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#2225487 - 03/22/10 07:56 AM
Wood duck house placement
BLACKJACK Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 01/02/01
Posts: 5279
Loc: Willmar, MN

Now is the time when people are starting to put out wood duck houses. Its important that you do it right so you're not creating a hen wood duck killer instead of a nesting site. That means putting them on seperate poles with coon guards. Search for 'Wood Duck Society' and they have a best practices page that show you how to mount houses on poles. Or type in 'wood duck society' - all one word - dot com.

Besides better protection for the nest and hen, two more advantages of pole mounted wood duck houses are 1) no lugging a ladder along in future years when checking the nests and renewing bedding 2) You can check the progress of the nest easily thru out the nest season, a great learning tool for kids!!

I can speak for experience on the bad results of tree mounted houses. Ten years ago I put up 5 houses in oak trees, within 3 years all the houses had chew marks around the holes, one had been opened up with eggs on the ground. The final straw was when I found a coon that had chewed his way in and was sleeping in the house!!! After I woke him up with my .22, I took all those house down and put them on poles.

Do it right the first time!!
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#2225532 - 03/22/10 08:31 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: BLACKJACK]
B. Amish Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 03/10/04
Posts: 2103
Loc: Bowstand
+1

and don't put more than one house per pole. spread them out. you also don't need to put them over water.

also, make sure there are no obstructions/branches blocking the entrance hole.
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#2225547 - 03/22/10 08:42 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: B. Amish]
Jameson Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 2719
Loc: Earth
Ok, I've got poles, got wood duck houses, where can I get coon guards?
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#2225581 - 03/22/10 09:05 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: Jameson]
B. Amish Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 03/10/04
Posts: 2103
Loc: Bowstand
from the wood duck society website:

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#2225615 - 03/22/10 09:50 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: B. Amish]
icehousebob Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 1714
Loc: Minnetonka,Minn. USA
I put my houses on six inch diameter round poles. For a coon guard, I bought four foot lengths of stove pipe. These went around the poles with the bottoms of the stove pipe about three feet from the ground. I painted them so they blend into the background and are not shiny. Haven't found a critter yet that has gotten by them. Also, make sure the posts are away from overhanging tree branches. My first one had a branch over it and squirrels could jump onto the top of the house. I moved it to a clear area and no more problem.
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#2225707 - 03/22/10 11:23 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: icehousebob]
duckhuntr21 Offline
HSOList.com Family

Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 211
Loc: Out and about
Our sportsmans club uses old sign posts to install them and for a predator guard, we cut 18" lengths of 4"pvc pipe and wire them to the post. We also use these for our mallard hen houses and it seems to work very well.
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#2225906 - 03/22/10 02:36 PM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: duckhuntr21]
Jackpine Rob Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 1679
Loc: stump creek, MN USA
I have used treated fence posts (the round ones and put pvc pipe over the posts). Nothing other than birds can access these houses!

The last couple of years the ducks have shown a preference for my bucket house over the cedar one. The bucket house was cheap and easy - a 5 gallon bucket with an entrance hole, some hardware cloth inside from the bottom of the bucket up to the entrance hole, and some drainage holes in the bottom, and a couple of ventilation holes up under the rim. Toss in a few scoops of wood chips and you are good to go. I painted mine with some camo Krylon just because I could.

Last year I was out on the back porch grilling up supper when Momma Woodie squeaked and the little fuzzballs started tumbling out of the house down to the water. Pretty darn cool.

What is kind of neat is that for the last 7-8 years or so, we have a flycatcher that takes over the bucket house after the woodies have done their thing. She raises her brood, and vamooses sometime in Mid-August or so. We're getting a two-fer on that house!

Still clinging bitterly to my guns and religion.
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#2226546 - 03/23/10 07:23 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: Jackpine Rob]
BLACKJACK Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 01/02/01
Posts: 5279
Loc: Willmar, MN
For posts I use the green treated landscape timbers, the ones that are flat on two sides, get the bigger ones. If you watch for sales at the end of summer you can get them for less than two bucks apiece. Ducks don't care if they're a little crooked! I put them two feet into the ground.

