Best Mucky Duck Tips?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Ravenwoodmama, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. Ravenwoodmama

    Ravenwoodmama New Egg

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    Feb 29, 2008
    Hi all,

    I am *new* here [​IMG] Hooray! I am also new to waterfowl. Ordered my first ducklings and they'll be arriving in May. I ordered a Layer Duck Assortment from Sandhill Hatchery so will be interesting to see what I end up with.

    I am wondering what are your best tips for keeping waterfowl areas from becoming slop holes?

    A couple of ideas I am thinking of is to cover their entire "permanent pen" (20 x 30 foot dog run) with sand with gravel around watering area and watering pail up on mesh platform. We would let them out to graze in our massive yard (fenced w/4' stucco wire) and have a kiddy pool for them to splash around in on the lawn. I was hoping we could move it around to keep it from becoming a nasty slough in any one area. Is there a better option?

    How many ducks could I comfortably house in a 20 x 30 pen? How large would their house need to be?

    Also, do ducks like sprinklers? LOL I was thinking it would be such a blast to put out a sprinkler on a nice warm day for my son (2 yo) and the ducks to play in.

    Do you find your insect populations increase or decrease with ducks around?

    Final question...are ducks REALLY that messy and stinky?? Or is it all relative? We raise pigs and I can't imagine them making a bigger, stinkier sloppy mess than pigs. I could be wrong though!

    Thanks for the input!
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I am by far not a duck expert.

    Last year we got 2 little ducks. We hand raised them. They swam in my kitchen sink every evening. We kept the kitchen warm, draft free, and the water luke warm to the touch. They were no more than 2 or 3 weeks old when we got them. We first let them swim for just a few minutes and daily they got stronger and splashed and play so much that we extended the time to an hour aday. At 6 weeks they were too big and had to go out in a small little run in the backyard. We used a 10x10 kennel with a wading pool and a tote cut out in the front for their nest.

    It worked great for a while until they got bigger.

    The only drawback was the wading pool. You have to clean it every other day. They poop in the water. Swim, play and mate in the water. In warm weather it becomes a nasty mess very easily. It stinks. How they fill it with so much gunk I just do not know. They were the messiest things I have ever tried to raise.

    I won't do ducks again except for meat until I have a pond for them to live at.

    Good luck with yours!
     
  3. swampducks

    swampducks Overrun With Guineas

    Feb 29, 2008
    Barton City, MI
    Quote:I am new here too. [​IMG] And also far from a poultry expert of any type (parakeets would be another story). However, in my 10 month duck crash course, I have learned a couple things. Don't let them live in the garage! My 5 are in a temporary topless pen and every morning at least 3 of them are wandering about pooping everywhere. (Today all 5 were up by the door into the basement!) It helps when I really lay the straw down thick and then clean it out weekly. The plan for the future duck house is a 1/2 inch elevated wire mesh floor with straw on top of that, OUTSIDE next to a retaining wall off the house. I think that will help tremendously.

    I do have a pond but that freezes in the winter, so instead of a wading pool Hal (DH) cut a 55 gallon plastic barrel in half long ways, leaving the center intact (as a hoop over the middle for stability). I dug a hole at the edge of a hill and embedded it with the fill hole at the bottom. That way when it needs cleaning I just twist out the plug, let the crappy water out, rinse with hose, re-plug, fill it back up. I've also got a submersible heater in it that only has trouble with ice forming on the top when the temps drop below 10f.
    [​IMG]
    The ducks love it. If I didn't have a pond I'd probably leave it running in warm weather (without the heater).

    So I guess I would say they're stinky enough, but since I've never raised pigs, I can't compare the two. [​IMG]
     
  4. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Anywhere around your pond or waterers will become muddy because they love to dig their bills into the ground. The best plan I saw was in Dave Holderread's book on ducks (or maybe it was geese). Elevate the waterer off the ground the width of a 2 x 4 on it's side. t hen staple hardware cloth over it. Place the waterer or tank on top of that and mud won't be an issue.

    In general, the ducks keep themselves clean. It requires you only provide them water. It doesn't even reallly have to be pristin clear water every day, either.

