One shiny suburban afternoon, a giant tractor trailer huffs and squeals down our cul-de-sac heading to those crazy people at the top of the street.  Oh right, that’s us!  The family who got five ducks mail-order because they wanted their fertilizer local, really local.  Well, it looks like their coop finally arrived.  That’s an awful big vehicle.  Boy, how big is that thang?

Big enough, I think. I hope. I pray.  Those ducks have got to get out of the garage now.  (Yesterday!)  I’m a writer not a farmer, Jim.  My back can’t take this shovel duty no more.  Pamela, Pamela, I shout to my daughter when I pick her up at school.  The coop is here, the coop is here!  “It’s a Yolk,” she corrects me.  The Egg Yolk, to be even more precise.  What the ducks is that?

Ta daaa!

First week of April, 2012.  Two weeks until D-Day.  Almost didn’t read the latest issue of Backyard Poultry because I didn’t see anything about ducks on the cover.  Pressed for time, even pre-duckling, I had a stack of unread magazines but for some reason flipped through this one anyway.  Hey, what’s that? A new coop design?  I ran to the computer and looked up the website.  Hmm, verrrrry interesting.  Made for chickens but just get a look at that run.  With optional add-on, you get ten feet total plus the coop.  Custom-fit canvas awning, marine-quality parts, easy to clean polymer, welded wire cage, made in the US of A?  Sold!

But wait.  Before I plunk down the digital plastic, shouldn’t I make sure about a few duck-related things?  Having done tons of research, I could tell at a glance that this coop/pen probably did line up best with my dream coop’s features.  Still, it was made for chickens.  And, at this point, I had no actual experience with ducks so it was one big fat guess.  Plus, with the upgrades and the shipping, we’re talking a lot of money, especially if the birds refused to use the coop.  The price, $1852.00, is probably mid-range in its category—reasonable but not exactly chicken feed. (!)

I called the super-helpful Yolk folks and we mulled over this whole duck vs. chicken usage quandary, discussed ideas for hardening the perimeter against raccoon incursions, how to handle egg-laying, feeding and watering differences, etc.  In the end, I rolled the dice.  I liked the overall design of the Yolk; after all, I’d have to look at this thing every time I glanced up from the kitchen sink.  But I also appreciated the heavy-duty, low-key wonkiness of a synthetic coop (bug resistant + hygienic = easier).  I took a deep breath and plugged in the Amex number.

I guess if the ducks won’t go up the ramp, we can always try chickens next year.


Pamela and the coop part of the Egg Yolk system.

Pamela demonstrates one of the built-in ventilation features of the coop.

Will they or won’t they go up that ramp? Only time (and bad weather) will tell!

Raccoon-eye view (yikes!) from outside the run.

From inside. Note the long grass (get eating, girls!) and also the way the coop fits tightly to the pen run.

For now, the ducks use the coop as the world’s most expensive umbrella. Coming soon–actually opening it up and letting them try it out.


Copyright 2012, Lori Fontanes