Greeting from the The Quack Shack! I'd like to give all credit to the great people here at BYC for this. What is working for me is just a collection of recycled ideas from other users.
I'm relatively new to raising birds (today is 6/25/19), but have been having pretty good luck keeping my brooder floor dry while raising ducklings. I thought I would share what I've been doing in hopes it might help someone els who is new to keeping babies in the brooder.
My brooder is homemade using wood, measures in at 4'x4'x1', and currently houses 8 young ones.
The first few time I changed the bedding I would find wet spots in/on the floor, mainly near the water dish. If you know ducklings, you know they are not good housekeepers. Good thing they are adorable! After doing a bit of research I came by the Deep Litter method, and is where I started collecting ideas.
One user mentioned using Diatomaceous earth, which has many uses, and a couple that benefit our purposes. Here is a bit of information on DE if you'd like to have a read.This is the exact product I use, but any DE should work fine. Being this is for our babies we love, I would recommend only using food grade DE as there is also none food grade. *Side not: you can also consume DE. A simple internet search will yield many examples of why you might want to.
With DE being made of mostly Silica (SiO2) it is super absorbent, can capable of drawing liquids out. (silica is what in the packets found in vitamin bottles) My first couple time changing the bedding and finding the wet spots, I would cover them with DE and let it sit for about 10 minutes then sweep it up. It does not leave it completely dry, so I knew I needed to do more.
First I tried using a larger pan below my waterer, and it did cut down on the wet spots, but not completely. Living in Florida off a marsh preserve, our relative humidity is rather high year round. This also posed an issue for me as my bedding was naturally wanting to remain slightly moist.
One thing I have learned when dealing with messy ducklings is redundancy is a good idea. So I added a second tray even larger than the first, and it massively cut down on the spilled water.
I use about 4-5 inches of bedding, and doing daily spot cleaning helps a lot (thank you @Miss Lydia ), but the over night poops coupled with the high humidity would still leave a noticeable layer of moist bedding every day. Although still easier at this point than when I started, it was still not what I considered a successful Deep Litter method.
One day I spilled the water, and I'm pretty sure I heard a duckling laugh at me. First thing I did was threw a literal hand full of DE on it to soak up what I could.
DO NOT THROW DE!
It is micronized and will create dust clouds, you should not breath it in.
Handling and consuming it is safe, breathing it is not.
>>The ducklings where not in the brooder<<
After sweeping up the clumps of wet DE, I still had quite the dust mess in the brooder. Then like a shot of whiskey, it hit me. I needed to dust the brooder and create an absorbent layer between the bedding and floor.
In a "Good for the goose" kind of an attempt, I also dusted the bedding prior to putting any ducks or water in there. For roughly 6 cubic feet of fluffed bedding (48"*48"*5") I used about 2/3 cups of DE. Being I can't reach the opposite side easily, I cut a couple of hand extensions from insulation paneling. (if you make extensions, make them angeled so you can get in the corners, I learned that 1/2 way though) It's hard to tell from the picture, but there was still enough DE to create small clouds while mixing the bedding up. It's a good idea to have a fan running if doing this indoors. (this is in an outbuilding)
So far it has been working great and what I would consider a successful Deep Litter method, or at least a varied method of it. I'm going through about 1/5 the amount of bedding I was, massively cut down on wasted/spilled water, and as a result, the brooder does not have a smell to it.
I hope this was helpful as it's saved me a fair amount of daily work, and my bedding cost has dropped a good amount too. Ya know, "A penny saved, is a duckling earned" or something along those lines.
Thanks for stopping by folks!
Keeping my wood brooder floor dry.
This is a basic method I'm using ideas from other BYC members. All credit goes to the brave poop scoopers before I! Enjoy. :highfive: