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ducks are so incredibly dirty!!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by milo2145, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. milo2145

    milo2145 In the Brooder

    Jan 29, 2010
    huntsville texas
    I have had chickens for a while, 11 of them, and they are nice and clean, I have them in a mesh bottom cage, so their poop falls through, and I move the cage around now and again, their nesting boxes are full of nice clean straw, which I hardly ever have to change, their waterer stays fresh and clean for a few days.

    my son begged me for some ducklings, they are so cute!, but I have never seen anything so DIRTY!!, they are about 2 weeks old now, I have them in a pen about 10 feet by 6 with a nice kiddie pool in it, a feeder and grass, I can clean out that kiddie pool, and they will dirty in within an HOUR, they poo in it, put their food and mud in it, swish the water out and make their pen mud, put mud and food in their water, put water and mud in their food, their little bellies are constantly full of mud.

    also they don't seem as "smart" as the chickens, maybe they are just young and need to grow, but they are so darn stupid!!, they will wriggle like the dickens when you pick them up, and try and drop themselves on the floor, they will run into the sides of the cage when I try and pick them up, and WOW I never knew duck feet could be so SHARP!!, I thought they were nice soft web, but those ducklings scratch the hell out of my fingers.

    as you can tell, I am not too fond of them right now, they are a lot of work, mean, dirty and stupid!! hopefully when they are on the big lake they will be better and more useful, they do seem to be eating mosquitoes, so they may redeem themselves!

    sorry duck lovers, just venting a little!

  2. DuckLady

    DuckLady ~~~Administrator~~~BYC Store Support Staff Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    Their cuteness outweighs all that.

    Soon you will forget all about those piddly little details when you are laughing at their antics. [​IMG]
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Well, it is good that you shared your concerns. There is quite a bit of duck management experience represented on this forum, and I hope that some of us can offer some ideas that will help you work with your ducks so that you are all better off.

    The run my ducks are in has sawdust or other organic, non-soil material on it at all times. Their swim pans are on top of a few inches of pea gravel. Those two things get rid of the mud. The run itself drains well. I have a small channel from the area of the swim pans that goes to my grape garden bed, so in one motion I empty the old water and fertilize and water the grapes. I empty the water once a day. The pans are about 2ft by 3ft, 8 inches deep.

    Have you read Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks? It has some good information about duck behavior and how to set things up so they work pretty well. The forum provides good information, too.

    Ducks can make a mess, certainly, compared to chickens. But my eleven runners are in pretty good shape. I keep their water and food out of their little house, so it stays pretty dry and clean. I lightly rake of fresh poop from their bedding in the morning, fluff up the bedding, and add a thin layer of shavings. There is a small night pen attached to their house. That is where their drinking water and food go. Once or twice a week I scrape out the damp dirty bedding (sawdust mostly). Underneath is a layer of a couple of inches of sand, on top of hardware cloth to prevent predators from digging under.

    It drains pretty well, but does get wet often enough that I need to change that material out. It doesn't require more than a few bucket fulls of used bedding moved onto the compost pile or garden bed, then I start putting down a layer of shavings, topping it off every few days, till it needs to be changed again.

    The reward it a relatively nice-smelling setup, clean ducks, clean eggs, happy duck-keeper.

    My ducks are some of the happiest creatures I have ever met, and I hope you and yours can work things out. The potential is there.
  4. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    Jan 11, 2010
    I agree with Terrielacy - I have nearly 30 assorted aged ducklings in my house at the moment and took time off work to be home with them all. I am loving having the extra time with them all- and it takes forever to make sure they all get cuddles. I have 4 different group - separated by size- and I love each group equally- the youngest just coz they are so cute- the two week olds as they have been around long enough for me to discover the individual personalities they have. The lounge room group ( 6 in that box ) are tall enough to stick their heads out of the brooder- and I love to sit beside it as they come to the side of the box and nibble on my hair face and clothes. The oldest had their first outside swim today. It was good to see them running around the pond and jumping in and out of the pool.
    My adults are more independent- but I love sitting out in the yard just watching them.
  5. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    It's just their nature. Unlike upland game birds (chickens, etc), waterfowl have naturally very loose droppings and eat even more -- my theory this is to compensate for the low caloric density of the intake of their naturally watered-down food -- they are filter feeders to an extent not unlike some of the giant sea creatures that feed on plankton.

