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Giving them a stimulating environment

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm new to the forum and new to duck keeping.
We have two Indian runner ducks, Frankie and Charlie. We have had them since 3 days old they are now almost 6 weeks old and have been living in the house while we have been getting their outside run ready.
They have a good size duck house which opens into a 6" by 10" walk in run. When we are here they will have full run of the garden but will stay in their house/run at night and when we are at work.
The run is slabbed for easy cleaning but it all looks a bit bare and I'm worried they will be bored.
I'm looking for advice on what sort of things I can put into the run to keep them entertained.
They have a large kids paddling pool in the garden to swim in but it's to big to go in the run.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Katie
post #2 of 7

Hi!

 

Once they are big enough (adult size, fully feathered, no feather issues), a 15 gallon livestock water trough with a few bricks in it, and around the edge to make getting in and out easier, would be nice.

 

The concrete surface is likely to increase the risk of bumblefoot, so I'd get something less abrasive on top of that.  I know it's money, but some folks use stall mats.  Those are also easily cleaned off.

 

I use a base of compost, myself, so I don't have to rinse it off daily, I just add chopped straw, the ducks mix it all up, it composts, and a few times a year I rake it out and put it on the garden.  

 

You'll have a top on the pen, right?  So climbers, jumpers and flyers cannot get to them?

 

I make fodder for my ducks - it's pretty easy and can entertain them.  You can buy some wheat seeds in bulk, sprinkle them a half inch deep in a pie plate, rinse the seeds twice daily, and in four or five days you have nice sprouts for them to play with and eat.

 

My Runners love to noodle in the soil.  You might make them a little soil box to mess with.  You could also start some seeds in shallow containers and let them enjoy harvesting their own micro greens.   There is a seed mix called "Chicken Salad," for just that purpose.

 

The Ultimate Pet Duck Guidebook has a section on Enrichment - you might get some ideas from that.

 

@frankiecharlie 


Edited by Amiga - 3/28/16 at 4:16pm

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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice, I havnt come across "bumble foot" in any of the books yet I'll need to look that one up.
I was thinking of starting a few shallow trays of grass and seeds that I could rotate for them.
How does the layer or compost work? Does it not attract flys or have a bad smell?

The run isn't finished we are covering the sides with wire and the roof with a mix of wire and wood to give them some shade. They are only out for a couple of hours at the moment with me supervising them. Actually at the moment even if I try to come back in they follow so I think getting them out there full time by their selfs will be a task in its self.
I just want to make sure they will be happy when we are not here.
I'll look up all your suggestions today. Thank you smile.png
post #4 of 7

I thought of you when someone on FB posted a video of their Call duck using a Slide n Nibble Treat Toy.  She put dried mealworms in the hiding places.

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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Ah I never even gave those sort of toys a though!! I'm off to look for the video now 😆
post #6 of 7

Yes, please put something on top of those slabs or you will have bumblefoot to deal with in the future. Very painful for the ducks. Large rubber mats work well and are also easy to clean off. Some people use bark or mulch on top of cement and that works well also.

 

Piles of hay, straw, or dry leaves are fun for ducks to play in and lay down on. I also give mine baby toys, balls, empty plastic bottles, pinecones, etc to play with during the winter when they are locked inside most of the day. You can try tossing in a different toy for them every day to give them something to do as well. A little pool of some kind would also be great when they are fully feathered. 

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you such good ideas so glad I asked.
I have done a bit of reading and pea gravel seems to come up a lot, has anyone used this? Maybe for the whole base but to cover a good portion with the rest being compost/grass/straw. I have now found a few treat toys which I think will work well and Iv got a couple of ideas for the water.
The wire for the run is being delivered tomorrow so all going well they should hopefully be able to start to go out in it by next week, that's if I can bare to leave them out there. They do love the house and being with us.
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