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Ducks -how messy?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Chicks Galore3, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut Premium Member

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    I heard a lot of stories about how messy ducks are. I want to get 3 to 6 in April. The coop I am planning them to live in is (estimate)about 80 square feet. I am planning to use sand bedding, with a large dog house with straw in it for winter for them to keep cozy in. How do you keep your duck enclosure clean? How messy will 3 or 4 be?
     
  2. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    You mean the 80 feet pen is the run, and the dog house is the coop?
    Ducks can be messy because they belong in the water. If you give them bowls, they will get feed and mud in it immediately when they put their beak into it. It really helps if you have them on a natural water source. They NEED something to swim in, and most people do not like to deal with cleaning out the kiddie pool every day or so. They will make messes. Start out with a small number, like half a dozen or less. The brooding phase is the biggest pain because even with a gallon waterer, they need it cleaned out and filled a dozen times an hour. They can choke to death on their food without water, especially as a duckling. With ducks, you will need to frequently mulch the run because they will make it a mud slick, and then play around and drink in the mud. It is way easier to let them free range. It is better for their health, mostly because of their run turning to mud.
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Southern New England
    From my experience brooding eleven Runner ducklings, I did not have to clean and refill a dozen times an hour [​IMG].

    But, ducks are waterfowl and have a special relationship with water. They are water babies. And they must have water with food to avoid choking. I have kept food and water with mine 24/7 for all but a few weeks when they were about 8 weeks old. And then it was just 6 to 8 hours overnight without.

    Here are some links that go over water management.


    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/641902/created-a-water-saver-for-my-duck-brooder

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/679433/water-water-everywhere/10

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/858161/feed-water-solution-for-brooder#post_12901321

    http://frankiemakes.blogspot.ca/2012/06/watering-solution-for-ducks.html

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/259876/do-your-ducks-have-water-at-night/10#post_13568197


    The Day Pen has a nice compost-mulch base, with pea gravel under the swim pans. The whole pen is on a 2% slope, and drains well. I dump the swim pans into a channel that feeds and waters gardens down the hill. Works great.

    I started the base by just having straw, sometimes a little bit of peat, some dried leaves, even once used some coconut coir. High-carbon stuff. The ducks' manure added to that starts the composting process, worms come in from underneath, and it is great. Comfy, no unpleasant aroma, and worms to forage for.

    The 80 square feet sounds good for six ducks (average of 13 sf per duck) if they can also get out for supervised walks. If not, then either three ducks, or twice as much area, based on my recollection of Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks recommendations.

    I take my ducks out for walks. Their Day Pen is about 200 sf for thirteen Runners and Buffs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  4. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Try brooding over twenty ducklings at a time. It sure seemed like a dozen times an hour...
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    [​IMG]I don't doubt your experience! Just wanted to offer what we worked with. I will say, I did not get the water management down very well, it was always a step ahead of me. Not tragic or epic, just a good bit of labor involved. I now have the indoor water thing handled. Shew. Big difference.

    And we had a three gallon waterer. That thing is heavy when it's full of water!
     
  6. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut Premium Member

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    Thank you guys for your input! For clarification, it will be a 80 square foot coop. I thought I saw somewhere that they need something (like a large dog house full of straw) to huddle down in in the winter within the coop.
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Yes, they would need a cozier space with straw, extra protection from the wind, something to hold heat in.
     
  8. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut Premium Member

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    Iowa
    Ok, I thought so! How much space do ducklings need in their brooder?
     
  9. needlessjunk

    needlessjunk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well here is how mine started in a plastic tote/storage bin. It lasted just under a week for my 4 ducklings. They were then upgraded to a kiddie pool and have out grown that but I have been taking them out when the weather js nice and clean it every day. They are now 5 weeks old. They have also outgrown their water container as of today so tomorrow I'm off to figure out something new.

    This is when they first came home
    [​IMG]
    Their first water container
    [​IMG]

    Their first upgrade
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    To this for their water and food
    [​IMG]

    I usually change their water 2-3 times a day and if it runs low by the time morning rolls around it means they need an upgrade. Around 8 weeks I will not leave out food and water all night.
     

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