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Flooded Duck yard/mud swamp, what do I do? HELP!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Question:

Could anybody offer a good, well draining, duck-mud-filtering resistant solution for ground cover in a duck yard? I'm losing it! I've dumped so much pea gravel, tumbled gravel, crushed gravel into that yard already and all they do is bury it all in mud whenever it gets wet. What do you people in rainy climates do for your duck yards?

 

Specific Situation:

Up to now I've had a pretty tidy duck yard for months and months, whenever it rains there are pools of water into which I trowel a canal to a low spot on the edge of their yard. Up to recently this has been a pretty acceptable method for maintaining the quality of the yard and eliminating massive mud pits that my ducks love to make. However, due to the heavy rain fall over the last 3 or 4 days and the continued rainfall today, I was met with a giant pool of water in their yard and the rest of my soil outside their yard isn't draining well either. The ground appears to be at its saturation point and I refuse to let my ducks filter mud all day and bury all the expensive gravel in the mud like they've done in spots in the past.  I am keeping them coop bound for now while I figure out how to solve the problem or until the rain stops and water drains. What do I do now?

I have a good husband, a new baby boy, a few ducks, one beautiful goose and a big family. Life is pretty good.
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I have a good husband, a new baby boy, a few ducks, one beautiful goose and a big family. Life is pretty good.
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post #2 of 7

First, take a breath, maybe have a cup of tea.  hugs.gif

 

Sounds like the weather's really misbehaving right now.  I don't have a brilliant idea yet, but I will share that I learned that to avoid gravel just getting pushed down into mud, or mud pumping up through gravel, to put fabric designed for that purpose under the gravel.  That will slow the process down quite a bit.

 

Something I have done is make sure I have a bit of slope in the Day Pen.  I also built up gravel on one side and slope it down even a little more so the water runs off.

 

Are you getting water coming in from uphill?  Something else I set up when I realized I had that problem is just a 2¨x6¨board up on its side (so it stands 6¨high) along the uphill side of the Day Pen.  That really cut down the amount of water pouring across the pen during heavy rains.

 

I hope this was at least a little help.  Do you have a photo of the general area?

 

 

 

 

Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.
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Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.
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post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sore Thumb Suburbanite View Post

Question:

Could anybody offer a good, well draining, duck-mud-filtering resistant solution for ground cover in a duck yard? I'm losing it! I've dumped so much pea gravel, tumbled gravel, crushed gravel into that yard already and all they do is bury it all in mud whenever it gets wet. What do you people in rainy climates do for your duck yards?

 

Specific Situation:

Up to now I've had a pretty tidy duck yard for months and months, whenever it rains there are pools of water into which I trowel a canal to a low spot on the edge of their yard. Up to recently this has been a pretty acceptable method for maintaining the quality of the yard and eliminating massive mud pits that my ducks love to make. However, due to the heavy rain fall over the last 3 or 4 days and the continued rainfall today, I was met with a giant pool of water in their yard and the rest of my soil outside their yard isn't draining well either. The ground appears to be at its saturation point and I refuse to let my ducks filter mud all day and bury all the expensive gravel in the mud like they've done in spots in the past.  I am keeping them coop bound for now while I figure out how to solve the problem or until the rain stops and water drains. What do I do now?


I would suggest a modified French drain type of system. It isn't a quick-fix thing to do, but it should keep your pen high and dry.

 

Dig out the ground in the pen a few inches to a level floor. Extend the walls of the pen to the new below-ground-level bottom with 1/2" X 1/2" wire mesh. You could extend a drain at one spot by digging a trench leading away from the pen a few inches below ground level and attaching a gutter. On the newly dug out bottom inside the pen, lay down landscape fabric. Then add pea gravel to come to just above ground level. Then lay down another layer of landscape fabric. Fill the pen with straw on top of the second layer of landscape fabric for bedding. This new floor will allow water to seep through the fabric into the pea gravel layer and flow out of the pen before rising to the new raised floor level, thereby keeping the ducks high and dry. It's an involved process, but if you can set something up with that general idea (new floor above ground level, with a layer of pea gravel between two layers of landscape fabric, and a gutter extending away from the pen for drainage), then you won't have standing  water in the pen anymore.

