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Flooring for duck pen

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I need advice as to the best flooring for our new duck pen. I posted this on the predator forum, but I realize that the duck people will know best! I've learned so much recently from reading all of your posts, and really appreciate any advice.  This is our situation:

We "rescued" three ducklings from a  feed and fuel store, when we stopped in to buy supplies for our new chicks.  The ducklings were newly hatched, and crammed into a brooder with about 75 chicks, where they couldn't get to the water or even stand up without being surrounded and pecked by the chicks.  I convinced my wonderful husband that if we bought the ducklings just to get them out of there,  I would find homes for them, or we could release them into one of the nearby parks/lakes in our city. Of course, after five minutes of research, I learned that you can't release domestic ducks, and can't figure out why, after all of my years of experience with all kinds of critters, that I didn't know this fact about ducks. DUMB!!! Anyway, there are many waterfowl rescue organizations in the CA Bay Area, but they are for WILD waterfowl (oil spill cases, etc.), and it was impossible to find someone who rescues domestic ducks.  Very shortly it became a moot point, because I am crazy about these silly ducks, so they are going to stick with us.

About the pen; we're in the suburbs, racoons are the problem. My husband has been working on a night pen for the ducks, separate from the chickens.  He dug down eight inches into our hardpan clay soil, covered the bottom with 1/2" hardware cloth, then dirt, three inches of sand, and three inches of pea gravel.  A cyclone fence dog kennel sits on top, the bottom wire is attached, and the kennel is covered on all sides and across the top with the 1/2 inch wire. He's also working on a duck house, with the thought that we could lock them in that at night, but I know that ducks like to stay out, so if we are certain that the pen is secure, then they would have that option.

My question is about what to put over the pea gravel. I'm kind of confused about this. I've read David Holderread, and he suggests a thick layer of cedar sawdust, on top of sand, with pea gravel underneath it all.  We thought it made more sense for drainage to put the sand down first and then the pea gravel.

What I'm trying to figure out is how to adapt this to drought conditions.  The pea gravel is ideal as a drain material and is easily washable, but we're trying to conserve water.  I'm also not sure how the ducks' webbed feet handle the gravel if that's the top surface. It seems it would be best to have some type of loose material that could be raked daily. Some suggestions I've read are pine shavings, wood chips, mulch, dry leaves, etc.

Anyway, sorry this is so long. Any advice from you experienced duck lovers would be appreciated!  Thanks!!!

post #2 of 16

I was toying with this very thing because I know their feet are even more sensitive than chickens because of the webbing and so forth.  I ended up just clean raking the ground in the run (Southern Oregon so I feel your pain with the clay).  I am unsure about specifics so I have been following along with any all suggestions made by Dave Holderread.  I bought my ducklings from him and he is the authority so...trust what he has written.

If the coons are a problem, you need to go ahead an lock them in at night.  They need min. 3 sq ft per duck  so minimum 9 sq ft for your three...that is a small structure so not much trouble to build.  They do not need roosts, just floor space, a nest and so forth.  They do not need food and water in there in night, they will do fine through the night without them.

There is a thread in the coop section about my duck house and complex, I just updated it...check it out and see if any of it helps you.

Good luck with those babies and thanks for having the heart to rescue them.

Member of SDWD  RIP My Precious Thor 9/7/09 - 7/14/10 

RIP to the Love of Speckledhen's Life, Zane 2007 - 2012
Life shouldn't be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty, well-preserved body. but rather, to skid in sideways, totally worn out and exhausted while shouting loudly "WOW! What a ride!"

For Sale: http://ladyhawksmenagerie.webs.com/forsale.htm
http://ww...

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Member of SDWD  RIP My Precious Thor 9/7/09 - 7/14/10 

RIP to the Love of Speckledhen's Life, Zane 2007 - 2012
Life shouldn't be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty, well-preserved body. but rather, to skid in sideways, totally worn out and exhausted while shouting loudly "WOW! What a ride!"

For Sale: http://ladyhawksmenagerie.webs.com/forsale.htm
http://ww...

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post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Aaah, Cetawin! I was hoping to hear from you.  Yes, I've been following your progress on your wonderful pens. Wish I had the building skills that you have!  I think you're right, I'll just go with Holderread and do several inches of cedar shavings on the ground of the pen.  I always thought you couldn't use cedar because of the fumes (we use pine in the chicken coop), but maybe it's O.K. when it's used outside and not in a confined space. And it would certainly be easy to rake up.

