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Combining diff. species in the same space and using the Deep Litter method bedding??????

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by fowlsessed, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. fowlsessed

    fowlsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone use the Deep Litter method for keeping their ducks on? Or maybe they poop too wet. Also, what other birds can they be kept with, turkeys, peafowl, chickens? I'm getting ready to finally build a shed for some birds and need to know how few compartments I can get away with!
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Ducks are messier thatn chickens and turkeys as far as poop goes, and also their water drinking habits, mine are separated by a wall chickens on one side ducks on the other, and I use deep litter for both even my geese, I just scoop off the poop in the morning and fluff up the bedding it works great.
     
  3. fowlsessed

    fowlsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    GOOD TO KNOW, THANKS. I've been reading and it does seem like ducks are too messy if the water is kept in the pen and aggression could be a problem, I figured I could just divide the area with a wall that only came so far down where it left room for the ducks to pass under but not the turkeys, have their water in their side and if any bullying started they could get away. I dunno, I'll see.
     
  4. I deep litter with my ducks, but I only have two. Everyday I go throw handfuls of clean straw down over the mess. They seem to mess more in certain spots, so those areas are deeper than the rest. My ducks are only locked up from dusk til dawn, so they mess the joint up and leave, then I "clean" The mess before they return. It helps keep their little barn warmer in the winter. In the summer I have to shovel the whole mess out about every other month, but in cold weather it stays put til spring. I plan to move my chicks in with them when they are large enough, but I will keep the chickens to one side, and the ducks to the other, mostly so the chickens won't poo on the ducks! [​IMG]
     
  5. Tahai

    Tahai Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi! Good questions. I can't answer for everyone, but I'm happy to share my recently learned knowledge.

    I tried deep litter this last year. I just cleaned out the duck house for the first time a couple of weeks ago - it was a MASSIVE undertaking.

    I've decided not to deep litter anymore because:
    1. I live in the north, so my ducks can't go all night without water for about 3/4 of the year. I only give them a large mixing bowl full most of the time, but that's enough to get the bedding damp regularly.
    2. My duck house has a floor, not earth, so the composting process never really got going, despite the peat, soil, and inoculant I used periodically.
    3. Because I was trying to keep down ammonia, and didn't want to end up with a large brick (reminder: bricks are made from mud, straw and water, then agitated), I used Coarse Pine Shavings as the bedding. At $7 a bale, 2 bales a week, it just became too expensive.
    4. Because of the design of my duck house, as the materials built up (got about 4 feet high), a ramp naturally formed that the ducks would have to walk up to get to the top of the litter. This ramp took up about half the duck house, cutting down on their space significantly.
    5. Because it gets cold in upstate PA, the litter froze solid, except for the top layer where new bedding was. Luckily we had about 5 days in the 60s in early March, and I was able to spend a day gradually removing thawing stuff. Old man winter is not letting go this year, so I'm lucky I had those days. Otherwise, the bedding would have been up to the windows by now.
    6. The amount of physical labor for me to gut the duck house was tremendous. I've attached some pics.

    I think if you had a ground floor, longer days, and fewer ducks, this would still be a possible option. For me, though, I've decided to use straw and just rake it out 2x a week. Much less expensive, and much less Herculean effort.

    My duck house has 7 ft ceiling at the back. You can see from the water line how high the litter got. The ducks were able to look out the windows quite comfortably. The third photo is of all the litter I removed to my garden. Each of those garden rows are 23 feet long, and I filled up 5 of them.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    .
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I bet your going to have some awesome veggie this year. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  7. Paigej

    Paigej Out Of The Brooder

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    We use the deep litter system over here and I love it. We have four ducks who are in their coop from night until the morning. At the end of every week I turn it over with a shovel and smell it to make sure it doesn't smell like ammonia. I've been surprised lately that the bedding has smelled fresh and pleasant. We have been using deep litter since last July and I think it's gotten to the point now where it's its own little mico-environment. I can't remember the last time I shoveled it all out...probably four months ago. I only add more bedding when I smell ammonia or if it has rained and the bedding has been soaked from the bottom. If the bedding is wet from poo I just turn it over and the stuff on the bottom is dry. It's been a great, no hassle system for us and we throw the used bedding into the compost for the vegetable garden. I last bought a bale of pine shavings late November/early December and still have 1/3 of it left.
     
  8. fowlsessed

    fowlsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for sharing, it should work fine for me than, fairly nice weather and the floor will be dirt. Every once in a while I'll be adding DE, wood ashes, and maybe even lime, to the mix. So that should help keep it in good condition, too.
     
  9. I wanted to add that I use straw, even on a floor, and it has worked out just fine for us. I keep the food and water next to the door, so that if they make too big of a mess, I can just take out that small bit, but the rest of the shed stays put. Also I never have the bedding freeze, but I do leave a heat lamp plugged into a thermostat plug thingy, so if the temp. Outside dips the shed stays warm. Never had any issue at all with the straw turning to brick, but it doesn't get that high either. I haven't emptied the shed since October, and it is not even a foot deep. As a side note, I use my extra bales around the edges as extra insulation. It works out for us quite well. And I absolutely toss DE around! Although the shed/ barn looks slightly larger than the one pictured above, it is similar. I don't plan on ever changing our method, because it works perfectly for us.[​IMG]
     
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I don't ever remove all my bedding, like pagej said it makes it's own little micro environment which you want. I just scoop off the top and add bedding as needed [pine shaving here] over the winter it probably gets 8" in their stalls. in my chicken coop bedding is about 10-12". I don't have food and water inside their house either which helps keep wetness down.
     

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