Have had my 8 ducklings about 2 weeks now, and have spent most every day trying to find a way to keep their wading pool brooder dry. I THINK, I may be onto something. I have a combination dog feeder/waterer-one side is a round hole for a food dish, the other is an open "pond" type dish that you fill with an upside down pop bottle. For the food, I use a round, covered, galvanized chick feeder-the ducks can reach in just fine, but cant scoop it out. This sits just perfect on top of the "hole" Since I didn't want them to swim in the water bowl, I filled a second two liter bottle with water, poked a hole in the bottom, and set it in the center of the pool. Now they can only access the perimeter of the dish, which is only about 1 1/2" wide, so they cant swim in it. Because most of their emss seemed to be from their running back and forth from food to water dish, putting them in the same container seemes to really cut down on that. The food dish sits up a bit higher than the water, so this really makes a difference in keeping their food from becoming a swamp. BEcause the feeder holds only a small amount, not as much is wasted. It gets them through a day now, and since anythign older would ahve to be thrown away anyway, this way their is hardly any waste. I also put a pizza pan under the waterer side to catch any overflow and slobber. Ideally, some sort of rubber mat with a lip designed to fit the whole unit would be better, but I am still looking. Another method i has some success with is putting their water in one fo the round galvanized, covered chick feeders that hold a jar on top. I used one of the small red plastic water bases instead of the pan that came with it though. Fot perfect, and it kept them from soaking everything quite so much. If I could have made it fit on my combination dish, that would have been ideal, but the size wasn't quite right. Hope this helps.
Edited by moenmitz - 5/23/08 at 8:00pm