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I used to waterfowl hunt a bunch with my chocolate lab Nikee, after she passed I just fadded out of hunting ducks and geese. I've always loved jumping woodies on the ponds around the property. I didn't know some of the issues of either having a predotor guard if on land or a stand alone snag upright thru the water. In looking back there was a wood duck house in almost every photograph taken at the time. I was just fun to put them up - never had much success as they didn't maintained every year as needed. May not have pointed South and other First Timer mistakes we made.

So here are some old pond photos with the duck houses ... the actual wood duck house info follows.

Grandpa getting one for my son.
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


My kids a lifetime ago.
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

The magic of bringing the woodies in and having a bunch of them around just enhances these kinds of scenes.

A couple years ago I bought two "plastic - high end- plastic ones and two wooden ones to see what the local woodies prefer. No question, the wooden ones. SO I revere engineered the house and figured out the dimensions - made a bunch and installed them The results are great - the only issue is the time when the ponds are covered up is when I'm bowhunting and they are mostly in my sanctuaries.

I put mine together with a rough cut cypress board 10'x1"x12" - That makes one Wood Duck house, with cypress inner steps for the chicks and a couple inches of planned cypress shavings foor the nest.

Here are the dimensions:
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]



I've made them from finished and rough cut cypress the only difference is in the thickness and width. The 'plan' above is for finished cyress lumber, rough cut is 1"thick x 12"wide everything else is the same. DO NOT use pressure treated wood or plywood the chemicals used will harm the embryos. So I cut a bunch and hauled them to the farm, they fit alot better in pieces then assembled.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Assembled
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


I have them mounted to submerged snags and to 4x4's for any land based nest you need to add a predator guard. I looked hard for a bit and this guy makes a fantastic product that can't be beat $ wise. I'm not getting anything back - his product works, lasts and is inexpensive.
$14 plus 6% Sales Tax: $14.84 each - He'll give a Military discount if you ask.

https://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/MWDI/predator_guards.aspx

Mike Schroen
Sales Manager
Cell: 410-404-4662
Office: 410-633-0685 ext 22 office
Email: Mschroen@wemakeduct.com

Flat predator guard shipped:
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


I'm not a fan of shiny out in the woods so I bought a tan and black spray paint - once installed it's easy to blend it in.

Here are couple of mine that got put on my ponds this year. Close up of the predator guard installed on a 4x4
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


8 Ponds in Mid-East Ohio, three streams that merge to 1.

Fishbowl Pond - 1.5 acre, family swimming hole, 22'
Figure 8 Pond - 1.25 acre, 12'
Crescent Pond - 2 acre 11'
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The best part - lots of birds and especially wood ducks. Feels kinds good when you roll up for yearly maintenance and find the signs of a successful hatch.


So this is good pic of the "hinge" which is only the two top screws put in about level. The bottom ones I unscrew to allow it to swing up so I clean the box out and add new shavings.
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


I hope this help some folks, it's a good winter project as they should go up in March. Best of luck.

[video:youtube]
[/video]

[video:youtube]
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[video:youtube]
[/video]


8 Ponds in Mid-East Ohio, three streams that merge to 1.

Fishbowl Pond - 1.5 acre, family swimming hole, 22'
Figure 8 Pond - 1.25 acre, 12'
Crescent Pond - 2 acre 11'
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Thanks!!! Great timing!


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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Really happy with this success. 12 wood duck houses season 2, first breeding season I had 12 boxes was last year 2020. My buddy Hawkins and I got in the old john boat with a skim of ice on the water and went and retrieved the box that fell into the pond, saw, screwgun, bits etc so ... a little tightened up doing it but we reattached the rough ceder box I made, that had been 1/2 submerged since Oct '21. Ceder held up like a champ, reattached to a bald cypress without tipping.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


and just witnessed the hen going in to establish a nest. That's her stick in the box looking out.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

No Foolin' - 32 wood ducks parade into the food plot from the pond, I had no idea it would be so attractive and beneficial to have it 'connected' to the pond but the results are in the video. Not sure if the April below freezing wx has anything to do with pushing them to flock like this. How many did you count?

[video:youtube]
[/video]

Last edited by Stressless; 01/22/22 08:29 AM.

8 Ponds in Mid-East Ohio, three streams that merge to 1.

Fishbowl Pond - 1.5 acre, family swimming hole, 22'
Figure 8 Pond - 1.25 acre, 12'
Crescent Pond - 2 acre 11'
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[video:youtube]
[/video]

[video:youtube]
[/video]

[video:youtube]
[/video]



Bonus bird...
[video:youtube]
[/video]

Last edited by Stressless; 04/25/22 07:13 PM.

8 Ponds in Mid-East Ohio, three streams that merge to 1.

Fishbowl Pond - 1.5 acre, family swimming hole, 22'
Figure 8 Pond - 1.25 acre, 12'
Crescent Pond - 2 acre 11'
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Thanks for posting that Stressless! (I was remembering this thread but hadn't searched for it yet to refresh my foggy memory.)

