duck poop odors

chickfan

Songster
10 Years
Oct 12, 2009
273
7
119
Leander, TX
What a topic! I have 10 little fowl in a brooder in the house. 2 ducks, 3 guineas, and 5 chicks...all about 19 days old. I absolutely have no other place to put them, and the odor is getting to be a bit overwhelming. I heard from someone in another thread on this board, that the duck poop is what is creating such a strong odor. I have had chickens alone in the brooder in the house before, and never had an odor problem. My question at the moment is this: can this odor be harmful to my health? They are in my computer room, where I spend the majority of my time, and I'm starting to wonder if this might be less than healthy for me. And two grandchildren will be here next week...ages 4 and 7...and they like to spend time in the computer room also. I don't want to risk their health either. Has this problem been addressed before, or does anyone have a take on this? The odor also could be from the guineas...I have never raised them before.
I would love to hear that it isn't a health problem at all, but I do have a bad feeling about it.
Thanks for any opinions!
 

CorralitosSunflower

Songster
10 Years
Jun 24, 2009
212
7
111
Corralitos
The odor is from the ducklings for sure. We brooded 4 of them and even with a complete bedding change everyday our house stank! My husband will never let me do it again, lol. I better hope one of my girls wants to be a mommy. I can have any thing else I want just no more ducklings
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(I do love my babies very much despite it though, they can't help it).
I would suggest using wood chips if you aren't already and do your very best to keep the water from being spilled on the bedding. The worst smell we dealt with came from the aweful mix of food, water and poop that sat for even an hour. I found it helped to use a watering container that came up to the ducklings neck and they could only barely get their whole beak in, this helped control the water spillage (they still found a way though). I don't know if you can do that with your other babies in there at the same time.
I don't know about health concerns but I imagine any rotting or molding bedding cannot be healthy for you or the babies. I would make sure to change any wet bedding asap which could be several times a day, not all of the bedding but any major areas that are bad. Also make sure you have lots of air circulating in the room open a window, run a fan if you don't have a window. The babies will be fine if they have a heat lamp. Unless they have pre-existing issues like asthma or allergies your grandchildren probably won't be affected much unless they are sleeping in the room without ventilation for an extended period of time.
I don't think there is an easy pain free way to raise ducklings, unless it is done by the mama duck themselves...
 

Dances with Ducks

Songster
11 Years
Sep 28, 2008
1,668
30
161
Central Northern Front Range, Colorado ;)
I agree with everything Nayana said, especially about changing the bedding more frequently and using a type of waterer that the ducklings can only put their heads into. Also a cake pan or something even larger under the waterer to catch as much of the splashes as possible. You also might want to put the ducklings in a separate brooder from the other babies. I wonder if the combination of poop types with the water makes the smell worse.
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
11 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,818
551
Southern New England
ditto on bedding changes. Remember, it really is just for several weeks out of their entire life. Today we are beginning the switch from old towels to pine shavings. The towels were changed at least three times a day.

A two-piece broiler pan works so well to catch spillage from a waterer. Another thing that works great is a large stainless steel salad bowl with a 6 ounce plastic tub with a lid in the bottom. I punched a few holes in the side of the plastic tub to allow water through, put the lid on the plastic tub, put that in the bottom of the salad bowl and place the waterer on the plastic tub. The waterer sits down in the bowl just a few millimeters below the edge of the bowl. They can splash to their hearts' content. It catches about 80 to 90 percent of the water.

Cleaning bedding is not the most pleasant chore, but it really is not hard - I am, well, let's say, on the wisdom side of 50, and I find it just takes 15 to 20 minutes to do a complete change out of food, water, bedding, washup, and replace. For just a bedding change, 5 to 10 minutes. In return, I do not worry about mold, mildew, bacteria, or funky smells, and I enjoy the birds' company. They are used to me messing about in the brooder, which will pay dividends when they are grown, as they won't be as skittery as if I left them mostly alone at this point in their lives.

