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building new run soon, please help!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by RachG75, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. RachG75

    RachG75 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I really need help. The 2 ducks' house is in place and we have done site work; now, to build their large run. I had my mind set on sand, but now I'm worried it might be a mistake. Obviously, I want to get it right the first time. So, we are building the run about 20'x15'. In it, we are going to have a pond area. We are going to use corrugated roofing on it and I was going to make half of it clear roofing (or should I?). We already have the hardware cloth for the sides.

    Everyone talks about the deep-liter method. But, how does that work when it rains?! Unless the rain always comes straight down softly and there is no wind, the straw or chips are going to sometimes get soaked. Won't it mold? [​IMG] That sounds unhealthy. Also, what about the splashing in the pond? won't it just make the litter a constant damp mess? I was planning to put some paving stones and river sand/pea gravel to fill in around them just around their pool to keep that to a minimum...but you know ducks. Someone please explain this to me. Do I just go in daily and remove heavily soiled areas and throw more straw down? Do I have to remove the areas that get wet after a rain? What about spilled food? Won't it get stinky and nasty in the straw if I don't remove it manually? So confused.[​IMG]

    I think my husband is going today to buy lumber, etc. Thanks.
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I was in your situation, I would opt for sand and pea gravel on ground. The other factor to consider is the pond. I assume you will be using a plastic type kiddie pool or plastic liner of some sort. It will get soiled frequently, so you will need to change water in it as needed. If you just dump water out, the sand and gravel will provide good drainage. Rake and clean out the droppings from the sand as needed. Deep litter may not be the proper choice for your needs. Ducks do not scratch like chickens do and therefore do not turn over the medium to properly work in composting. On the open section of your roof, do provide netting or hardware cloth to keep raptors out and your ducks in.
    WISHING YOU BEST [​IMG]
     
  3. RachG75

    RachG75 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks caveman. the clear roofing is actually clear corrugated roofing sheets. They cost 3x as much, but I thought they were cool and might be nice in winter to let some sunlight in. I was just going to do 2 sheets like that and the rest regular.

    As far as drainage, we will probably build a raised shallow pond with a pvc pipe drain that goes out of the enclosure and down into the nearby ravine. We are also looking at some of the cool filtration systems that people have built and my husband seems open to doing that, but maybe not at first. We are always joking about our "$5 ducks." lol.

    how do you rake and clean droppings out of sand? sorry if that's a dumb question. do you then have a big pile of soiled sand somewhere? What do you do with it? with a roof over your sand/gravel doesn't the feces eventually build up and become unhealthy since there is a roof over it and the rain isn't any help? do you just go in with a hose frequently? I know, lots of questions.
     
  4. RachG75

    RachG75 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Would love more opinions and advice.
     
  5. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't build it entirely covered on top. My girls would slap me if they couldn't play in the rain.

    When my ducks were young, they spent a lot of time in a pea stone area next to the house. I would hose that down daily. They have since embraced free ranging, so I don't have to hose it at all since they don't even go there now.
     
  6. RachG75

    RachG75 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You have a great point! lol. I will still let them out supervised, daily to forage, but probably won't like going out in the rain to do it.
     
  7. RachG75

    RachG75 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is there a specific type of sand I should get? A specific size of gravel I should ask for - just pea gravel?
     
  8. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For sand opt for course grade used in concrete. avoid fine masonry sand. Pea gravel is one size like peas, about 3/8 inch or so in diameter. By raking out droppings, it means any best method to remove them from where they are. Some peeps use a kitty litter scoop to remove the gumdrops. Many peeps use these droppings in their compost piles. When I clean out my coop, I just place the contents into my garden around flowers and shrubs, as well as small trees. I do cover when I can with my grass clippings so it is not unsightly. It all including grass clippings turns to earth in short time and disappears. If you do not have any use for your stuff. then simply throw into garbage.
    Like TLWR mentioned about not covering the whole run, rain would partly do the job of the hose washout. You would still want a netting over the open area to protect from flying predators. To protect from other predators, that is a complete different situation/subject. Ask anything you need to know, or read up on threads pertaining to such.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  9. RachG75

    RachG75 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have been reading a lot on that topic. I have a couple of books and read a lot here, but it helps to have someone to talk with about specifics. I will definitely be putting in the time and effort to protect them. I have already put about a grand into these $5 ducks. lol. Most expensive eggs ever.

    We have already purchased 100' of a smaller opening hardware cloth to use around the bottom and to bury out a foot, and will use a bigger one for up higher and now the partially open roof. I'm lucky I have a handy husband.

    So, I will just toss the raked droppings into the used pile of wood chip bedding from their house. Which will become my compost pile I guess. Lots of new things for me!

    So, what ratio of sand to pea gravel? Do you just mix it by putting down the pea gravel and then put sand on top of it? 5 or 6 inches deep I've read.

    You live in IL - how do you handle a cold snap of a week or two? 6 inches of snow? How often do you usually do a hose washout when it's not frozen? I will have 2 birds (probably a third in spring) in maybe 300 square feet should let me go every other day or more, don't you think?

    Please just chime in if you see anything that sounds wrong. I really, really appreciate the help!
     
  10. RachG75

    RachG75 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    anyone have a "hindsight is 20/20" type of advice on the construction of their run?
     

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