how to keep duck house dryer less smelly help!


10 Years
Oct 28, 2009
Georgia, VT
I really need help with BEDDING in the duck houses! The house is set up with an indoor and outdoor section. There is a small opening into the outdoor part of the house and that is covered in open wire and the food and water are out there. So, theoretically, there is not much moisture that gets into the actual duck house other than the excrement coming from the ducks. SO, the bedding : I take shavings and put those down first along with a good dusting of DE. Then, I put straw on the top of that. I thought that this system worked well with my smaller specialty aztec ducks, but, with the bigger ducks (layers, pekins, swedish, khaki's, etc) this seems to not last more than a day. They completely cover the hay, no matter how thick I make it, with their poop. The shavings help soak up the moisture, but, they mash down the hay in a day. Within a few days, the house, which is ventilated, STINKS like cat pee to high heaven! I would have to add fresh straw everyday and once winter gets here, that is not going to be economical nor practical in any way. I heard once of someone mixing something under their bedding that took away the urine smell. The chickens have a bag of shavings dumped in their house and then I ad a little more and it can go for WEEKS without stinking or becoming offensive in any way. I usually finally clean it because I just feel like it is time! With the ducks, I can't keep up! Please...any thoughts on what others do would be great. I am in Vermont so it is about to get very cold here! I have them for layers and breeders. I want eggs, eggs, eggs, from them
Thanks so much!
The product is called stall dry, but it can over dry their feed and crack them open. I also like to point out that DE contains silica crystals, which is not good for your or anybody else's lungs. I hope you are protecting yourself when dusting with it. It's only the dust you have to worry about it. You didn't mention how many ducks you have, that would help with suggestions. So here is mine, but you probably don't want this one because it involves daily cleaning of the duck house. I have plastic rubber floor runners on the concrete floor. They are grooved and the ducks wont slip on them. I guess stall mats will do the same. I only use pine shavings on it and use a floor scrubber to broom them and the poo up and simply discard it. Then I apply a new layer of pine shavings. My duck house never stinks nor do I have flies. It takes me less then 5 minutes daily to clean up. Again I only have 9 heavy weight Saxony ducks. They are spoiled rotten too. Each one has its own bed and they use it. Food and water is also available at night, but I have a shallow tub underneath to catch all the water. Works well for me.
Hello newbiechicken,
I'm in Michigan, where it also gets pretty cold. I had the same problem with straw--it just got packed down and covered with a layer of poop really quickly. Then I read about horse bedding pellets, and those have worked really well for me. Horse bedding pellets are compressed wood shavings. Here's a link to the brand that my local feed mill carries:

directions on the package say that you are supposed to add a lot of water to the dry pellets to expand them into fine shavings. I did that at first and got a good 3-inch thick base. But then I started just adding fresh bags of the pellets without any water, since I figured that the duck droppings contained enough moisture to do the job, and I didn't want to be hauling more water when it was freezing outside. Doing it this way, the pellets absorb an amazing amount of water. I've found that there are two corners in the house where the ducks put most of their droppings. In these areas the pellets expand and eventually get damp and cake, and then I shovel out the caked stuff, and rake drier bedding over there. I had 15 ducks in a 7X8 coop last winter, and never cleaned the whole thing out, just kept removing the wet areas and adding dry pellets from time to time. (My ducks only spent the nights and a few days during periods of sleet in the coop; during the day they roam around, and that probably makes a difference.) Oh, and I used some of that Stall Dry or Sweet PDZ stuff mixed into the base layer.

Good luck this winter. I'm kind of dreading when it freezes hard... I have to haul water from the house and I'm not looking forward to it!
I use pine pelleted bedding in duckling and gosling brooders, it works pretty good to keep things smelling good and relatively dry. I would think it would do the same in a duck house.

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