For predator guards I use 15 gallon barrels, dairy farmers, hospitals, etc. get soap in them. They're about 24 inches tall by 15 inches in diameter. I cut the bung end off, cut a hole in the other end that matches the post, put two lags screws into the post about 4 our foot up, one on each side of the post, and then strip the barrel over the post and it rests on the lags. Never had a coon get by it yet. By using only two lags it wobbles, plus its slippery enough so they can't get a grip. I don't think a five gallon bucket would be big enough, a big coon could maybe get around it....

Here in Willmar Chappel Central, a furnace installer, makes and sells the sheet metal predator guards. Talk to one of your local furnace guys if you want to go that route.

Saw my first wood ducks yesterday, won't be long and they'll be checking out the houses. Early morning is a good time to watch them going in and out.
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#2226866 - 03/23/10 11:49 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: BLACKJACK]
Tom7227 Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 4378
Loc: White Bear Lake
A friend and I have about 25 houses out and we've not have very good luck. Some are the standard 1X rough cut cedar, some are made out of scraps of 2X10, and some are made out of pvs sewer pipe. Last year I started to think that maybe the temps were too high as some had been painted dark brown. I think some had a temp in the 90's on a day when it was sunny and maybe 60-65 outside. We went through and painted all of them a light gray but I think it was too late in the season for any success. We've moved some to try and get them in shade during the mid-afternoon on. I'm hoping for better success this year. A number of them also ended up with hornet's nests inside and I suspect that didn't help either. The wood duck society annual meeting is April 3 at Wargo Nature Center and I plan on going to see what more I can learn to increase our success.

Everybody is entitled to their own set of opinions, but not everybody is entitled to their own set of facts.
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#2227018 - 03/23/10 01:51 PM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: Tom7227]
B. Amish Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 03/10/04
Posts: 2103
Loc: Bowstand
Yes, heat can absolutely be a factor. They usually suggest to leave the wood unpainted so it doesn't attract any more heat.

From the wood duck society website:

Quote:
Question:

From Rick Wigand

Is the 'Tubbs' plastic duck house still available and recommended?

Answer:

Hi Rick,

The Tom Tubbs box is no longer available or recommended. In a shaded spot in the northern part of the wood duck's range early in the season, they worked fine. Unfortunately, in direct sunlight -- even in Minnesota on a typically warm June day, they became way to hot for both the eggs and the hen. In the South, it was even worse.

About ten years ago, I did a controlled temperature study, using temperature probes in ten different types of boxes (several more the second year.) the Tom Tubbs and a sheet metal box tied for the worst resistance to heat. On a 90 degree F. early June day in Minnesota, both of these boxes registered 118 degrees, both at egg level and hen level.

Eggs die at about 106 Degrees and the hen will abandon before that level is reached. Painting the tom Tubbs ‘white’ helped somewhat, but not enough. No insulation is built into this design.

The best box for resisting excessive heat during incubation turned out to be a natural wood box, which never got hotter inside than 99 degrees while in direct sun. PVC, Argon canisters, insulated plastic (DU type), and even plywood boxes were inferior to natural wood boxes in this respect. Painting each of these man-made materials white (or leaving PVC boxes white) helped these boxes to resist heat build-up, as did drilling ventilation holes.

Roger Strand

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#2227094 - 03/23/10 02:50 PM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: B. Amish]
Jackpine Rob Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 1679
Loc: stump creek, MN USA
Good info. In the early years of experimenting with my "bucket houses", a few broods were lost to the "cooked egg" syndrome. Took me a while to figure it out, but then I read an article about the DU plastic houses, and the light finally went on in my dim noggin.

Ventilation holes up under the rim are an absolute must. I just drill a half dozen holes with the same drill bit that I use for the drainage in the bottom, and the heat seems to disperse. That appears to have helped greatly, and I haven't had a brood lost from the buckets since.

A couple of the buckets I have up at the cabin have never had a wood duck in them, but regularly attract hooded mergansers or goldeneyes.