It looks like a little work when the wood ducks are poised on the box with their head partially in the hole and their feet on the vertical face.

Have you added a little step for them since you have been able to observe how they actually utilize your boxes? Would it help those tired, overworked parents?

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With the latest freeze I got 14 of 16 wood duck boxes cleaned out and new cedar bedding installed. Had 13 of 14 boxes with duck nests in them.

I don't add the step as that's what a preditor would need to enter the box. Momma's just gotta work those bog'ol'gurl hips in.. cool


The storm with -7 and 20+mph winds made quick work of freezing the ponds over with a BIG safety margin.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Last edited by Stressless; 12/31/22 01:50 PM.

8 Ponds in Mid-East Ohio, three streams that merge to 1.

Fishbowl Pond - 1.5 acre, family swimming hole, 22'
Figure 8 Pond - 1.25 acre, 12'
Crescent Pond - 2 acre 11'
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Awesome Stressless, love the success you are having, I have 4 boxes out for two yrs already, 2 expensive plastic ones and two made out of 8 or 10" pvc pipe, they look good and I have wood ducks on the pond every yr, and young, but have not had them use my boxes yet, that I'm aware of, I have several acres of flooded timber in the back end of the pond and they love it, always ducks around but I am not giving up, I should have a perfect scenario for them, I am going to add a few wooden boxes this winter, and see if that does any better,
The ice was thick enough last week to go out on and work but had some other stuff I got done on the ice. I have a ton of dead trees in the water, was going to just saw the top off of one about the correct height and set the box right on top of the stump, the rest of them I have mounted on 2" steel pipe with a base plate that is lag bolted down to a stump.
One Question I had was, out on the water, mounted to a stump or tree, what are the odds of a snake making its way up to the nest box and getting to the eggs? I have in the past had some giant water snakes on this pond, seems like fewer now then in the past, don't know if the LMB are taking care of some of the smaller ones or not, before they get big, Ive eliminated a few of them myself, wife freaks out about them being close to our campsite.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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From what I've experienced mounting them to the side of the tree, I've not come across a dead hen or dead chicks, i.e., no signs of drama or trama. Coons don't seem to want to swim out and climb, nor snakes for whatever reason. On land I would not put one up without a predator guard.

Plastic or wood mounted seems to not make any difference. On my cypress boxes I take a large headed screw and just drill thru the back of the box into the tree.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Last edited by Stressless; 12/31/22 03:40 PM.

8 Ponds in Mid-East Ohio, three streams that merge to 1.

Fishbowl Pond - 1.5 acre, family swimming hole, 22'
Figure 8 Pond - 1.25 acre, 12'
Crescent Pond - 2 acre 11'
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Hello.

Thank you for the work, for these videos and pictures,
A+

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Did they bring the sticks and put them in the box or was it another bird? I see a few had unhatched eggs, but other than that it looks like they are a great success. I saw that you had two boxes in one picture. How far are they apart, and are both being used? .


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Stressless,

Interesting that you don’t see coons swimming out to these, my experience has been the opposite. On my pond I have a couple blinds I use for duck hunting out in open water. I don’t kill a coon every time I go out to use one for waterfowl hunting but I bet at least 80% of the time there is at least one coon in them(I’ve killed up to 4 at a time out of one blind). Minimum swimming distance is something like 450’. I’ve also watched coons attempting to climb the metal poles I mount my wood duck houses on in the water. Same thing here, the closest one to shore is about 450’. Thanks.

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Very cool thread, stressless!

In my experience, woodies don't haul anything into the nest box. Sticks are typically carried in by starlings. I discourage them with my pellet rifle.


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Ok next question for wood duck masters. I have a couple Baldies hanging out at the pond currently, and they have been around off and on for several yrs, but at this time of year I was wondering if they are thinking about nesting locally, what would that do to wood ducks? assuming they might target them, I have had several woodies hanging out for the last several years, although they have never utilized my facilities, I have had young hatched out somewhere because they were here at only a couple days old.
I was worried that the Eagles and them might not co-habitate willingly or even get along, Ive heard eagles will prey on them.


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Originally Posted by gehajake
Ok next question for wood duck masters. I have a couple Baldies hanging out at the pond currently, and they have been around off and on for several yrs, but at this time of year I was wondering if they are thinking about nesting locally, what would that do to wood ducks? assuming they might target them, I have had several woodies hanging out for the last several years, although they have never utilized my facilities, I have had young hatched out somewhere because they were here at only a couple days old.
I was worried that the Eagles and them might not co-habitate willingly or even get along, Ive heard eagles will prey on them.

Never had a problem with Eagles going after ducks by me, they go after my nesting bass instead.
Did have 3 pair of wood ducks devoured last year by Racoons though.
That funnel on the post below the house should keep them totally safe.

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Esshup

Wood ducks don't bring nesting materials to their nests, I've seen the other birds - starlings for sure but other native songbirds use them when the woodies either aren't using them or the chicks have fledged.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

On locating duck houses from what I seen and read you should have them 'apart' what most say is that you shouldn't be able to see the opening of the house from any other house.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

On racoons --- LoL mine walk on the water...
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Last edited by Stressless; 01/04/23 12:20 PM.

