Good winter duck bedding??

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by bufforp89, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. bufforp89

    bufforp89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    Chenango Forks NY
    This is my first winter with ducks and geese. What is good bedding to use in the duck house that will keep them warm and dry? I dont plan on having any water in their house so it should stay pretty dry but Im worried about them tracking stuff in. Anyone?
  2. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    I use wood shavings. Straw tends to freeze in a big lump.
  3. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

  4. DuckMamaorBust

    DuckMamaorBust Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 15, 2009
    Westford, MA
    Rainplace - Thanks for saving those links! I'm in the process of going through them but everything I've seen so far is chickens.

    A lot of people talk about throwing ina handful of corn and the chickens will scratch everything in for you. However, will ducks do that too?

    If you use DLM do the ducks need a ramp to get to the top of the litter?

    Are there any other duck adaptations for DLM?
  5. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    It's new to me, and I'm only 6 weeks into it. I started with 6 inches. Since then I have added another full bag of compressed shavings. (I have a 8x12 shed) There seem to be certain areas that just get the stink. The one link talks about taking off that top layer and putting it in a corner. I did this and when it dried out it was just fine. Ducks won't scratch it. I have to do it myself every morning. Takes me about 2 minutes.

    So far it is working. We'll see how it goes over the winter.
  6. Dances with Ducks

    Dances with Ducks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I also have a question about the deep litter method. Do the ducks bury their eggs in it? If so how do you deal with that?
  7. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    I don't have any egg layers yet, but I would imagine that you would be able to tell if they had since the shavings compact down.
  8. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    I use DLM, and I don't have to add a ramp or anything--it never gets more than a few inches deep, because the ducks compact it with their feet, and the soil organisms are constantly breaking it down from below anyway. Of course, it may be different if your winter is colder than ours, because it may not break down as fast. Also, wood chips won't break down as fast as straw does. Anyway, my ducks are capable of getting up a pretty steep incline from the lake without trouble, so I think it would have to be pretty steep to prevent their access.

    I do use straw without trouble, but again, it may be different if you have a less mild climate. And yes, the ducks do bury their eggs. But only if they are starting to build a nest and want to keep the eggs, in which case the nesting area is pretty obvious and it's easy enough to dig around and find the eggs. Most of the time, they lay right on top of the bedding in some place completely illogical, like next to the gate to come out so they have to walk over it on their way out in the morning, or next to the pool so everyone steps on it and poops on it while hanging around the pool.

    The ducks don't scratch, and I don't mix. I start with just enough bedding to cover the wire that lines the bottom of their pen, just to keep it from hurting their feet. Each morning, I add a very thin scattering of straw, just enough to barely cover the poop (but I can usually still see the bedding below the thin scattering). This keeps the flies down and prevents the ducks from walking around constantly in muck. I lay the straw a little more heavily in the areas that are especially messy.

    I only change the bedding completely once a year, and usually by that time it's around 6-8 inches deep.

    Under the straw, I have a thin layer of wood chip mulch that I use to cover the wire. It is usually completely composted by the time I change the bedding, along with much of the lower half of the straw bedding. I toss it all in a large pile to finish composting, and then use it on the garden beds in the fall. I spread some of the bedding directly around the base of the fruit trees, without letting it finish composting, and it acts as a combination fertilizer/mulch. My trees do very well with it.

    Good luck!
  9. Dances with Ducks

    Dances with Ducks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for giving such a good description. I always imagined it getting many feet deep over the winter, I couldn't even imagine how they would get in the door. I'm thinking with a 4 x 4 duckhouse and the door in one corner, maybe I could keep adding to the areas furthest away from the door so it doesn't all fall out when I open the door? Well I guess you are talking about using it in their whole pen, but would it work just in a smallish duck house?
    I'm glad to hear you use straw, that's my preferance. I like buying it from local farmers instead of something that come from who knows where wrapped in plastic. Also I think the composted straw is better for the garden than wood.
    Another question, I worry about lice. What keeps them from multiplying if the bedding is never changed. I've never seen lice on my ducks but I have heard most ducks carry them but are able to keep the numbers down by being healthy and living in a clean environment. Do you use DE?
  10. Dances with Ducks

    Dances with Ducks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Also, would the composting bedding affect the wood of the house where it touches, would I need to line it with some kind of non-porous material?

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