I need advice as to the best flooring for our new duck pen. I posted this on the predator forum, but I realize that the duck people will know best! I've learned so much recently from reading all of your posts, and really appreciate any advice. This is our situation: We "rescued" three ducklings from a feed and fuel store, when we stopped in to buy supplies for our new chicks. The ducklings were newly hatched, and crammed into a brooder with about 75 chicks, where they couldn't get to the water or even stand up without being surrounded and pecked by the chicks. I convinced my wonderful husband that if we bought the ducklings just to get them out of there, I would find homes for them, or we could release them into one of the nearby parks/lakes in our city. Of course, after five minutes of research, I learned that you can't release domestic ducks, and can't figure out why, after all of my years of experience with all kinds of critters, that I didn't know this fact about ducks. DUMB!!! Anyway, there are many waterfowl rescue organizations in the CA Bay Area, but they are for WILD waterfowl (oil spill cases, etc.), and it was impossible to find someone who rescues domestic ducks. Very shortly it became a moot point, because I am crazy about these silly ducks, so they are going to stick with us. About the pen; we're in the suburbs, racoons are the problem. My husband has been working on a night pen for the ducks, separate from the chickens. He dug down eight inches into our hardpan clay soil, covered the bottom with 1/2" hardware cloth, then dirt, three inches of sand, and three inches of pea gravel. A cyclone fence dog kennel sits on top, the bottom wire is attached, and the kennel is covered on all sides and across the top with the 1/2 inch wire. He's also working on a duck house, with the thought that we could lock them in that at night, but I know that ducks like to stay out, so if we are certain that the pen is secure, then they would have that option. My question is about what to put over the pea gravel. I'm kind of confused about this. I've read David Holderread, and he suggests a thick layer of cedar sawdust, on top of sand, with pea gravel underneath it all. We thought it made more sense for drainage to put the sand down first and then the pea gravel. What I'm trying to figure out is how to adapt this to drought conditions. The pea gravel is ideal as a drain material and is easily washable, but we're trying to conserve water. I'm also not sure how the ducks' webbed feet handle the gravel if that's the top surface. It seems it would be best to have some type of loose material that could be raked daily. Some suggestions I've read are pine shavings, wood chips, mulch, dry leaves, etc. Anyway, sorry this is so long. Any advice from you experienced duck lovers would be appreciated! Thanks!!!