Duck won't stop eating dirt... What do I do?!?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Katinas.Quacked, Jun 23, 2017.

  1. Katinas.Quacked

    Katinas.Quacked Hatching

    3
    0
    7
    Jun 7, 2017
    I am a new duck and chic owner, and my duck who I now 6-8 weeks old won't stop picking up/eating dirt. I am concerned because my dirt has very high amounts of clay and iron. So much in fact my soil is magnetic. This is worrying me because of metal poisoning. Well and now she is teaching my other duck who is 1-2 weeks younger then her. In their pen I made a small water feature which they absolutely love but they are doing it so much the Dirt around the pool is missing. I see them spit it out a lot into the pool. Should I be concerned and if so what do I do? I really will appreciate any knowledge or info you can provide and school me on. Thank you
     
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    I don't think you have anything to worry about....Ducks eat dirt and love to noodle in mud....Its what all Ducks do....
     
    DuckPoop likes this.
  3. gal5150

    gal5150 Songster

    364
    159
    131
    Mar 30, 2016
    California
    They're doing what's called drilling. Rapidly sifting the dirt for insects then sifting again directly into the water. Totally natural, normal duck behavior...one of their favorites, actually. There's no way to make them stop. I understand your concerns about the composition of your soil. Heavy metal poisoning in birds is no joke and iron is one that can cause toxicity. Perhaps you can get your soil analyzed so you know the specific amount of iron in it? While the do ingest some soil while drilling, it's not much. On the rare days they do, their poop looks like mud. If you're not seeing that frequently I wouldn't be too concerned.
     
  4. mosse71

    mosse71 Songster

    118
    57
    116
    Oct 18, 2016
    n. maine
    like was said, normal duck behavior. i lay straw around their kiddie pool every few weeks so their pen isn't pure mud. maybe a 12in. layer of straw would ease your mind. they will still drill in it but they won't get so much soil if you keep reapplying occasionally. good luck!
     
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    I keep my kiddie pools out of the pens...They swim when let out to free range...Straw rots quick and moulds quickly...Gravel around the pools works best.... Then hose it off....
     
    mosse71 likes this.
  6. mosse71

    mosse71 Songster

    118
    57
    116
    Oct 18, 2016
    n. maine
    thats a good idea! i have the pool outside at the end of the run so its far from the coop. they're so spoiled to it i couldn't take it from them now. how thick did you lay the gravel?
     
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Sand for drainage and thick enough so it does not wash away....
     
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Use a pail to bail out the water and toss away from the area and then dump out the rest....
     
  9. Katinas.Quacked

    Katinas.Quacked Hatching

    3
    0
    7
    Jun 7, 2017
    Thank you so much. That eases my mind A LOT!! I will keep an eye on their poop also. The other thing I am worried about is.. I let them out free range for the first time 2 days ago and I was having to follow them around lime a 2 year old because they were picking up every cigarette butt they could find. I am a smoker and have friends that are also(though I will be quiting). What should I do?!? Im really worried about them getting really sick. I have been going o an obsessive butt hunt. But I know I won't be able to find them all. Will they grow out of it? Thank you so much for am your very insightful information, much appreciated.!
     
  10. Katinas.Quacked

    Katinas.Quacked Hatching

    3
    0
    7
    Jun 7, 2017
    My chicken didn't have the same problem.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: