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HELP Brooder for 26 ducklings, Help find a solution for the smell!!!!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by clkingtx, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. clkingtx

    clkingtx Songster

    Dec 1, 2009
    I have a brooder set up for 26 ducklings, they are two weeks old. I don't know how much space it is, but it is vaguely oval, 6 feet or so across one way, and probably 8 feet or so across the other way. They are two weeks old, assorted breeds. I have these things in my garage (hear the hostility? [​IMG] ), and the smell is getting to be too much for me. My husband has been really patient and tolerant, but they stink!!

    I moved them to this pen last night, brand new everything, put in fresh wood chips bedding, and today they have already got it stinking again; even with me turning the litter twice. I put puppy housetraining pads under and around the waterer, and I have changed them out 3 times today, and they are needing changed again. These ducks go through about 3 gallons of water a day, one way or the other.
    I tried for a while to do the deep liter method with them as I am for my chicks, but it doesn't work like that for these ducks. There is just too much moisture. I would turn it, and the underneath layer was wet, too!

    I thought about picking up some horse stall bedding, pellets that absorb moisture and swell up, but would the ducks eat them?

    Would DE make any difference?

    I would like to be able to keep the smell to a minimum, without having to do a complete bedding change every single day!

    Though we are having warm weather this week, it is still winter in Texas, and they are still too little to go outside:/ .

    Please, anyone have any suggestions?


  2. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    Jan 11, 2010
    HHHMMMM yes I know that smell. I have my brooder with 12 ducklings about 11 days old IN MY LOUNG ROOM!!! Problem here in Australia is we have had a few very hot days- and I cant put them outside during the day while I am at work. I have them in a huge cardboard box, with newspaper and pine wood shavings. I have the change the paper and shaving twice a day now as it gets horrid.

    I have a number of outdoor brooders and as much as I love being able to sit here close to all my babies- I cant wait for them to be a little bigger so they can go outside.

    To try to minimize the water spread around too much I always put the waterers into a baking tray twice the size. That way the ducklings will be standing in the tray to drink- and it catches what they drip. They also drink from the tray as well. This helps a bit with the moisture. But as for the smell- I have a plug in auto fragrance disperser. It also helps - but doesnt totally illiminate the problem.

    A friend of mine uses cat litter mixed with pine shavings in her brooder. I dont know how well it works for her- or what kind it is either.
  3. TennesseeTruly

    TennesseeTruly Songster

    Mar 5, 2009
    Church Hill, TN
    Oh I can't imagine that many ducklings! I have 6 Runners that are 10 weeks old, then 7 Call ducklings that are 5 and 8 week old and I constantly have to change them. If the weather continues on the warming trend here, the 10 week olds will be able to go outside soon, thank goodness. They've been in the house since November 9th!

    Good luck in finding a solution. Oh and I have 9 more Call ducklings hatching today. OMG I just realized!! I'm going to have 26 ducklings! [​IMG]

  4. 1lpoock

    1lpoock Spruce Creek Waterfowl

    Apr 20, 2009
    Sandusky, Ohio
    Is there anyway you could make them walk outside to get there water...that would really cut down on smell. Or you could make a big square frame out of wood and then cover the top with hardware cloth and the bottom with some type of plastic. Just put this in their brooder and put their waterer on top of it...it should catch a lot of the water.
  5. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I think the only solution you're going to find for the smell of that many ducklings is to move them to an outside building. I only have call ducks and just a few of them in a brooder area inside is impossible to keep the wet and stink down. Can't you set them up with a heat lamp outside where you're planning on moving them to?
  6. goosedragon

    goosedragon Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    Central NC
    Quote:Are you a bottle blond? If so try spraying with a SMALL amount of 3% Hydrogen peroxide fairly often. The oxygen radical reacts with the ammonia gas which is the main cause of the stink and converts it to something that isn't so bad. We used to be able to get a powder peroxide that would give off hydrogen peroxide when it got wet but that is now restricted since it makes very nice bombs when mixed with other common chemicals. Don't try to buy large amounts of hydrogen peroxide or stronger than 3% or you might get raided by the ATF to make sure that you aren't making bombs. The old ozone generating electronic air fresheners worked well too, for killing ammonia stink, not making bombs...
  7. chiknhut

    chiknhut Songster

    This is what I did to eliminate the moisture. I took water/milk jugs and cut holes all around. Up higher for the bigger ducks and lower for the smaller ones. I had a large piece of plastic on the floor that I could just pick up take outside dump and put right back. Hope this will help you too.


  8. protodon

    protodon Songster

    Mar 3, 2009
    i'm glad someone has asked this question since i am getting 25 pekins in mid-February and I was wondering when the smell would get unbearable. I am still in the process of planning/building the brooders so all these tips and problems help. When raising smaller batches of birds, I have also use the water container in another container method and it makes huge difference in mess and smell.
  9. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    Quote:You can do the DL method with ducks in the garage. I did it when I was brooding my ducklings and goslings in my basement. This is what I learned.

    1. Don't turn the litter.
    2. Put your nose to the litter and when it starts smelling like ammonia add a some d/e and a small amount of new bedding on top.
    3. Confine their water. Put your waterer inside a another container that they can't get into. I put mine inside a one of those mason tubs and added some bricks so that when the water spilled out they couldn't get in it and splash.
    4. Confine their food. Do the same thing with the food as the water.
    5. Put food and water on opposite sides of the brooder.
    6. Clean their water frequently.
    7. Keeping the water near where the entrance to the brooder allows you to easily replace the litter around the water if you have to.

    If you do these things, you will better be able to manage the smell. You do have 26 of the little guys, and it is going to get worse, hopefully you'll be able to get them outside soon enough.
  10. Sweetfolly

    Sweetfolly Songster

    Apr 17, 2009
    Kildare, Wisconsin
    Quote:I'm glad I took the time to read all the posts before I replied - this is what I was going to suggest! Someone told me about using milk jugs as waterers last spring and now they're all I use - in fact, I STILL use a milk jug for my mallards who are all grown up and living in a pen outside! It helps reduce water spillage, so the bedding doesn't get quite as soaked. You just need to make sure you rinse the jug out often, because if you have a slimy film develop on the inside of the handle, it can't really be scrubbed out and should be replaced - good thing most of us have empty milk jugs sitting in the recycling bin!

    Ducklings are nasty-messy though. There's not much that can be done except changing their litter two or three times a day. I'm excited to be getting ducklings from Holderreads in a few months, but I'm dreading the time that they'll be spending in the brooder. Cleaning up after them is a full-time job!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2010

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