Instructables
Ramp and deck built around a plastic water trough. All wood is reclaimed from shipping palettes sourced for free. Plastic spigot added to trough, and a ledge dropped in near the surface to help the ducks enter and exit.

The ramp was initially a bit narrower and steeper, but one of our ducks is clumsier than the other and he seems to appreciate the extra width and more gradual angle. Water (and other duck-related substances) can be drained via the spigot, but the trough is easily removed for more complete cleaning. Fully portable: just drain the water and the trough and ramp both lift out.

It took a bit of coaxing for the ducks to figure out how to climb up the ramp, but they seem to be enjoying themselves now!

Total cost, under $50.

Note: the plastic of the tub was a bit thicker where the spigot attaches, so I had to carve off a few millimeters to expose enough threads for a solid connection.

Update, March 3, 2013:
~7 months after construction, everything is holding up well: the wood has aged gracefully. The "step" inside is no longer needed because our ducks have mastered their entries and exits, but apart from that we haven't needed to make any modifications.

We drain the water every 1-3 days, and nothing makes a duck happier than a fresh pond! I found that the spigot is usually clogged with... silt... by the time we want to empty it, but there's no need to reach in to clear it when you want to drain: lifting up the tub an inch or two and then letting it drop back onto its base is usually all it takes to get the flow started.

An alternative to the spigot: a large bathtub plug would work here too, but that would require either reaching into the blecchy water to pull it, or extending a chain or rope from the plug up to the surface. I think the silly ducks might have too much fun playing with that and occasionally pull it by accident, but perhaps given the right materials that wouldn't be a problem. The advantage would be faster flow and no fragile plastic piece sticking out the bottom - not a huge problem for me, but I certainly have to avoid dropping the tub spigot-down onto any hard surface.

Update, July 16, 2013:
We've got three new ducks, almost old enough for full submersion, so we're about to outgrow this setup. Therefore, coming soon: Duck Bathtub: Backyard Duck Habitat 2!

Video (duck vs. cat):
ttripp27 months ago

I fyou had a garden you could attach a hose to the spigot that had holes drilled in it and could automatically water your garden with it, you know above ground crops like corn and such.

mcraghead (author)  ttripp27 months ago
ttrip2: Absolutely! Although there wouldn't be much pressure available without some additional engineering, so this design is really best suited to water a lawn, "passively."
However I've been working on the attach-it-to-a-hose idea for version two of the duck deck: now that we're up to five ducks, we've upgraded to a bathtub with a ramp and deck (see photo; instructable coming one of these days. It's in the same duck enclosure as this http://www.instructables.com/id/Cable-Spool-Duck-House/). The tub means more water to distribute and no portability, so I'm working on the right pump solutions to enable super-charged duck poop fertilizer distribution.

Cheers!

Mike
CragheadDuckDeck2.jpg
I love my duck Ernie
Jmurray2, the item you're after in the UK is a tank connector. They come in various sizes and I'd recommend getting a push fit type. You should then be able to attach a tap connector and then a tap. Ask in any DIY store and they should be able to help.
lakequeen1 year ago
Thanks! I love your design. We're going to make one for our two ducks. :)
lakequeen1 year ago
Where did you purchase the tub?
mcraghead (author)  lakequeen1 year ago
I think we got ours here: https://www.facebook.com/mckinleyvillefeed, but most feed stores carry similar tubs, as water troughs for cattle and horses and such. Between $20 and $40 USD.
jmurray21 year ago
I love the idea of the spigot but where can I get the screw on piece on the inside? I'm in the uk where nothing is called the same thing. Any help is good help
mcraghead (author)  jmurray21 year ago
Hi Jmurray2,

I believe the plastic nut came with the spigot assembly, but I could be wrong about that. Either way, the threads are standard enough that anywhere you get the spigot should have accessories that fit it. I purchased mine at a local hardware store, but I think this is the same one I used: http://bathroom-kitchen-faucets.com/plastic-faucet-taps-home-garden/plastic-tap-abs-faucet-19090/

See the updated 'ible: I added some speculation about alternatives to the spigot that might also help.

Best of luck!

MIke
jmray2 years ago
I have used one of the tubs as a small pond and the frogs have been there each summer for nearly ten years now - the are amazingly sturdy. This instructable, with the beautiful photos, makes me wonder how many other ways it could be used - I appreciate you sharing this.
ProRock2 years ago
Ingenious. Looks very professional.
You could dig a hole in the ground and put the tub in it. But i suppose if you didn't want to have a big hole in your yard this is definitely the next best thing.
Sinking the tub in the ground would make it much more difficult to clean, and the ducks would make a muddy mess from the water that splashed out.