8 Ponds in Mid-East Ohio, three streams that merge to 1.

Fishbowl Pond - 1.5 acre, family swimming hole, 22'
Figure 8 Pond - 1.25 acre, 12'
Crescent Pond - 2 acre 11'
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So I havent been having any luck with woodies using my plastic duck boxes, either home made or commercial built, was going to build a couple of wooden boxes with the instructions Stressless or Dr Luke posted above on this page, and still planning on it but had a brainstorm about going a little more natural looking with a couple, see what happens. I am posting a couple links to pictures of some I made from a hollow log, I thought they might work. I am planning on mounting them on a stump that I will saw off somewhere in my flooded timber, preferrably about 5 ft above the waterline. and then screw a sheetmetal skirt to the bottom of them hanging down to pretty much prevent any type of predator to be able to get past and get at the nest.

Would really like comments of pros and cons from some of the resident successful duckee pond meisters on this page, on what they would do different from what I have in mind, Please, and Thank You in advance!!
https://imgur.com/mzr8Bnx
https://i.imgur.com/rdhciQD.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/gmVYpKj.jpg

Last edited by gehajake; 01/21/23 02:37 PM.

All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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Wood ducks love cavities in still standing timber. I assume your first occupants will therefore be posting pictures of their luxurious house in the wood duck version of Architectural Digest!

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I am sure our Wood Duck experts knew this, but I sure didn't.

"The males do not have the decorative markings all year-round. They use the colorful markings to attract females during the breeding season, which runs from autumn until the early summer. In the late summer, they grow gray feathers with blue markings on the wings and white markings on the face and neck. You can still recognize the bird as a wood duck by its red eyes and bill."

I did have two pairs of ducks on our creek for much of the summer. I thought the males looked like teal, since I was careful to only peek at the ducks.

I now believe they were wood ducks. I wish our creek hadn't dried up during the drought this fall because it would have been nice to see two more groups of ducklings grow up on our land.

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
I am sure our Wood Duck experts knew this, but I sure didn't.

"The males do not have the decorative markings all year-round. They use the colorful markings to attract females during the breeding season, which runs from autumn until the early summer. In the late summer, they grow gray feathers with blue markings on the wings and white markings on the face and neck. You can still recognize the bird as a wood duck by its red eyes and bill."

I did have two pairs of ducks on our creek for much of the summer. I thought the males looked like teal, since I was careful to only peek at the ducks.

I now believe they were wood ducks. I wish our creek hadn't dried up during the drought this fall because it would have been nice to see two more groups of ducklings grow up on our land.

I have had them hatch on my lake but just not in my manufactured housing. I had hoped to be more in control in the section 8 housing that I had provided for them, I guess they don't appreciate the efforts I had put forth, so I will put forth more effort,, sooner or later I will win their vote.
Like they say in sports,,,, there's always next yr.


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I finally opened and read this thread - all along I'd been wondering if "stressless" referred to the building of the wood duck houses or their habitation by the ducks confused.

The anti-raccoon cone would definitely remove stress from the ducks.

We have an abundance of dead ash trees (Thanks, Emerald Ash Borer!) that wood ducks nest in every year. But those are some now houses for waterfowlers to use.


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Has anyone in the central US area had any duck activity yet?
I got my houses out a couple weeks ago, added a skirt to discourage predators, see what you guys think.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
I did see a few ducks on the pond yesterday, wasnt able to tell what species they were tho, I know the geese are sorting out there nesting areas and pairing up for breeding season.

Last edited by gehajake; 03/03/23 08:42 AM.

All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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Beautiful pond Gehajake!

I think the strange weather has shifted the normal pattern in the Mississippi Flyway a little bit for this season.

There is actually a Missouri duck tracker site. (Which shows numbers way down this year.)

Duck Tracker

I believe that site has a subscription service, so I don't know if you can only see it one time, or only get limited data, etc.?

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Beautiful pond Gehajake!

I think the strange weather has shifted the normal pattern in the Mississippi Flyway a little bit for this season.

There is actually a Missouri duck tracker site. (Which shows numbers way down this year.)

Duck Tracker

I believe that site has a subscription service, so I don't know if you can only see it one time, or only get limited data, etc.?

Thanks, Ive got about five acres of flooded timber in the back end in a couple of coves. the ducks love it, just havent been able to get them to use my duck boxes that I have had in place, although I have had a hatch or two every yr from some place they nested. I was wanting more.


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As an update on my ducking experience, I have a total of six duck houses out, two duckhuts, 2 made from 8" pvc pipe and 2 made from hollow logs, and I have ducks nesting in 3 of them, have seen the hen going into them and the drake floating around outside. one of each kind of house I have is being used, starlings in two more and tree swallows in a third.
So I still dont know which type of house they prefer but I dont care, just tickled that they are being used.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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