with coops and runs, you can’t really make a brooder too big. If you estimate your ducklings will be in the brooder for six weeks, give them two square feet of space per duckling from the get-go, and you won’t have to increase the size of their brooder.
Another good rule of thumb for a comfortable brooder is to increase the size by half a square foot per duckling every week.
|Duckling age||Space per duckling|
|Less than 2 weeks||0.5 square feet|
|2 weeks||1 square foot|
|3 weeks||1.5 square feet|
|4 weeks||2 square feet|
|5 weeks||2.5 square feet|
|6 weeks||3 square feet|
|7 weeks||3.5 square feet|
|8 weeks||4 square feet|