Frequently Asked Questions
I've seen Hen Houses with and without landing platforms - do you need them?
The original design used 'landing platforms' an 8 to 10 inch extension of the bottom of the Hen House on either end of the roll. Because of the additional time and costs associated with platforms we decided to try a sample without them in a test comparing 25 Hen Houses with and 25 without landing platforms back in 1996. The use and success rates were no different between those with and those without landing platforms so we have dropped this as unnecessary. Your instructions mention using flax straw in the rolled section of the Hen House.
We do not have flax straw in our area so I was wondering whether you had some alternatives?
Yes flax straw is available mostly in the northern prairies. For the materials in the rolled part of the Hen Houses you can use such materials as rice straw, bermuda hay, timothy grass, etc. Inside the roll where the ducks lay their eggs you will want to use grassy/leafy materials that ducks would normally nest in. We've tried using wheat or barley straw and had almost no use at all so we strongly recommend not using such cereal straw.
Are there any other ducks, other than mallards, that use Hen Houses?
Yes, we've seen diving ducks use them in Manitoba (scaup, canvasback, redheads), wood ducks (Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ontario), and gadwall and teal in the west (Utah). If the inside diameter of the roll is larger than 12 inches we've even had Canada geese using them.
I've seen a plastic roll and thought that would be a lower maintenance design - are these as good as the original Hen House using natural materials?
Delta has studied a variety of different designs including plastic, wicker weave, astroturf and others. We've found that while these other types are used, they are not used at the same rate as the original, more natural design. Also there is some concern with over-heating associated with any darker or non-porous material.
How much does one Hen House cost?
You can easily build a Hen House for under $50 and those with connections and a knack for scrounging around a bit can do it for less than half that. The pole mounted Hen House is slightly more expensive than the tripod design.