duck maintenance. Whats your routine!?

atucker

Chirping
Jun 22, 2021
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96
86
My not so little anymore ones will be leaving the brooder in my basement soon and moving to their outdoor coop with enclosed run. I will probably let them free range during the day when they are older.
I am getting so many mixed ideas and reviews on how to best care for them and with winter approaching I want to get it right!! Our winters a cold and snowy.

I will lock them in the coop at night. No food in there, maybe water (what's your thoughts?)
I am going for less mess, less work but also want them to be happy and healthy of course!
I am also torn on if I should have a stock filled feeder that I fill every so often? Or should I feed them several times a day. I have heard both.

How about mucking out their coop. Can I do it seasonally like my chickens or does it need to happen more often? Straw is best for breaking down, but how bad will it smell? They are next to my house so I can keep them safe... my ducklings brooder is 1000x stinkier than my chicks have ever been and I clean the ducklings 4 times a day!

Any other types or ideas that I should know of! All opinions and advice are welcomed and needed!! Thank you fellow duck lovers!
 

fatty and friends

Songster
Premium Feather Member
May 27, 2020
883
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michigan
mine get food and water in their nighttime pens, i spot clean daily and do a full cleaning weekly though so it doesn’t get gross (mine also don’t have an outdoor coop at night, but are outside all day when the weather isn’t below freezing) and i use wood shavings since they seem to be comfier and easier to clean

free ranging unless your yard is fenced in and you are home is extremely dangerous, literally everything will kill them if they are without you.

make sure they swim daily no matter what, if not they’ll get wet feather and other sicknesses (some people say ducks don’t need to swim in the winter, that’s completely untrue they should be swimming daily)

also seems weird but buy them toys lol, my ducks LOVE their toys.
 

atucker

Chirping
Jun 22, 2021
53
96
86
Love the toy comment, I deff will!
I planned to only let them out if I can be with them and if they need to get some more space etc. I made sure there run was large enough and they will have access to the coop as well. How do you clean in the winter? same weekly clean out or is that mostly for warmer weather?
 

HollowOfWisps

Previously AstroDuck
Premium Feather Member
Aug 28, 2020
1,352
2,648
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Iowa
Food and Water at night:

My ducks have access to food and water 24/7. Some people feed at certain times usually because of the mess or rodents. Honestly I've found whether I feed 2-3x a day or leave the food our 24/7 the amount of mice I catch in the traps is the same regardless. We have 30 acres of field so there is going to be mice regardless of what we do. That being said I have now 5 different feeding stations which are filled just enough that daily I can do a quick rinse/dry of their dishes so the food is fresh. I also keep all food in big metal garbage cans with a metal lid so the mice can't contaminate their food. As far as mess from the water I put round trays with a tall lip under each bucket to catch any spills which prevents their bedding from getting soggy.

Summer Cleaning:

I rake around the bedding in my ducks pens daily and then once a week I muck out any heavily soiled areas. Right now I'm at about every two weeks I completely remove all bedding, power wash cobwebs and stuck on poo and then after I apply a disinfectant. I was fully cleaning/disinfecting only once a month, but with the warmer weather I have been doing it more often.

Winter Cleaning:

In the winter I do a layer of pine pellets, then pine shavings and then topped with chopped straw. Where I live we had a good month sub-zero (I'm talking 30 below) and then the month before and after it stayed anywhere from 1-10 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm not a fan of the deep litter method, but I tell ya...that sub zero month I just added fresh bedding once a week on top. That month just doing duck chores I had to wear goggles and a full head scarf wrap under my parka hood because otherwise my eyelashes freeze together and my hair freezes to my head😂

Winter Swimming:

At our old house my ducks had a full pool with fresh water 365 days a year. However, when moved across country in February of this year to the Midwest keeping a pool from freezing was impossible in the negative temperatures even with the water heaters. My bucket heaters all froze then broke and so did my heated dishes it was that cold. I had never been in temperatures so cold and it became more of a priority keeping my ducks and their drinking water from freezing then their pools. This year we are enclosing a lean-to that will be heated above freezing with stock tanks that will hopefully keep my stock tank heaters from freezing.

