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Ground cover ideas.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by tkyte, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. tkyte

    tkyte New Egg

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    Aug 19, 2012
    Our two Pekin duck live in our backyard. They do have a fenced run with a good sized pond and shelter that they are locked in at night for safety at night. But, I don't like to leave the ladies locked in all day so they get run of our very large backyard.
    As of now the ground is just dirt in our yard other than a few areas that are gravel. We want to put down some type of ground cover but I think the ducks would destroy grass.
    We also need to put something under the swingset that isn't grass
    .... So what would be ok for the ducks? Wood chips? Gravel ? Could grass be ok? Sand? Any other options??
    (Wood chips would not be cedar)
     
  2. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm still fairly new to this so the more experienced keepers may have even better suggestions.

    My ducks are on a mix of micro clover, sand & river rock and straw. I have added some siberian kale in the favorite snoozing area now that all the green plants have been killed by frost. It has sprouted and seems to be happy but the ducks may feat on it before it grows to adult size plants.

    The microclover is evergreen and they don't seem to be particularly interested in eating it. They will drill it up when the enclosure is wet.I mostly have it in place to encourage earthworm activity and better soil quality. We used clean fill dirt to fill in the natural depression that their pen is in.

    In the wet spots (around the stock pond, the bathing water and the extra drinking water) i have a layer of fine sand overlayed with the larger tumbled river rocks.

    I have a layer of straw in their favorite outside snoozing place. Now that winter is coming I've spread a layer of straw everyone in the enclosure. As leaves fall I'm going to mix in leaf litter.

    I may also add in some shavings or pellet bedding in the wettest area near but i haven't decided yet.

    I had the luxury of seeding the microclover while we were constructing the area so i didnt have to worry about fat duck feet trampling it.

    If you want to seed something like that now it may be better to put it down and then put a layer of straw on top.
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Sand works really well for some folks.

    Our pen base is chopped straw that is composting thanks to the duck manure - easy on their feet, no unpleasant aroma, and I can rake some up to put on the gardens when I want a nice enriched mulch.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2015
    Colorado Springs, CO
    My run is half pine shaving (building up to deep litter now) and half pea gravel (about 3-4 in. thick). The pea gravel is easy to clean as I just blast it with water to break up the poo and it drains away. It isn't smelly. Though I will say when we have a lot of rain, which isn't often, it does not drain as well.

    My yard has a small patch of grass because around here rain has been scarce and I xeriscaped the yard a few years back. Last summer was really bad so much of the grass died. This year it has grown back well but I do have some thin spots with dirt showing. The ducks don't root around in those spots but do like to look for bugs in the taller grass.

    The rest of my yard is mulched with pine bark chips. When they were little the ducks didn't really root around in it. Now that they are bigger they have been rooting in to looking for bugs and eating the the weed sprouts that pop up. It's really easy just to move it back when they are done. They especially like to root when the trees and bushes are being watered. I should also note that most of my yard is sand underneath so they can't really make mud even if they do move all the mulch. Another important note, their kiddie pool is on the mulch and I have noticed some of the mulch molding under the pool. I'm going to leave it where it is for now since I'll have to put it up for winter soon anyway but next year I plan to move it around more often.
     
  5. MaureenD

    MaureenD Out Of The Brooder

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    Where is the best place to source "chopped" straw? We have river rock under deck and I am looking to put a layer of something down for winter and build up (it will be outside, not in sleeping quarters....)
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Morning!

    I have been able to get it at garden stores, hardware stores, sometimes feed stores but usually the first two in the list.

    You might consider getting ahold of dried leaves for a base, then top it off with an inch or two of the chopped straw. Oak leaves have been pretty good here for keeping odor at a minimum, by the way. I have used them around the wet edges of the swim pan area.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    TSC usually has compressed straw bales if you're in a pinch. It's regular straw that is baled very tightly. One of those goes a long way. The bales are really heavy though so you may need to plan accordingly.

    For me those bales are cheaper than local straw be cause I can't buy in bulk like the horse stables or other livestock farmers do. One bale of not moldy local straw is around $11. I can get the compressed straw for around $7 on sale and $10 regular price.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. MaureenD

    MaureenD Out Of The Brooder

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    We do not have TSC in WI, but Farm and Fleet, and their competitor, Fleet Farm (yep, goofy ha?) We also have Menard's.
    I do not have resource or space to store a lot of bales, but that sounds good if I can get dry bundles locally like that.
    I am concerned that soliciting for straw on craig's list may get me moldy straw- not what I want at all, and hard to know what you get that way.
    Thanks!
    It is WINDY, Blustery ,rainy and COLD tonight. Certainly feels like the onset of snow weather. So not ready for this. ; (
    I will be tomorrow!
     
  9. MaureenD

    MaureenD Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the suggestion of the oak leaves. I do not have any oaks, but certainly could find a garbage can's worth or two from neighbors.
    Wonder what makes them diffuse the odor.
     
  10. jducour

    jducour Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have large wood chips under our swing set, and it is one of the ducks favorite places to forage. Apparently, it is a bug smorgasbord, and they could dig in there for hours.
     

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