With the duck pen completely enclosed in 1/2" hardware cloth, including under the pen, and all gaps sealed, do you think the raccoons would still be able to find a way in? (They're probably in their underground bunkers planning the assault as I write this). If so, then we'd better wait to move the duckies out of their nightpen in the garage until the duck house is built.  I'm glad to hear that they can go the night without water.  That will make it much less messy inside the duckhouse - another thing I was trying to figure out!  Thanks, Cetawin!

post #4 of 16

The cedar is a bad thing because of the oil/fumes but usually that refers to a enclosed space.  I just never take a chance with small animals...pine is just as easy in my opinion and I know it is safe.   Cedar will help with odor though.

Thank you, my skills are mediocre but they are enough to get by...I just figure it out.  LOL  I used a lot of recycled materials, have tons of edges that are not cut straight and a host of other 'mistakes' I had to fix.  gig  But the ducks will love it.

Raccoons are such a PITA truly, they dig, the pull, they climb, they unhook latches and they will drop out of tree or off a roof into your enclosures.  I just plain do not trust them!  It sounds as if yours is really secure so maybe an open type shelter for them would be okay....like a box without a front side...so they can get out of the open, weather, wind or whatever.

That poor little bachelor pad has more latches and locks on it than fort knox...my DH says "overkill dear overkill" but I want to be able to sleep at night rather than getting up and down to go out and check on them.

I am putting their food and water outside and making PVC feeders for inside in the winter as well as the bucket with holes drilled in it for their waterers.  But predominately, their cafe' shall be an open air version.  LOL

My only advice is get down on raccoon level and crawl around and check everything...if you can get your pinky in a gap....cover it.  You can never do too much but you can cause yourself heartache by not doing enough.  hugs


Edited by Cetawin - 8/29/09 at 3:12am

Member of SDWD  RIP My Precious Thor 9/7/09 - 7/14/10 

RIP to the Love of Speckledhen's Life, Zane 2007 - 2012
Life shouldn't be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty, well-preserved body. but rather, to skid in sideways, totally worn out and exhausted while shouting loudly "WOW! What a ride!"

For Sale: http://ladyhawksmenagerie.webs.com/forsale.htm
http://ww...

Reply

Member of SDWD  RIP My Precious Thor 9/7/09 - 7/14/10 

RIP to the Love of Speckledhen's Life, Zane 2007 - 2012
Life shouldn't be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty, well-preserved body. but rather, to skid in sideways, totally worn out and exhausted while shouting loudly "WOW! What a ride!"

For Sale: http://ladyhawksmenagerie.webs.com/forsale.htm
http://ww...

Reply
post #5 of 16

Those raccoon can squeeze in the smallest gaps.  My friend described seeing a big raccoon escape after a raid through a gap that was less than 1-1/2 inches wide.   They flatten out their ribs somehow.  So a smaller raccoon would be able to squeeze through an even tighter space.
Nice to hear from another new duck lover.  But watch out, they are powerfully addicting!
Have fun with them!

post #6 of 16

Hello,

I am wondering the same thing?  My husband built a fabulous Duck Pen and currently we move it every day on the lawn.  We have 3 acres and we keep it near the house so we can always see it from the windows.  It is really getting stinky, muddy and attracting flies....  We are building there permanent area... My question is What is the Best Floor for the Ducks???  What is the easiest to clean and safe for their feet? jumpy.gif

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Quacker View Post

Hello,

I am wondering the same thing?  My husband built a fabulous Duck Pen and currently we move it every day on the lawn.  We have 3 acres and we keep it near the house so we can always see it from the windows.  It is really getting stinky, muddy and attracting flies....  We are building there permanent area... My question is What is the Best Floor for the Ducks???  What is the easiest to clean and safe for their feet? jumpy.gif

Our duck house/chicken house and goose house had wood floors with vinyl over top then a thick layer[deep bedding[] of pine shaving. I go in every day and scoop out the poop which lays on top then take the pitch fork and turn bedding very easy to maintain and I only remove about 3/4 of the bedding each spring to use around fruit and berry trees and bushes. adding shavings as needed. if you use deep bedding you don't want to remove all of it because there are good microbes in it that help break down the poop for easy composting. welcome-byc.gif   Look up deep litter and read some good info. My shaving are around 8-10" deep in duck house close to 12 in chicken coop. here's a link with some info http://www.backyardchickens.com/newsearch?search=Deep+litter+


Edited by Miss Lydia - 7/10/13 at 6:14am

Living in the Beautiful Mountains of Western N.C.. with 15 chickens= EE's, Game, Cochin bantams,Light Brahma,  Black Australorps . 13Muscovy ducks, 1 Embden Gander,2 Toulouse geese 1 American Buff, 3 mini Dachshunds, 1 mixed breed, pond goldfish,  and a wonderful Husband who makes it all possible..