Toys:

My ducks also love toys. This one from chewy is their favorite. https://www.chewy.com/bonka-bird-toys-bellpull-bird-toy/dp/175761
148939_PT1._AC_SY400_V1526594213_.jpg
 

sowNreap

Songster
Aug 16, 2021
107
245
106
TN
also seems weird but buy them toys lol, my ducks LOVE their toys.

My ducks also love toys. This one from chewy is their favorite. https://www.chewy.com/bonka-bird-toys-bellpull-bird-toy/dp/175761

What makes for a good toy for ducks?

My ducks seem to want to eat anything & everything. Had one find & tried to chew on piece of Styrofoam today. I don't worry about them eating poisonous plants they seem to know which aren't good for them, but I worry they'll find something in the yard that chokes them. I had one pulling the bark off my Crape Myrtle & trying to eat it. And one gnawing on old wild grape vine stump.

I'm afraid mine would tear that Chewy toy apart & try to eat it.
 

HollowOfWisps

Previously AstroDuck
Premium Feather Member
Aug 28, 2020
1,352
2,648
296
Iowa
What makes for a good toy for ducks?

My ducks seem to want to eat anything & everything. Had one find & tried to chew on piece of Styrofoam today. I don't worry about them eating poisonous plants they seem to know which aren't good for them, but I worry they'll find something in the yard that chokes them. I had one pulling the bark off my Crape Myrtle & trying to eat it. And one gnawing on old wild grape vine stump.

I'm afraid mine would tear that Chewy toy apart & try to eat it.
None of my ducks have been able to take it apart🤷 The bells are attached with little chains. Even my 3 & 4 year old boys tried to take it apart to play with the ball and they were having trouble.
 

fatty and friends

Songster
Premium Feather Member
May 27, 2020
883
3,474
241
michigan
What makes for a good toy for ducks?

My ducks seem to want to eat anything & everything. Had one find & tried to chew on piece of Styrofoam today. I don't worry about them eating poisonous plants they seem to know which aren't good for them, but I worry they'll find something in the yard that chokes them. I had one pulling the bark off my Crape Myrtle & trying to eat it. And one gnawing on old wild grape vine stump.

I'm afraid mine would tear that Chewy toy apart & try to eat it.
get parrot/small animal toys and check the info on chewy, most of those are completely safe if an animal tries to eat them

mine’s favorite toys are snuffle mat, cat bell balls, burrow toys, stuffed animals, snuggle puppy, parrot toys, and one of my boys will even chase a frisbee!
 

DukesDucks

Crowing
Oct 6, 2019
753
2,550
286
Eastern Ontario, Canada
Always helps when answering if you add your location. Just use general terms.

I am in Eastern Ontario, Canada, when we have months of well below freezing temperatures, and lots of snow. My ducks have a wood coop with an attached run. I use shavings.

In the summer I spot clean daily, and do a complete clean out about every month. They are shut into the coop at night, with no food or water. Never leave ducks with food without water. I use gravity feed water bowls the same as you can purchase for large dogs. They also have a pool. Water in both is changed daily. I have a large, gravity filled feeder that I add to daily. Every couple of weeks I dump it out because a lot of powdery stuff accumulates in the bottom.

In the winter I also spot clean as much as possible. By mid-March, I would need a pick-axe to get all the poop out. I just keep adding more shavings. As soon as possible in the spring, I clean it right down to the floor and start summer routine. Their food and water are still only available in the run when I let them out in the morning. I have to bring the water containers in each night to thaw. They do not have a pool in the winter.

Mine free-range under supervision. After a heavy snow, I feel badly for the first duck cutting a trail, so I often go and stomp out some paths for them.

I would suggest you get yours outside to the coop and run as soon as possible. They need to acclimatize to the cooling weather. I would also not let them free-range for several weeks until them are used to the coop and run as home. You can train them early to return to the coop when called by providing special treats that they only get then.

Good luck.
 

sowNreap

Songster
Aug 16, 2021
107
245
106
TN
None of my ducks have been able to take it apart
Ok thanks good to know.

get parrot/small animal toys and check the info on chewy, most of those are completely safe if an animal tries to eat them

mine’s favorite toys are snuffle mat, cat bell balls, burrow toys, stuffed animals, snuggle puppy, parrot toys, and one of my boys will even chase a frisbee!

Great info. Thanks. I did have to Google snuffle mat though. lol


Sorry @atucker, I didn't mean to hijack your thread, but the toy thing caught my attention.
 

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