Anyone have just dirt in duck run/pen?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by shiningeyes, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. shiningeyes

    shiningeyes Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm just wondering if it will work. Planning on having gravel/river rock under their "pool" area but my husbands planning on just leaving the rest of the run dirt. Does anyone do this? I see alot of people with straw/shavings/ect...can't find much on just dirt though.
     
  2. paneubert

    paneubert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The consideration you need to make is how you plan to clean the dirt. straw/shavings/etc....are used because they can be scooped and tossed away.
     
  3. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I leave mine with just dirt, the only reason other people put stuff in their run for deep litter is so that they don't just have bare dirt in there especially if their yard doesn't soak up moisture well the things breaking down will absorb the moisture and as it breaks down so will the feces, it is similar to composting but just spread over a wider area(rather than in a box or other compost containment).
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
  4. PotatoWaffles

    PotatoWaffles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have just dirt and I HATE it. It's nothing but slimy mud in the spring abd absolutely reeks. In the summer it gets hard packed and baked and gets too hot. I had several ducks develop limps last summer because it caused them sores. When the grass would get mowed, we would put grass clippings in there, which worked alright and helped keep down the smell, but the clippings don't last long. I can't use straw because the wind would blow it into the neighbors yards. When we move in a couole months, I want to switch to peastone or sand in their pen, and let them free range in the yard during the day.
     
  5. shiningeyes

    shiningeyes Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How do you like it? And how do you clean it out? I was hoping it could just be raked up daily since we don't get a whole lot of rain here.
     
  6. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  7. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our ducks live on dirt and grass but they have a large area, not a pen, and their poop does not get as concentrated that way. The rain washes most of the poop into the ground to feed the worms but I will also hose any visible poop to make sure it becomes worm food and not fly food.

    The problem with using shavings is that they hold water and don't absorb poop very well. They stink so bad and create a bog in wet areas so we only use them in the chicken coops where the chicken poop sticks to them and the whole mess gets cleaned out every other week when yard waste is picked up. We don't even compost the shavings because the wet shavings smell so bad and they need moisture to decompose. It would be a huge stinky mess if we used shavings for the ducks and we would lose our awesome liquid fertilizer.

    There is a difference between clean dirt and manure filled dirt. As long as I wash the dirt in high traffic areas, we are able to keep our dirt clean. The chickens have killed the grass with their thicker "hot" poop and scratching but the ducks are pretty gentle on the grass if it is hosed clean. Their poop is not hot enough to burn the grass the way chicken poop does. When we get downpours, which is most of the Winter here, the dirt becomes muddy but we have pretty good drainage so it dries up quickly once it stops raining. It is best if we can keep the ground watered because that washes the surface and puts the nitrates into the soil.

    Our area does have a sandy soil and it is rocky below the topsoil for good drainage so that helps. Our rabbits live in runs with dirt over buried wire so I pressure wash their poop straight into the garden once the urine has soaked into the ground. As long as I break the pellets down, they fertilize the ground but it takes more effort than washing the duck poop below the surface. We use shavings in the covered rabbit nest boxes when we have bunnies but other than that the dirt works fine.
     
  8. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had initially planned on dirt and natural vegetation but i switched over to a deep bedding method. My ducks were drilling holes looking for noms. I didn't want ot have to worry over it because they're on an area that we filled in with fill dirt. Once I put down the straw I noticed that they still drill holes but so far they haven't made it back down to the dirt and they haven't eaten all of the compsot worms I added to the bottom layer of the bedding.

    If you do decide to leave their area mostly dirt they will need sooem dry soft areas to rest on n snow/cold weather and maybe to get up off of the wet soil.
     
  9. shiningeyes

    shiningeyes Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This was my thoughts about shavings as well. I'm just not able to grasp how other people do it. Now how frequently do you wash the dirt? Is your soil good enough that it stands up to the frequent washing without getting muddy? I only have two ducks but their run is only 10x4. I'm planning on letting them out as often as I can but they have to be supervised due to our resident bobcat and pair of Hawks. I'm just not sure what the other option would be. Do you think raking would also work? I would have loved to have left some grass in there because as you said they are much more easy on it than chickens and we have some tough grass around here but my husband covered it all with diet when he was building the run for some reason. I appreciate your input! Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  10. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The grassy areas do not make mud. Our bare ground dries out pretty quickly once the rain stops but we get non-stop rain for days so that can keep things muddy longer. The poop on top the mud is the problem but once it is thinned down with water it soaks right in and leaves the topsoil more absorbant.

    We have a healthy worm population that aerates the soil so that helps too. My husband does not always understand how watering gets rid of the mud but it basically allows the muck on top to filter down into the more sandy soil. The worms are more active when the ground is wet so we have worm pellets on the surface after a rain or any good soaking and the worms eat up the liquid poop.

    I actually water the mud more than I water the dry dirt because poop on dry dirt tends to dry up and mix into the dry dirt. It can get so dusty that I wet down the soil to keep the chickens from hollowing out big dust bath craters. The ducks love it when we put out sprinklers because they love taking showers.

    Our entire yard was covered with vegetation but I stripped away areas that I wanted to level out by power washing the dirt from high spots to low spots. Now the areas that I stripped are growing back. I have the entire yard sloped gradually away from the house now instead of there being a mound in the center of our yard. I want to install rain barrels when we can afford them so for now I have the drain spouts emptying into the yard and then I have the water spreading out to water the grass and trees. Our coops are on higher ground so the rain runs off away from them too. It has taken two years to accomplish this but it has worked to alleviate areas of standing water when it rains.

    Now that the ground is more level with a gradual slope for run off, the grass is growing back from the roots. Next winter we won't have any muddy areas because the water now soaks into the ground. The ducks will take any puddle and try to turn it into a small pond so eliminating the dips in the yard is preventing them from enlarging the puddles. The grass and trees help soak up the ground water effectively in the winter and we get shady areas throughout the yard that keeps it cooler in the summer.
     

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