Still clinging bitterly to my guns and religion.
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#2227403 - 03/23/10 07:05 PM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: Jackpine Rob]
MinnetonkaMan Offline
Sr IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 01/06/06
Posts: 254
We just put out another 10 or so wood duck houses on our property. Last year we had twelve houses in one pond and all eggs hatched in every one. We used barn wood for the outsides and put a nice shingle layer on top to keep the rain from damaging the boxes. Also all of our boxes are in the water now because all that boxes do out of the water are attract coons like someone mentioned above. I can actually say that we probably had at least 100 baby woodducks hatch out of those 10 boxes which paired with 200 elder woodducks meant a good woodie season for us! Also we didnt put the cones on the bottoms and didnt see any problem with scratch marks or teeth marks from any critter Are way of setting them up is when their is ice go out auger some holes and put in pipe and put up some wood duck boxes and in the spring go back out clean them out and get ready for the next year. If you setup they will come!!!!!!
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#2229857 - 03/25/10 07:39 PM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: MinnetonkaMan]
DuckBlind Offline
Sr IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 257
Loc: MN
First time builder...looking for some help.

What type of wood should I use so it doesnt rot out and lasts more than one year?
If I put them in water (what I am planning on doing) do I need to put a guard on the post to keep out critters?
What do you put inside??? And how much? Can they just crawl out...? Again first time builder?
Anybody got any pics of building a wood duck box?

Planning on putting up a few at a buddys place! Any help would be appreciated...

Last question, is it ok to but them up right against the cattails...kind of hidden and not in the middle of the pond?

Steve Hanson: Dave's a killer!
Johnny Upton: Dave's a mess.
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#2230121 - 03/26/10 05:51 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: DuckBlind]
BLACKJACK Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 01/02/01
Posts: 5279
Loc: Willmar, MN
Goto wooodducksociety dot com, they have plans for wood duck houses. While you're there, look at their method of mounting the houses on a pole with predator guards. Whats nice about the pole mount on land is thats its easy to check in future years. And you do need to check them every spring, the bedding needs to be replaced. Use cedar pet bedding, I like the cedar better than pine, it seems to dry out better if it gets wet.

Use cedar lumber to build the house, its not cheap, but it doesn't rot. I have some houses over 15 years old and still going strong.

If you insist on putting the houses over water, you should put a predator guard on it, coons will go right up a pipe. Also, placement is tricky. I've done the mallard nesting tubes and if you put them to far out into the open water, the ice will take take them out. Too close to the cattails and they're easier for coons to get to. Consider the pole mount on land but keep it away from trees.

Good luck!
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#2230187 - 03/26/10 07:28 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: DuckBlind]
B. Amish Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 03/10/04
Posts: 2103
Loc: Bowstand
Originally Posted By: DuckBlind
First time builder...looking for some help.

What type of wood should I use so it doesnt rot out and lasts more than one year?
If I put them in water (what I am planning on doing) do I need to put a guard on the post to keep out critters?
What do you put inside??? And how much? Can they just crawl out...? Again first time builder?
Anybody got any pics of building a wood duck box?

Planning on putting up a few at a buddys place! Any help would be appreciated...

Last question, is it ok to but them up right against the cattails...kind of hidden and not in the middle of the pond?


if you use rough cut lumber, which most people do, then you don't need to install screen on the inside to aid the ducklings in crawling out. but, a lot of people add screen anyways.

the minnesota waterfowl association sells pre-cut kits for wood duck boxes. it's cedar wood and they come with everything you need. you just need to assemble them. google them and you'll find their website.

i put all of mine on dry land for several reasons.

#1 much easier to check and maintain.
#2 don't have to worry about mucky marsh bottoms and your house and pole ending up at a 45 degree angle in a year or two.
#3 ice can and will shift or even rip out the pole.
#4 there is no advantage of putting them in water if you use a predator guard on dry land
#5 much easier to install on land, no chopping through ice, no waders, no canoes ect.

space the houses out, don't put them all in one clump. if you have multiple ponds, put one or two per pond. i started out with a few, and when those got used, i added more houses to the area. it's been documented that the females tend to go back to the area where they were hatched to nest.
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#2230247 - 03/26/10 08:30 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: B. Amish]
BLACKJACK Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 01/02/01
Posts: 5279
Loc: Willmar, MN
Originally Posted By: B. Amish

space the houses out, don't put them all in one clump. if you have multiple ponds, put one or two per pond. i started out with a few, and when those got used, i added more houses to the area.


