After hearing the horror stories about how much of a mess my baby duck will make it the brooder, I decided to get creative and hopefully head off some of the problems.
I started with 2 different brands of plastic storage tubs. I made sure that when I put the top one inside the bottom one there was plenty of gap. If you already have 2 of the same brand, you will need some kind of spacer. A couple of bricks would work.
Once I got what I wanted as far as fit, I took a hot knife and cut through the plastic on the bottom of what will be the top tub, making sure I left a lip. The lip is important because you will need it for the next step.
Next, cut a piece of hardware cloth to cover the opening. Use screws or bolts to secure it to the bottom of the tub. Then also cut a piece of shelf liner to fit over the hardware cloth.
Fill the bottom tub with your bedding of choice. I used some wood stove pellets I already had laying around.
Now put the top tub inside the bottom tub. Add a guinea pig waterer with a small pan under it to catch drips and a wild bird food feeder to even further cut down on mess potential. I used bailing wire to fashion custom holders for both the waterer and a harness for the bird feeder since the suction cup wouldn't stick to the side of the tub. Hang a light from some kind of pole, dowel, etc... (my light pole is an old rigid vacuum cleaner hose.
If you end up with a lone hatch, or only have a few ducklings, duct tape a turkey feather duster to the side so the babies can snuggle up to or under it for comfort (I have found out they really like playing with the feathers too). Insert duckling and enjoy.
I did a clean up this morning and it literally took me about 2 minutes to have hubby hold JJ while I took out the pad and sprayed it off with sink sprayer. I then shook it off and put it right back in. So far so good. We'll find out if this is a sound plan when I add more ducks today
Edited by Wifezilla - 4/8/11 at 7:44am