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October 12, 2018

How much space should I have for my ducks?

Bigger is always better when it comes to duck enclosures. This holds true at all stages of a duck’s life from hatching to the end of its days. The following suggestions are for enclosed areas with a roof. If you plan on keeping your adult ducks in an open pen with no shelter, you need much more space than a covered pen or building.

Ducklings up to 3 weeks old need 1 square foot per duckling and a minimum of 5 square feet for small groups. This means if you have 4 ducklings, you need at least 5 square feet. If you have 10 ducklings, you need at least 10 square feed of space or more. If you have 100 ducklings, you need at least 100 square feet of space or more.

From age 4-8 weeks, the young ducks need about 3 square feet per bird and a minimum of 16 square feet of space. If you have 5 ducks, that means they need a minimum of 16 square feet. If you have 10 ducks, they need 30 square feet. With 100 ducks, they need 300 square feet.

From age 9-17 weeks, the ducks are now fully grown and will require a minimum of 3.5 square feet per bird and 20 square feet minimum. If you have 5 birds, you need a minimum of 20 square feet. For 10 birds, 35 square feet. With 100 ducks, 350 square feet of space.

Lastly, from age 18 weeks and up is when the ducks become sexually mature and start wanting to mate and lay eggs. This requires at least 4 square feet per duck and a minimum of 24 square feet. If you have 5 birds, they need a minimum of 24 square feet. For 10 birds, 40 square feet. For 100, then 400 square feet.

Keep in mind these are the numbers we highly suggest for enclosed areas with a roof. They can have outside areas during the day, but this is the amount of sheltered space they need, whether they spend their entire day in it or just their nights. Cramped areas can lead to not just health issues including leg and weight problems, but also a higher likelihood of fighting, wetter pens, more smell, dirtier birds, and pens requiring more bedding. We have found that by doubling the square footage per bird, your bedding needs will probably drop by 50%.

Please use the table below as a guide to determine how much space you need and how many ducks you can keep.

As geese are twice the size of ducks, at least double these recommended actions for geese. In other words, 2 week old goslings need at least 2 sq ft each. Guineas and chickens require 75% of the space for a duck.


Square Footage for Duck Pen


up to 3 weeks 4-8 weeks 9-17 weeks 18+ weeks
Enclosure with a roof* 1 sq ft per bird (min 5 sq ft) 3 sq ft per bird (min 16 sq ft) 3.5 sq ft per bird (min 20 sq ft) 4 sq ft per bird (min 24 sq ft)
Pasture with no shelter Should still be in brooder Should still be in brooder** 40 sq ft per bird 50 sq ft per bird

* Do not consider outside run when calculating enclosure size.
** Ducklings can go outside around 6-8 weeks depending on the weather and how well they are feathering.


  1. If only layers are planned for egg purposes and no mating is needed per you, then what should be the recommended area they need. I am talking about say 4 to 5,000 layers. And any suggestions for maximum limit per pen for number of birds?

    1. Hello Rehan. What kind of ducks are we looking at? Will they be kept exclusively on pasture or will they be kept in a building? Will they be going in and out of a building, kept on pasture during the day and put up at night?

    2. Hello John, I am looking for your golden layers mainly. No pastures but will be going out in the day time then put back in the pen at night. So please suggest area required for in and outside so that I may plan accordingly. Thank you

  2. How much space would you suggest in a tractor. So our saxonys are currently in one duck tractor with 2 sq ft of space each (the other tractors are still under construction), but its moved twice daily, possibly giving them 4 sqt feet of fresh pasture daily, do you think that is enough? Is my thought process correct or should we revamp out plan. We will have 2 additional tractors soon and if we split the flock up they would have 6 sq ft of space in the tractor and 12 sq feet daily of fresh grass daily. Thoughts?