I’ve decided to get Runner ducks any advice for me?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by IsabellaMarilyn, Feb 22, 2019.

  1. IsabellaMarilyn

    IsabellaMarilyn Chirping

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    Hello everyone! I’m planning on getting 3 female runner ducklings in the next month or so after I build their coop/run. I’d like to hear from Runner owners and other duck owners suggestions and advice. I live in a small town and I have a small yard (I’m on a main road with decent traffic so I can’t let the ducks safely free range) I am planning on building them a long run with a predator safe coop and putting up poultry fencing for day time foraging. Any tips on keeping the smell to a minimum and tips on cleaning your pens? Could I put a small concrete pad with shavings ontop in a portion of the coop? I’m worried about bumblefoot. Is sand or pea gravel a good bedding option for their run? Are pine shavings good for smell and moisture? I’ve used straw while baby sitting ducks and it gets soaked and smelly very fast! Any drainage ideas for around their pen? Thank you so much!
    -Isabella
     
  2. DuckyDonna

    DuckyDonna Crowing

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    Ok first of all I need to know where you are in the world/country?
     
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  3. Texag87

    Texag87 Crowing

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    Runners :wee
     
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  4. IsabellaMarilyn

    IsabellaMarilyn Chirping

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    North Carolina
     
  5. DuckyDonna

    DuckyDonna Crowing

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    Welcome to BYC and glad you are here. You will be able to get lots of help on this site so don't be afraid to ask. Ok, you're not that far from me and @Miss Lydia lives in NC and she's the super expert plus she's more in your climate zone! So lets get her in on this!

    Right now I have 7 runners. 6 fawn/white girls and 1 chocolate boy. I've had some of them for almost 2 years and I plan to hatch some more this spring. I love my runners. I can sit in the duck run and watch them all day. They will make you laugh and it's lots better than TV! I am far from an expert but have had some learning experinces that may help you.

    I use hay in my pen because it's free and it's worked for me. Some people use straw, and pine shavings (never use cedar). I do not put food or water in the pen at night so I don't have to deal with messy sloppy wet hay. Only hay with poop in it. I do the deep litter method which basically means you just keep putting more hay on top of soiled hay. It then breaks down and composts itself and in the prcess provides some heat in the winter time. By spring you've got some good compost for the garden.

    You'll want to make sure your night time lock up pen is totally predator proof. 1/2" hardware cloth should do it on any cracks and crevices that result from the building of your structure. They will need lots of ventilation even in the winter time so make sure you don't close them so tight they will get frostbite when it gets really cold. It's past my bedtime but I'll give you more hints and pictures tomorrow if someone else doesn't finish the job.
     
  6. IsabellaMarilyn

    IsabellaMarilyn Chirping

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    Hello! Thank you! Yes I’d love to hear from her. I’m in western NC and the weather here is usually pretty mild but we’ve had a ton of rain lately! I’m from NJ and the winters here are a lot better! I’d love to see pictures of your runners :) I’ve heard they’re hilarious and all the research I’ve done definitely makes me think they’ll be the right duck breed for me. I’d like a couple fawn and white runners and one black runner. I don’t have children; my cane corso is like my child. My only worry with the ducklings is that my dog won’t like them. I won’t let my boy hurt them; I’d still prefer that they get along though! I already have everything I need for the brooder and I’ve been researching bedding options. Like you said hay,straw and pine wood shavings are probably the best options. I think I’ll do the deep litter method (I just don’t have a garden to use the composit) lol. I also have been discussing the duck run with a couple friends that have had large numbers of ducks and they think that having either a small concrete pad or stepping stones with sand (level of course) near their food and water spots would make my cleaning easier as long as I put some pine shavings on top. What do you think? How bad do you think their poop smells in very hot humid weather? I’m not too bothered by their poo as much as chicken poo but then again I’m only really effected by strong ammonia smells. My boyfriend thinks their poop is worse then the smell of that purple plumbers primer, stain or spray paint; I highly disagree! lol. Have you used/could you recommend a safe odor neutralizer? I’ve read that smelleze and sweet pdz works well. Thanks again for all of your help!
     
  7. DuckyDonna

    DuckyDonna Crowing

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    I have never heard of a cane Corso so after looking it up, wow! I have a border collie and had, until recently, an old Anatolian Shepherd. They were/are both great with my ducks. I was more worried about the Anatolian because she was so huge I was afraid she was going to step on them and squish them. She did once by accident but not harm was done. It did freak me out though. I think if you introduce the ducks to your dog quietly and gently they will know that they are to be protected and not harmed. But....I know nothing about the breed of dog you have so maybe you could research it.

    I don't have any concrete platform. I have grass and at present, mud! I do put stones around my water buckets so they can step up and get their heads in really deep but not tip the bucket over. They have never tipped one over the way I'm set up. I also have a great feed bucket with keeps the food dry and they don't tip it over either. I'll sometimes put treats on the bucket cover. There is very little spillage too. fullsizeoutput_3293.jpeg
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    I have 2 pens. One is smaller and shorter and we built another on the other side of the opening of the barn that is in reverse of the one in the picture and much taller so I don't hit my head every single time I go in it. You'd think I'd learn to duck! They really really like that little room divider I built. They feel secure with it I guess, like a place to hide.
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    When I had the orginal 4 runners I just had chicken wire for a fence but have since graduated to a 4' galvanized much much better fence. I didn't bury it but secured it with pins on the bottom and about a million zip ties securing the top netting and fence to the poles! They will need shade in the summer and some kind of shelter in the winter. I know my duck run and pen probably look like redneck hillbilly haven but it's behind our barn and behind it is woods and field so I wasn't worried about beauty, just security. My ducks are always locked in their pen at dusk without fail.
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    we had all this PVC pipe in the barn so we put it to use. I learned the hard way about netting on the top when a peregrine falcon swooped down and killed my Daisy. Also, a huge king snake got my little Ranger when he was only 4 weeks old. Don't let that happen to you! I had no idea I had to worry about snakes!
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    That ought to get you started. Just ask away if you have anything I can help with.
     
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  8. DuckyDonna

    DuckyDonna Crowing

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    Oh, I forgot to mention. I don't have any problem at all with odor from the poop. Just don't put water or food in the pen with them and you should be fine.
     
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  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Hi @IsabellaMarilyn what part of NC are you in I am in Western NC. Your going to love Runners they are what I call the clowns of the barn yard. Looks like @DuckyDonna gave you some great advise and pics. Look. Forward to seeing your little one when you get them!
     
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  10. DuckyDonna

    DuckyDonna Crowing

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    I was out in the duck runs this afternoon bringing them treats and took a picture of the new pen for you. Same thing as the other only taller and a bit longer. The floor and roof are each 1 sheet of plywood on pallets. My 2 little piggies, Spot and Dilly are pigging out. They're the only 2 that don't run from me. I hatched them both. IMG_7247.JPG
     

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