Floor ideas for small spaces

AubreesDucks

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2020
13
2
21
Hello, I'm brand new to this site and to raising ducks! I have 3 ducklings about 5/6 weeks old and have been learning and making adjustments as I go. I need some advice on their co-op and pen!

I have a small 2' x 3' coop next to a 4' x 8' wire pen/cage. They sleep in the coop, eat and drink in the pen, and forage/roam/swim in the yard almost the entire day. They're locked up in the pen for breakfast and about a half hour before bedtime and anytime I leave the house.

I use pine shavings in the coop and had the pen just sitting on grass until they mucked up the small space enough that I started a bit of shavings in their pen as well. I have read a littke about the deep litter method, but I'm either doing it wrong, or it's maybe not for me. I imagine that my ducks might enjoy a much larger coop and pen, but I figured we could get away with smaller with only 3 ducks and a decent sized yard.

Here are my questions:
1. Is there a less stinky option for the coop bedding?
2. With turning and fresh bedding layers daily, how often should I change bedding in such a small coop?
3. Since the ducks roam most of the day, could I build a platform under the pen I could just hose off instead of grass/bedding?

I'm LOVING these ducks, but I also have a bunch of kids and other critters to look after so I'm looking for simpler, less smelly, and easier to clean.

To anyone who read this far...THANK YOU!
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Floof

Songster
Sep 28, 2015
303
265
181
Deep litter didn't work for me and ducks either. I've settled on just rotating their penned area. I toyed with the idea of keeping their night time quarters elevated with a wire floor but haven't gotten around to building and testing anything yet.
 

AubreesDucks

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2020
13
2
21
Deep litter didn't work for me and ducks either. I've settled on just rotating their penned area. I toyed with the idea of keeping their night time quarters elevated with a wire floor but haven't gotten around to building and testing anything yet.
Thanks for the quick reply! My husband would rather they not move around in the yard, and I want to respect that. They at least get to roam during the day. Would you put bedding over their wire floor for warmth? Winter is very cold where I live and mine will probably need bedding.

I like the idea of the elevated wire floor for a pen though. Not too soft, but mine wouldn't be in there all that often.
 

LT71689

Chirping
Jul 5, 2020
235
342
83
Canada
So, your space is pretty small. A common recommendation is 4sqft PER bird for their coop and bigger for their pen, even if they get free yard time.

When you've got a bigger area, keeping their litter clean becomes easier because theyve got more space to spread out and not soak it so badly, you can actually scoop out soiled litter instead of changing the whole thing out which helps keep the smell down and make it last longer, and a larger box is easier for you to move around in as well. From what I've read, deep litter is really quite deep, like you'll end up with a foot or so of discarded bedding by the time its ready for a restart. You'd likely need a taller coop for that to work properly. It seems to be something you need to settle on before making any plans or purchases because it requires a specific set up that a lot of pre-built stuff isnt suited to. The lack of space as it gets deeper and potential for poor ventilation can make an undesirable result at best, dangerous at worst (thanks to mold and ammonia build up)

You could pave/deck over their pen floor but you risk foot issues due to the hard surface (even if they spend most of their day in the yard) You could collect leaves and grass cuttings to scatter in the pen as a cheap and easy ground saver, but if the pen doesnt move around it will likely eventually become just a dirt patch - they'll wind up packing the dirt down and grass just wont get a chance to grow back with the traffic and them digging around in it.
 

AubreesDucks

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2020
13
2
21
So, your space is pretty small. A common recommendation is 4sqft PER bird for their coop and bigger for their pen, even if they get free yard time.

When you've got a bigger area, keeping their litter clean becomes easier because theyve got more space to spread out and not soak it so badly, you can actually scoop out soiled litter instead of changing the whole thing out which helps keep the smell down and make it last longer, and a larger box is easier for you to move around in as well. From what I've read, deep litter is really quite deep, like you'll end up with a foot or so of discarded bedding by the time its ready for a restart. You'd likely need a taller coop for that to work properly. It seems to be something you need to settle on before making any plans or purchases because it requires a specific set up that a lot of pre-built stuff isnt suited to. The lack of space as it gets deeper and potential for poor ventilation can make an undesirable result at best, dangerous at worst (thanks to mold and ammonia build up)

You could pave/deck over their pen floor but you risk foot issues due to the hard surface (even if they spend most of their day in the yard) You could collect leaves and grass cuttings to scatter in the pen as a cheap and easy ground saver, but if the pen doesnt move around it will likely eventually become just a dirt patch - they'll wind up packing the dirt down and grass just wont get a chance to grow back with the traffic and them digging around in it.
Thank you for the reply. You're confirming what I knew all along deep inside. My ducks need more space. I wish I had done more research before getting them! I asked my husband to help me build something. He seemed reluctant (he though the ducks would be a little less maintenance) but he's willing to help.

So let's say a 4 sq. ft. per duck coop, and a bigger (walk in!) pen/run, can happen. Deep litter method would be more attainable in the coop, and what do you recommend for the pen?

Could I just spray off/down the poop? I've heard just about every flooring possible is bad for their feet or a lot of work or money or all of the above.

Thank you again!
 

AubreesDucks

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2020
13
2
21
So, your space is pretty small. A common recommendation is 4sqft PER bird for their coop and bigger for their pen, even if they get free yard time.

When you've got a bigger area, keeping their litter clean becomes easier because theyve got more space to spread out and not soak it so badly, you can actually scoop out soiled litter instead of changing the whole thing out which helps keep the smell down and make it last longer, and a larger box is easier for you to move around in as well. From what I've read, deep litter is really quite deep, like you'll end up with a foot or so of discarded bedding by the time its ready for a restart. You'd likely need a taller coop for that to work properly. It seems to be something you need to settle on before making any plans or purchases because it requires a specific set up that a lot of pre-built stuff isnt suited to. The lack of space as it gets deeper and potential for poor ventilation can make an undesirable result at best, dangerous at worst (thanks to mold and ammonia build up)

You could pave/deck over their pen floor but you risk foot issues due to the hard surface (even if they spend most of their day in the yard) You could collect leaves and grass cuttings to scatter in the pen as a cheap and easy ground saver, but if the pen doesnt move around it will likely eventually become just a dirt patch - they'll wind up packing the dirt down and grass just wont get a chance to grow back with the traffic and them digging around in it.
Oops just reread your response. Grass clippings work in the pen? I accept that the ground won't be pretty in a stationary pen. Do the grass clippings just help to keep it dry-ish?
 

Floof

Songster
Sep 28, 2015
303
265
181
Oops just reread your response. Grass clippings work in the pen? I accept that the ground won't be pretty in a stationary pen. Do the grass clippings just help to keep it dry-ish?
I wouldn't recomend green grass clippings unless you do a VERY thin sprinkling. When I tried to put about an inch of grass clippings down in their pen in the spring it all got moldy and very heavy and hard to rake back out. Maybe if you dry them on a tarp in the sun first it would work better but I didn't try it.
 

AstroDuck

Songster
Aug 28, 2020
322
477
136
I use pine pellets in my coop and then have a metal cat litter scoop that I spot clean with once a day. There is no smell and it's always clean.
 

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