    I would also suggest if you are going to have a "run" for them, try using pea gravel. But, you must let ducks out during the day. They will roam a lot finding your slugs for you. Mine are trained to "go to bed" at night and are there waiting for me.

    My ducks and geese both go ape when we put the sprinklers up. It's a big toy for them. Also if I'm watering with a hose and nozzle, they come right up to me and expect to be sprayed.
     
  5. DuckLady

    DuckLady Previously DuckLady! Staff Member

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    Washington State
    Their muddy muckiness is part of their charm. [​IMG]
    This is Miss Matilda Pekin Duck.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. nightshade

    nightshade Chillin' With My Peeps

    lol looks like my son's "Farm Duck" she loves the mud.

    Swampducks is your deicer like a trough deicer or a pond one. I have been thinking bout getting one but hubby doesn't like the idea. Something about the power company getting another rate hike. Do you see your bill go up noticably with yours. I can'y imagion it would.

    I have sawdust in my run from the local lumber mill, seems to work okay but it's takes some matence. And refreshing about once a week. But my ducks are in with my chickens as now two rabbits have moved in the coop as well. Surprisingly they all seem to be getting along really well. But it means I want to keep it alittle drier and cleaner then if it were just ducks. [​IMG]
     
  7. swampducks

    swampducks Overrun With Guineas

    Feb 29, 2008
    Barton City, MI
    Quote:It's the Thermo-Pond Submersible Pond De-Icer

    Item #CE-22772 at www.drsfostersmith.com. I didn't include the link to the actual item because they have a tendency to change. Here's the description:

    Thermostatically controlled de-icer ideal for preformed ponds. Elevated heating element prevents direct contact - will not burn or melt liner. 3/8" and 1/4" inlets allow use with air or water pumps for enhanced performance. 300-watts. 15 ft cord. 8-3/4" diameter. For ponds up to 300 gallons, and up to 18" deep. Easily converts to a floating de-icer, suitable for larger ponds up to 1,500 gallons, with optional screw-on 5-3/5" diameter Floater Attachment.

    It's on sale for $39.99, I got it on sale last fall for $35. (looks like the regular price went up.) I wanted something small to heat only 25-30 gallons of water (and perhaps a slightly larger pond in the future). I have no desire to spend the oodles of money I'd apparently need to keep the actual big pond open. My ducks don't seem to mind taking turns and at times 3-4 have been in it together.

    I've not seen the actual electric bill, but Hal says he hasn't noticed any big difference. I do unplug it when the outside temps rise above freezing, hasn't happened much lately.
     
  8. nightshade

    nightshade Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks! I will have to check it out maybe I can get hubby talked into it after all. I really hope so right now my babies are washing in a large water bowl one at a time. While I stand there with a bucket of warm water to refill after each turn. I can't wait for spring [​IMG]
     
  9. Dodgegal79

    Dodgegal79 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 1, 2007
    Princeton BC Canada
    Oh terri i love your pick. I love seeing mine with mud on there beaks up to their little beedy eyes. lol. I have about 50 ducks in total in my backyard running free. I think they have killed all the grass and they have modified the drainage ditch at the back into their own personal pond and freeway. They can travel alomost half way up the property (10 acres) via the ditch. They also swim under the fence and visit the neighbours, they don't mind, and will hoipefully keep the slug population down. They are wonderful and I wouldn't get rid of them ever. I also have about 30 chickenss ranging with them so they didn't help the lawn any.
     
  10. swampducks

    swampducks Overrun With Guineas

    Feb 29, 2008
    Barton City, MI
    Quote:That's a lot of ducks!!! I'm only hoping to get a self-sustaining flock of about 11-15. I'm adding 3 more runners in May when our local feed store has their chick day. And hopefully some muscovies from a local farm. (I figure they'll be their own little flock though.)

    How do yours stay warm all winter? Or is it warmer than the winters I get over here? Mine are in the garage at night and they and I can't wait till the pond thaws and they can get their stinky butts back outside!

    [​IMG]

    I need to get more pix of them hiking through the swamp as adults. They loved it as ducklings.
     

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