 

:-)

post #4 of 7

Both great suggestions. I think later this year I may add even more french drains to my pen; I have the one, but we get pretty saturated in Seattle! The only thing I would add is to remember they are ducks! You may want them to be all dry and fluffy cuteness, but they want to swim, and dabble, etc...you can't make 'em into something they're not!

1 Chihuahua/Terrier, Bingo; 1 Norwegian Forest Cat, Amy; 3 ducks - 1 Khaki Campbell, Mary Pang; 2 White Layers, Ping & Pong

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1 Chihuahua/Terrier, Bingo; 1 Norwegian Forest Cat, Amy; 3 ducks - 1 Khaki Campbell, Mary Pang; 2 White Layers, Ping & Pong

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post #5 of 7

River rock and landscape fabric make a good combo.  The landscape fabric keeps it from sinking as much and the rock is harder for the ducks to move.

 

River rock may not be a very good substrate for ducklings though.

post #6 of 7

We normally see an average of 42.52 inches of rain per year. This last year, we saw 73.28 inches of rain. This year is off to the same start. Our garden will be elevated, just to keep it from drowning. Might even need to cover it in plastic and make a green house of sorts if we start breaking more records for rainfall. The Ohio river needed redirected to Texas, they could have used all this water.

 

To add insult to injury, we have the bottom land of the neighborhood, the houses behind have hillside that drains right to us. So we got their water too. The ducks are the least of it. It took 2 tons of gravel in their run. Spring we'll need to make some alterations to it and cover the gravel with fabric like mentioned above.

 

Our water can only go towards the road with the hill in back. What we really need is two trenches on either side dug 4-6 ft deep, currogated pipe and gravel, and a bobcat and some more dirt to direct water to the drainage areas. Costly though. For now we rent this house, we haven't decided yet if we'll buy it or not. So we've done what we can with surface drainage. We put in a cute little brick wall with deep set footers to direct water away from the garage where the slabs are shifting on the floor. Double duty for the wall as a dog barrier, it's so wet the grass has been worn down. So we need to set up a... field rotation... for the dogs. LOL

 

I've had ducks before... but this last Spring I watched the miserable chickens out in the rain and thought... "Gee.... ducks need to live here". The ducks are happy as can be, water everywhere!

 

With the work we've done, the ducks have the best drainage and the driest area. We need to do the same with the chicken run, it's settled lower than the ground outside of the run.

 

Every rain, we get large puddles, and the ducks throw a tantrum until I go out to let them free to play in it. At least some one is happy about the rain. They'll be mad when we change the ground around to redirect water and make better drainage. Maybe we won't break any records though. With normal rainfall, it drains well. Now the ground is so saturated, whatever water table we have here is FULL and there is no where for more water to go.

 

I've just resigned myself to muddy dogs and a mud pit of a yard for now. Can't throw grass seed until we hit a dry spell, the seed will rot.

 

With your ducks, the trick is digging down below ground level, laying down landscape fabric, 6-7 inches of gravel, then what I didn't do yet.. cover that over with more fabric and bedding. It's funny that the cleanest and driest spot here is our duck run. Course we didn't know in advance just how much rain we were going to get last year.

 

ETA: See the water in my avatar? That's what the yard does after an inch of rain. Happy ducks. Filthy dogs until we get our fencing up for a mulched "rainy day" potty area. Mud so deep it'll suck your boots off.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by mandelyn - 1/24/12 at 7:52am
post #7 of 7

Get some ideas from the thread below. His coop has a base that's similar to the one I described, except he used hardware cloth as the bottom layer, then rock, then landscape fabric, then sand.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/389552/my-florida-chicken-pen-edited-pic-heavy

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