Duck House bedding

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by brandilly, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. brandilly

    brandilly Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 3, 2013
    Kelso, Washington
    I have read a lot of the threads on here already and done some other researching on other sites each one has some things alike and yet so many differences so I'd like to start a new thread and ask for advice.

    I have a duck house. About 3 feet wide by 7 feet long. Made completely out of wood, other than the wire mesh for venting. About 4 feet of it is 4 1/2 feet high and the remainder is about 3 feet high. Vents along the top of the whole back of the house, both high and low ends. Ramped door for duck/goose entry. 2 swinging; barn; doors above for ease of cleaning and then the 'roof' on the low end lifts up for access. This duck house is inside of a 10x10x8 (peaked) dog kennel. I haven't critter proofed the perimeter yet, however I will be sinking something down 6 to 8" before winter sets in.

    I have 4 ducks and 1 goose. They put themselves to bed at last light and I raise their ramp door and secure it with a latch and then I shut the door to the kennel. I let them out about 1/2 an hour after first light. No food or water inside the house. Kennel door is left open until bedtime again and they free range on about 1/2 an acre of yard all day. I have various water bowls set up in different parts of the yard and they have the large kiddie pool which I clean out and refill about every 4 days. Large feed bowl is inside the kennel door about 10 feet away from the nearest water source + pool.

    I am using pine shavings about 3-4 inches deep over a wood floor inside the duck house and change it about once a week and remove 1/2 and add fresh halfway though the week. I keep a keen nose out for any strong ammonia odors and refresh/clean accordingly.

    Ok, there's what I think you should know... here's my question...

    Is there a different setup inside for bedding that I should be using once the weather gets nastier? I live in Kelso, WA, about 50 miles North of Portland, OR. I know ducks/geese are pretty cold weather hardy; duh! They are wearing their own personal down coats! :) I was wondering more for cleanliness for them, ease of cleaning for me, etc more than I was wondering if they were going to get cold.

    I have read about hay, straw, pine shavings, sand, pellets and something called the deep litter method which seems like it's a combo of all the aforementioned, basically. I've also read about DE and lime being mixed in with sand or sprinkled on the floor to control wetness and/or odor. Everyone's experience, advice sounds legit... I just don't know which way to go. The pine shavings I am using now is working fine but it is a total change out once a week. And it only takes me about 1/2 an hour to totally clean it out and re-pine the floor so it's not really the labor either. The floor doesn't seem to be "wet", some damper spots than others which I then toss a handful of fresh pine shavings on and rub it in and it seems to pull out any extra dampness.

    I am hoping that y'all will post lots of experiences and advice on THIS thread (if you haven't perished from reading this LOOONG post!) and that I will find inspiration!!! Also, if you have any other advice or concern about my setup, please feel free to correct me!

    Thanking everyone in advance!!! [​IMG]
     
  2. duckins

    duckins Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 29, 2012
    Gladys, Va
    Had to laugh I live in va and it just turned light about 5 mins ago and my ducks are raring to go just chit chatting up a storm and yours are prob still snoring lol. Your setup sounds really good only thing which you already know is pred proofing their kennel for diggers. Do you have something on top for climbing preds? I have a 20 ducks and 3 connected 10x20 kennels. Had to make spacious kennels as mine are only out for 2 hrs in morning and 2 hrs before dark (we have so many stray dogs stop by) so I have to supervise their forage time. They have 2 big kiddie pools on out sided in run here's my April-Oct. Setup I/2 lot pine shavings with their houses and 1/2 stepping stones with water buckets, feed, and smaller kiddie pool. I spray poop out of this section and refill waters and pools in the a.m. Theirs a coverd trench outside of lot for waste water which leads to my garden. In the other 1/2 covered by shavings I clean daily by scooping poop clumps and every few days I rake and fluff up shavings. I have to add a few shavings once a week but do not have to take all out completely therefore saving me money on bedding by fluffing shaving this allows any dampness to dry up quick as well. Btw it keeps the flies down. In winter months little kiddie pools come out of lots and that section is converted to shavings. They still have yard pools but this way I don't have to worry about them slip sliding in lots. It's not easiest cleaning process but it works best for me and my poop machines stay nice and clean ....at least till next morning.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. laurihof

    laurihof New Egg

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    Feb 26, 2013
    I'm learning about the best substrate as well, but have one thought. I'm new to ducks, and have read at several different locations that for ducks, it is necessary to have water next to their food as they eat by taking in food then washing it down with their water. True? Not true?
     
  4. Khaki1

    Khaki1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 15, 2013
    Oregon Coast
    Ii am new to ducks as well. I do know they need water close to their food because they dont have teeth. The water helps them swallow the food. :)
     
  5. duckins

    duckins Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 29, 2012
    Gladys, Va
    True, they must have water with food or they will choke.
     
  6. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    On, Canada
    I just bed deeper... i use shavings only, i have found that just fine.
     
  7. AddictedToQuack

    AddictedToQuack Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2013
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm a duck newb as well and have not gone through a winter yet. I am not too concerned about it. I am using the DLM in my duck house. I add a new layer to the floor once or twice a week. I stir the top layer daily. From my limited experience, I have found that straw gets packed down really easy and covered in poop quickly. It is harder to stir around too. I have been using dry leaves for the most part. I have access to lots. It keeps the house smelling great and they are easy to move around in the morning. They don't seem to get all caked in poop either. My plan is to rake the leave up when dry, bag them, and store them in a dry location until needed. One garbage bag does me two weeks with a 6x6 foot coop. It might do me longer after I get rid of a few excess drakes. This may change over the winter if the ducks spend more time inside. I do not feed or water inside either. I have not decided if I want to do a complete cleanout before winter or if it can wait until spring.

    Good luck with whatever method you choose.

    Chris
     
  8. brandilly

    brandilly Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 3, 2013
    Kelso, Washington
    Thanks, everyone! I like to read about different styles!
     
  9. lorain's fids

    lorain's fids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2011
    New Jersey
    I am new to ducks also. I have 3- 1 Pekin and 2 Mallards since June 29th, they were about 3 days old when I got them. In there duck house I have been using pine shavings. In the morning I take out what ever poop I see on top of the shavings , if more shavings are needed then I had a scoop or two. It seems that I can go about a week and a half before it needs to be completely changed. When all the shavings are out I wipe the floor and walls down with vinegar. I think the next bag of shavings I will try the fine ones instead of the flakes. It may be easier to see the poop on top then. I put the old shavings on the ground in their run. I am learning as I go just like I did with my chickens, rabbits, birds, turtles, dogs.....,..
     
  10. laurihof

    laurihof New Egg

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    Feb 26, 2013
    I'm wondering if pea gravel is OK in the area where the ducks' food and water is located? Would that be harmful to their feet or not? Anyone know? Thanks!
     

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