Ducks and deep litter discussion

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Trimurtisan, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. Yes

    7 vote(s)
  2. No

    2 vote(s)
  3. Thinking about it

    6 vote(s)
  4. Tried and did not like

    0 vote(s)
  1. Trimurtisan

    Trimurtisan Team flappy foot

    May 22, 2019
    A cypress swamp in FL
    Hey there folks.

    I've been doing a ton of research in order to build a duck house. When I came across deep litter I liked the idea, but there doesn't seem to be much info on it in regards to ducks.

    I read the thread at...
    but that thread is 5 years old, and most of the members are no longer active.

    I wrote @Miss Lydia to see if she still used the method, to which she does. She also suggested starting this thread, so here I am.

    While reading through...
    I noticed a few people added their own touch to the process, (DE, yearly, semi-yearly, so on). However most of it was directly for chicken. (It's 245 pages, sorry if I missed a duck chunk). I'd love to hear who does it, if you have any special touches, and generally how you feel about it.

    I find it to be a bit fascinating myself. Duck waste compost is one of the biggest benefits to me of having the ducks. However I've been cleaning the hay/shavings every couple of days and it's a bit of pain, even for the compost benefit.

    Anyways, topic is up for discussion (hopefully ;))... What are your opinions?

    quackiemama and MagpieDucks like this.
  2. Mad Murduck

    Mad Murduck Chirping

    May 20, 2019
    Virginia usa
    I've been using it for two weeks and have no complaints. I've got 6 ducklings a month old in a temporary setup in the garage. They did the first two weeks in the bathtub and that was a sweet hot mess,so pine was the next logical step. Initially I had planned to simply change it frequently but after containing most of the water they would be spilling found that a little sweet pdz and fresh shavings are doing a pretty good job. Dont get me wrong, it's still not a scent that I would bottle ,but it smells much better than wet brewers yeast and poop in the bathroom and I know from hands and knees experience that they are sleeping on dry bedding. I imagine that once the outdoor house is finished ,bacteria will be cooking up a storm. My ducks do spend a good chunk of the day outside with me and that cuts down on the shear volume of waste in the pen. That's my experience so far, I will report back in a week and let you know if I am still a fan.
  3. Daphne_loves_mealworms

    Daphne_loves_mealworms Crowing

    May 13, 2018
    I did a kind of modified deep litter over the winter to help provide extra warmth. It also decreased the amount of cleaning I needed to do on a daily basis, which was great when it was frigid and snowy.

    However, I use a much thinner layer of shavings with straw for nesting material in warmer weather and go through a lot of bedding as I clean out all dirty bedding daily. I compost all old bedding.

    I wouldn’t say I’m set in my ways at this point, and am still looking for better methods, but I certainly see the benefit of deep litter in winter.
  4. Jpat

    Jpat Free Ranging

    Apr 30, 2018
    Nova scotia
    i got a 6 inch deep layer in my coop and scoop it like cat litter
  5. DuckyDonna

    DuckyDonna Free Ranging

    Aug 26, 2018
    Dallas, Georgia
    That's exactly what I do, winter and summer. I always carefully extract the big poop piles with a garden fork every morning so I'm not wasting a lot of hay and just throw it out into the run. When it gets broken down a bit more into the garden it goes! I use hay because it's free. I do a complete clean out twice a year and my floor is never wet.
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    I have used deep litter probably at least 8-10 yrs I wouldn’t use any thing else it’s so easy to go in daily for me (retired) and scoop out wet shaving stir up the bedding and add as needed I keep about 8” in winter probably 6 in summer. I never do a complete clean out because I am constantly cleaning and stirring and adding so it pretty much takes care of itself. During winter I use more bedding my birds are inside longer. But clean up is still easy and doesn’t take long. The spent shaving get dumped around the fenced area and once it’s broken down it goes around plants. I highly rec using deep litter I have chickens ducks and geese on this method.
  7. DuckyDonna

    DuckyDonna Free Ranging

    Aug 26, 2018
    Dallas, Georgia
    You have tons more experience than I do. I wasn't sure what it was going to look like underneath and I wanted to check the floor to make sure it was dry which it was except for one or two tiny spots. So I emptied it all out which I now realize was not necessary. The closer it got to spring I just took out the poopy hay and did not replenish until I got way down and then did the clean sweep.
    Trimurtisan likes this.
  8. WannaBeHillBilly

    WannaBeHillBilly Crossing the Road

    Sep 2, 2018
    Big Chimney, WV
    My Coop
    My ducks sleep on a wooden platform so their bedding has no contact with the ground, therefore i cannot use the deep litter method. During the last winter i just kept adding new straw on top - mainly because i broke a foot and was unable to clean out the douse entirely and it worked quite well. I used straw, hay and dry leaves as bedding and the straw, together with the fact that air can get through the bedding from below everything was dry and the ducks stayed warm.
    The drawback is that when you finally clean out everything, you will be confronted with the dried out »left behinds« of several months at once, which is a dusty and likely hazardous mess. I was wearing a breathing mask and 17 ducks looked puzzled at me while i was working.
    The new bedding consists of a ½ foot layer of hay at the bottom. This will clump together with the duck poop and form some kind of "mattress" that can be rolled up and brought outside in one piece without producing too much dust. On top of the hay another 1/2 foot of straw keeps the ducks warm and dry, any droppings will fall through the straw into the hay for a while and when this layer of straw becomes too dirty, another layer of straw will be added and so on until late fall when i must clean out the whole house again.
    I must add that my ducks have access to food and water 24x7 which they love. They get up several times during the night, leave their bedrooms, drink a bit and have a snack and then go back to bed and continue to sleep.
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    I am doing deep litter on wood floors with vinyl over. Works great.
  10. WannaBeHillBilly

    WannaBeHillBilly Crossing the Road

    Sep 2, 2018
    Big Chimney, WV
    My Coop
    So it is very likely the air coming through the gaps between the planks of the duck-platform that is preventing the composting process to start.
    When the duck house was empty on Saturday afternoon, i thought about covering the floor and the walls up to a certain height with a plastic tarp but decided against out of fear of trapping air and moisture and growing mold.
    And then i built in three nest boxes for the duckies which ruled out the tarp permanently:

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