 

Keep me as the apple of your eye;hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8

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Living in the Beautiful Mountains of Western N.C.. with 15 chickens= EE's, Game, Cochin bantams,Light Brahma,  Black Australorps . 13Muscovy ducks, 1 Embden Gander,2 Toulouse geese 1 American Buff, 3 mini Dachshunds, 1 mixed breed, pond goldfish,  and a wonderful Husband who makes it all possible..

 

Keep me as the apple of your eye;hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8

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post #8 of 16

I have a great set up in our night house. I have a dry concrete blocks with a food service matt (the ones with holes in them) over the concrete. I hose it out daily and have a side section with a plastic container....like under the bed storage style filled with hay so they have a place to lay.  I put the food and water on the rubber mat.  This works out great for hosing down and even scrubbing every now and then. Plus I have better control of the hay too.

 

My question to you all is we have an out side run.  Partial covered ceiling part open with chain link on roof.  I'm having a lot of problems with Bumble foot.  I have a few rough concrete edges that I've now covered up.  My next concern is the flooring. I have natural mulch that I can get for free.  Sometimes there is junk in it like plastic pieces or metal bits that whenever surfaces I remove.  I'm thinking maybe to redo the whole floor service.  I know the pea stone is popular as well as sand.  I have a small kiddy pool that has a drainage pipe out of the cage. I fear sand getting in here would block the pipe eventually as it is heavy.  I've started to put lots of rocks by the pool so they don't get junk into it.

 

Is there a material that would work well to drain, as we know their poo is substantial. I'm thinking something that is almost maintenance free.  Anyone ever try the rubber mulch stuff?  Should I just put hay down all over?

 

Thanks!

 

Denise

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lydia View Post
 

Our duck house/chicken house and goose house had wood floors with vinyl over top then a thick layer[deep bedding[] of pine shaving. I go in every day and scoop out the poop which lays on top then take the pitch fork and turn bedding very easy to maintain and I only remove about 3/4 of the bedding each spring to use around fruit and berry trees and bushes. adding shavings as needed. if you use deep bedding you don't want to remove all of it because there are good microbes in it that help break down the poop for easy composting. welcome-byc.gif   Look up deep litter and read some good info. My shaving are around 8-10" deep in duck house close to 12 in chicken coop. here's a link with some info http://www.backyardchickens.com/newsearch?search=Deep+litter+


Miss Lydia, I hope you see this. I am wondering how you keep 8 -12 inches of shavings in the coops?

I put hay or shavings down and when I open the door to go in, the chickens have kicked the stuff up against the door and a flood comes out. I have never put down as much as you are recommending. Thanks.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylviaanne View Post
 


Miss Lydia, I hope you see this. I am wondering how you keep 8 -12 inches of shavings in the coops?

I put hay or shavings down and when I open the door to go in, the chickens have kicked the stuff up against the door and a flood comes out. I have never put down as much as you are recommending. Thanks.

In the chicken side of the coop there's a wall and full size doors if there's any shaving up against it i just push it back when i open the door. then just use the pitch fork to redistribute but they don't mess it up too bad. then in the duck side to keep it from falling outside I put up a board about 6" wide across the walk way to keep it from getting close to the door since this is the door to the outside. works really well the little bit of shaving that manages to get over the board i just sweep up and put back on the other side. Usually by april i stop adding shaving and just scoop out poop daily then add only as I need, now that cold weather is coming I start adding shavings again to get the deep usually during warm months it's probably only 6" deep. This also helps when I pull the bedding away from the walls to spray for mites[ proactive] My doors also open in which I guess helps. But if you could put up a board to keep back the bedding that might help too.

Living in the Beautiful Mountains of Western N.C.. with 15 chickens= EE's, Game, Cochin bantams,Light Brahma,  Black Australorps . 13Muscovy ducks, 1 Embden Gander,2 Toulouse geese 1 American Buff, 3 mini Dachshunds, 1 mixed breed, pond goldfish,  and a wonderful Husband who makes it all possible..

 

Keep me as the apple of your eye;hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8

Reply

Living in the Beautiful Mountains of Western N.C.. with 15 chickens= EE's, Game, Cochin bantams,Light Brahma,  Black Australorps . 13Muscovy ducks, 1 Embden Gander,2 Toulouse geese 1 American Buff, 3 mini Dachshunds, 1 mixed breed, pond goldfish,  and a wonderful Husband who makes it all possible..

 

Keep me as the apple of your eye;hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8

Reply
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