WEST CARROLL FFA BUILDS
WOOD DUCK HOUSES FOR WATERFOWL USA
By: Ron Kaufman
Fulton- The West Carroll FFA Ag shop class recently finished a project that will benefit wildlife. The students are very proficient with all of the tools the shop has to offer. The making of 20 wood duck houses came easy for them. For several years, instructor Dan Hartman has shown his students how to make the boxes and every year he seeks to improve the nest a little. The students used a CNC router to make a perfect hole in the front. The front hole in a wood duck nest is elliptical in shape. The shape replicates the shape of a wood duck body and discourages other larger animals to enter the box. Students also used the CNC router to make designs on the front door. Students put the school name on some and the FFA logo on others. They was also was able to duplicate the Waterfowl USA logo and put that alongside their FFA logo. They also added color to the logos to make them stand out.
This year the FFA class made changes to the ladder inside. In the wild, wood ducks nest inside tree cavities. Newly hatched babies have toe nails and once the mother calls the babies to climb out of the tree cavity they can make their way to the hole by jumping and climbing. On the artificial wood duck nest previous students installed a mesh screen to help the wood duck babies get out of the hole. This year they took it up a notch and used a router to make a permanent ladder inside the door to help them get out. The previous nest always had issues with the screens coming off.
Another improvement was to recess the bottom up into the box. This helps by letting the outside walls to shed rain without the bottom board getting wet. This step helps make the nest boxes last longer.
The boxes will be used by Waterfowl USA in this area. The local chapter has provided the FFA with material and hardware for years. The students have gotten so good at making the boxes that they look too good to hang up in a tree.