There should be a tune, to "Don't worry . . . . change the bedding . . . . " dooooo, doooo doooo, doooooo do do do do dee doooooooo . . . . .
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chickfan

Songster
10 Years
Oct 12, 2009
273
7
119
Leander, TX
I'm grateful for the replies, and I believe the only answer is to just change bedding often, and look forward to the day they can go out. Now that the days are warmer here, I bet it would be OK to put them outside during the day and back in at night. Texas sun at only 75 degrees or so, is very hot.
I only have one plastic container that is big enough to use for a breeder. I put newspaper down, and cover that with pine shavings. I might can come up with something to use for a breeder for the ducks and separate them. Then daily clean up would be easier.
When I put my hands down in the breeder, you'd think Godzilla was paying them a visit. I need to calm them down. The guineas are the worst. And speaking of that, their poop may be as bad as a duck's poop.
I do love them though. :0)
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
11 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,818
551
Southern New England
Good for you, chickfan!
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The little ones depend on you, and it sounds like you want the best for them. I know more about ducks than chicks and keets, but watch the temperatures! Too hot is as bad as too cold. And plastic containers don't allow for much fresh air. I used a very large plastic tub for the first two weeks (indoors, in New England).

Because the ducklings are growing like weeds, I decided to go ahead and move them into a "pen" in the room. I had some plastic poultry fence material I had used to make simple composting structures. There was enough left to make a 4 ft by 4 ft enclosure. I have an ancient sheet I use as a draft guard.

I was blessed to be able to afford a puppy playpen as well, which supports the poultry fence nicely. Do you have a small old table that you could use as a frame and put fencing covered with burlap or an old sheet around it? Even a small end table, or an old chair. Just some thoughts . . .

Keep taking good care of those birdies!
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chickfan

Songster
10 Years
Oct 12, 2009
273
7
119
Leander, TX
When I had only chickens in a brooder (19 of them that we hatched), I had them in a cage. They could not get out, and so it being open, they had plenty of ventilation. I watched the temp. carefully. We still have the cage but I believe we had hardware cloth around it, and have since then used that for something else. The big pain was the pine shavings coming out all over the floor. I have been happier using the plastic tub, but I do think I need to get the ducks out. And especially if they are more temperature sensitive.
I'm confused about the ducks. One is, I believe, a Pekin, and I'm sure the other is a mallard. They are both about 3 weeks old. The mallard is about three times smaller than the Pekin. Does that sound right? They seem to get along, but the difference is size is a surprise to me.
I can't think of anything I have to make a pen for them. I do believe I can get the cage fixed again, though. I know the larger duck can't get out of it, but feel sure the little one can, so I guess more hardward cloth is on the menu!
 

duckluck

Dulcimyrh Ducks
10 Years
Oct 22, 2009
1,970
48
221
Illinois
I thought I'd mention that these two ducklings I have here, getting on two weeks old now this Sunday, have so far not been detectable by smell. I am using a Brower brooder (old antique) with a Brower model 65 water base with a mason jar for water. Thus far
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no smellies. Well, except for the water in the jar, which I clean twice a day. *That* gets nasty but doesn't make the surrounding area offensive, just when you pick it up you can smell it. No big mess either...lining the pan with sheets of butcher paper.

Maybe it's because I only have two...I can tell you the mallards I raised as a wildlife rehabillitator smelled godawful...or I have the right setup, or they're just the right size, or maybe a combination of the three. But thought I would share my so-far-success.
 

chickfan

Songster
10 Years
Oct 12, 2009
273
7
119
Leander, TX
Sounds like you have the right name, Duckluck! Or better still, you are doing everything right. I plan to rig up a new brooder for the ducks tomorrow, one way or the other, and then hope the odor will die down a bit....especially if I clean it daily. My only duck experience has been one little mallard last year, and I didn't do anything special. She turned out just fine, and is still here a year later, acting like she thinks she is a chicken since she has no duck buddies. I'll be glad when the two little ones get bigger and then we can see if they will become friends. If our little mallard turns out to be a male, then I'll probably just have to move because I can't stand so much cuteness if we have baby ducks following their mama. :0)
 

classroomducks

Songster
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
350
2
119
Fort Worth, Tx
I recently raised 8 ducklings in my classroom...you wanna talk about smell...I ll be lucky if my principal lets me do it again. I have to say though the best thing i did was change from a waterer...to a water bottle. The ones you use for a hamster...i had 3 32 oz water bottles for my 8 ducks and they went through about 2 1/2 a day. they got them at about 3 weeks old...took them only an hour or two to figure it out. These worked GREAT to cut down on spillage and water food poop mix smell. That all being said. This is only a good idea if you can get your ducks into a swimming pool or bath, or what have you at least once a day to rinse their noses. Having hamster/guinea pig waterbottles saved our project. We could not have kept those stinky babies the 8 weeks that we needed to if we had not had those bottles.
 

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