Good advice!!! When I first started I built a wood duck 'condo' that had 8 houses on it but only one would get used. I also would put them out in pairs about 10 feet apart, then I'd put bluebird houses on the the other side of the pole, but again only one house of the pair of wood ducks houses would get used. Come to find out the wood ducks are territorial, they won't allow another hen to nest that close. Nowadays I will still put out two poles, but only one has a wood duck house, and I'll put out bluebird houses on both the poles - double use!!!
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#2230298 - 03/26/10 09:10 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: BLACKJACK]
B. Amish Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 03/10/04
Posts: 2103
Loc: Bowstand
yep, there's a local sportsmans club by me that built a bunch of houses last year. they proceeded to put some out on wma's in the area (great intention). well, i was out on one of the wma's not to long ago looking for sheds and low and behold i see a condo of wood duck houses placed there by the well intentioned local sportsmans club. a 400+ acre wma and they put up a 5 house condo. one of those houses may get used and the other 4 will sit empty. frown

spread them out and all 5 houses will get used!!!!!!
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#2231451 - 03/27/10 04:59 PM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: B. Amish]
icehousebob Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 1714
Loc: Minnetonka,Minn. USA
I have a few woodie houses and I want to add a few more. But I also want to add a couple of Mallard raised houses. Anyone have any good sites to give me a guide on how to do these? Just as an update, I've had Mallards around for over a week and this morning, there were four Woodies on the pond, looking over the houses. They sure are pretty this time of year.
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#2232540 - 03/29/10 07:28 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: icehousebob]
BLACKJACK Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 01/02/01
Posts: 5279
Loc: Willmar, MN
Originally Posted By: icehousebob
I have a few woodie houses and I want to add a few more. But I also want to add a couple of Mallard raised houses. Anyone have any good sites to give me a guide on how to do these? Just as an update, I've had Mallards around for over a week and this morning, there were four Woodies on the pond, looking over the houses. They sure are pretty this time of year.


icehousebob, goto deltawaterfowl dot org, they have plans for the mallard 'hen houses' and poles.

Also consider some of the plans for floating structures with tubes (I don't have a link for that). The floating ones are kind of high maintenance, I have problems with muskrats building on them, but mallards will use them. I watched a hen mallard go in an out of one this weekend, even before I put hay into it.

Watched a hen merganser sitting on a wood duck house, eye balling the entrance hole.
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#2232682 - 03/29/10 09:48 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: BLACKJACK]
BoxMN Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 4989
Loc: WBL, MN & Crosslake weekender
If I get a couple new houses out this coming weekend, it is still in time enough, or am I too late? This would be for central MN. Lakes are still iced up, but I bet by Saturday most or much of theice will be gone. Thanks.

-Box
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#2232780 - 03/29/10 11:32 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: BoxMN]
B. Amish Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 03/10/04
Posts: 2103
Loc: Bowstand
lots of time yet. major part of the nesting occurs in May and June.
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#2238934 - 04/06/10 09:55 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: B. Amish]
B. Amish Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 03/10/04
Posts: 2103
Loc: Bowstand
i have a starling visiting the duck house in my back yard. frown i'll have to start 'hunting' him with the pellet gun.
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#2240780 - 04/08/10 03:04 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: B. Amish]
icehousebob Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 1714
Loc: Minnetonka,Minn. USA
I've had a couple of pairs of Woodies in the pond by my two wood duck houses, cruising back and forth. The last couple of mornings, the drakes have been cruising alone for a while, like some guy holding his wife's purse while she's in the changing room. Could the hens be starting to lay eggs this soon? It seems pretty early.
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#2241025 - 04/08/10 09:08 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: icehousebob]
Tom7227 Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 4378
Loc: White Bear Lake
I was at the Wood Duck society's annual meeting last Saturday and a number of folks reported that eggs have been laid in their houses. It's time. Go to their website woodducksociety and it has a ton of information about how to get started, how to build and place the houses, and other useful info.
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#2241869 - 04/09/10 09:27 AM
Re: Wood duck house placement [Re: Tom7227]
BLACKJACK Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 01/02/01
Posts: 5279
Loc: Willmar, MN
Tom, how was the Wood duck society meeting?? Worth going? Is it open to anybody? I'm a member and get their newsletter, always interesting reading.
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