    It's all in having a good management strategy and then following through. They are a lot more work than chickens in this sense == more poo plus more water means more frequent cleaning.

    But, as much as I enjoy the chickens, I enjoy the ducks more, and personally I think they're smarter than chickens.

    I do mine on deep litter that is turned every day to every other day, top dressed as needed, probably every 5 to 7 days, and mucked out every 3-4 weeks. I use straw when necessary, but I actually have used oak leaves gathered along the curbsides in the fall for free, which I have found to be just an excellent bedding -- they don't compact fast, the natural acidity keeps the growth of pathogens down, and the ducks love rooting through the fresh ones for acorns. Best of all, their free. Only downside is it takes a LOT of storage room to keep them dry from the fall through the entire year -- I am now almost totally out after storing close to 100 bags and will have to buy straw to get me through the next three months until fall comes around again.
  6. Blooming chicks

    Blooming chicks Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    Bucks County
    I agree with Amiga--set up is everything. I would definately use gravel under your pool--the mud will start to smell if you dont have substrate that drains well. Also, If you plan to free range them during the day, you'll find they are less destructive in your gardens than your chickens and are good at bug and weed clearing. I regretted my decision at first (while they were brooder bound) but now I'm looking at replacing my chickens (as they pass naturally) with ducks. Mine are very friendly and will often come to the door looking for treats. Hope it get s better for you. Good luck.
  7. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    I have had chickens for a while, 11 of them, and they are nice and clean

    Chicken dirt is just a different kind of dirt. Dust??? Hellloooo!​

  8. Tropical Chook

    Tropical Chook Songster

    Jul 5, 2010

    Don't feel alone, because I'm also still trying to come to terms with my duck, and I only have two at the moment. Also, I've not yet finished making their own suburb, so they're boarding with my chooks, and it's really not an ideal situation at the moment.

    First of all, the nesting boxes for my hens were quite low, and Mr Duck seems to have taken a liking to the soft bedding in the one nest all my layers use. Don't ask me how, but he has not yet broken a single egg. Anyway, today I moved the nesting boxes a little higher up in the hope that Donald Duck won't manage to get in.

    The other problem I have at the moment is that my only really large hen went broody and spent two weeks on eggs which ended up being infertile. Now she has laid claim to another fine lady's children, and as a result, she keeps everyone and anyone running for cover as soon as she gets close. All my other hens are semi-wild Thai chickens and they're lightning fast, but the ducks are just no match for my kidnapping hen. With that said, she is not too hard on the ducks, and I will be moving them out quite soon. Thanks to a certain member on here (you know who you are), I'm now in the process of building a pond as well.....lol.

    I do like the ducks though, and in any case, they're only about three or four months old, and if I had not taken them from their previous owner, they would have joined the rest of the flock at the slaughter house. Of course I will be reminding them of this once they reach adulthood, as I expected an egg or two in return. All in all, I think they're pretty awesome, and once I have their humble abode constructed, I'm sure we'll all get along nicely.

    I think your best bet is to keep reading posts on here and then make changes as and when you can - Enjoy.
  9. Kedreeva

    Kedreeva Longfeather Lane

    Jun 10, 2010
    Milo, don't feel alone lol! I just hatched out a bunch of ducks for a friend of mine who couldn't get her eggs to 'go' in her incubator, and they are a MESS. Don't get me wrong, they are ADORABLE and I would love to keep one of them, but they are as much of a mess as I remember them being some 6-8 years ago when I adopted a single duckling from a swap meet.

    Right now I have the 6 big ones in a long rabbit/ferret cage with a deep water dish that they can't get in or out of without a ramp. The ramp sort of gives them a few seconds to 'drain' the water off them but in reality it doesn't stop them from tracking water everywhere. It DID help keep them from putting all their food into the water, though! I still have to change it twice a day though. And the bedding (pine shavings and hay) i have to change out every other day because it's just coated everywhere in the cage.... I love them but I will be happy when they go to their new home and I can go back to my nice clean chickies.

    Good luck with them, they will be less stressful once they're big enough to wander about instead of be in a cage.
  10. smurfboe

    smurfboe In the Brooder

    Jul 10, 2009
    Phillipston, MA
    Quote:Thanks for the ideas I need to try that pea gravel thing. I keep filling in holes in my pen from the "water flavoring" fo the pool.

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