Im building an Aviary Any advice

buff goose guy

Songster
5 Years
Feb 9, 2014
3,421
232
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Mississippi Y'all
So we are building an aviary for some mandarins and call ducks :)
This is the first aviary we are building becuase all of our ducks and geese that we raise free range during the day and go up at night , but we knew that getting these smaller ducks meant that they couldnt "really" free range without the higher risk of hawks or birds of prey getting them (all of our other ducks are larger breeds and hawks , which are the only birds of prey that we have around here other than owls but again the ducks go into coops at night so they arent a bother, hawks dont mess with the ducks but instead the ducks actually rather scare most hawks) anyway we relize that the calls and madies shouldnt go out anyway since they are more fragil and we are working on an aviary.

i have the plans set out, we know what we are going to do for the water/pool, the coop, protection/netting

what i need help with is what safe plants can i plant in the aviary to help provide shade and keep the ground from turning to basicly slush , also just to help it look nice and tranquil.

Also any advice is very helpful
 
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MinxFox

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 16, 2010
4,117
328
326
Pensacola, FL
I don't really have experience with ducks, but I know Pinola preserve might be able to give you ideas of plants that work well for them or just by looking at their photos you could get ideas from the plants in their photos:
http://pinola.net/aviary-views/

@destinduck might be able to help as he has a few plants in his duck aviaries.

The main issue is plants can be trampled if they are too small or they can be eaten up by the ducks. I don't raise ducks I only raise peafowl, but in dealing with them I find that generally soft plants don't do so well. Bananas don't do very well because they are soft and can easily be eaten. Fatsia japonica on the other hand gives you a very unique look, creates a nice bush that the ducks can definitely nest under, and if you get it at a decent size it won't be trampled. The leaves are thick so I doubt they would nibble on it.

The basic thing is to get plants that are large enough that they won't be trampled. If you get a new plant and you are unsure if the ducks will eat it, leave it in the pot and in their aviary for a few days to see if they eat it. If they don't then you can plant it.

As far as keeping the ground dry, the more space you give them and the less ducks you keep in that space will help keep the ground nice. Also Destinduck as I mentioned earlier likes to fill his duck aviary with sand. The sand helps prevent mud and keeps the aviary cleaner. Every now and then he brings in fresh sand. Another trick I see people do is put rocks around the pond area to help prevent mud as well. You could try planting grass just to see how it goes. It never hurts to try. A thing missing from a lot of bird pens is grass which often makes one think that it must be impossible to keep grass in an aviary, but it is not. After a few years my aviary grass got sparser and sparser so I started seeding it each year and had wonderful results. Of course I don't have ducks, but like I said it can't hurt to try and I have seen photos on more than one occasion of duck aviaries with nice grass. The bird poo really fertilizes the grass so you end up with very nice looking grass in the pens. My pen gets nicer looking grass than the surrounding yard.

For me it took a lot of trial and error for finding plants that work well in my aviary. Here is a list of plants that I have in my aviary that have done very well in with the birds:http://bamboopeacock.com/Landscaping Your Aviary.html

I am just getting into elephant ears, and there are many possibilities with them. Elephant ears would love the water that the ducks splash all over the place and might make a nice border on one side of the pond. You can get big or small elephant ears and in many colors such as black magic or one of my faves that I want to have which is the mojito elephant ear.

Pampas grass might be a nice grass if you are looking for more of that wilderness duck pond feeling with grasses, logs, and rocks.

So plants that like a lot of water should probably be closer to the pond so that they will enjoy the ducks splashing water around and hopefully soak up that water really well.

But like I said I am not a duck expert, but Pinola Preserve has done so much landscaping of their duck aviaries and they raise all kinds of ducks as well as other birds so it wouldn't hurt to email them to see what works best for them because they are very friendly people and happy to answer questions.
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Hope this helps!
 

buff goose guy

Songster
5 Years
Feb 9, 2014
3,421
232
241
Mississippi Y'all
Vthanyoubfor the helpful links and great stories of your aviary it sounds beautiful , I do plan to keep grass in there and the ducks are small enough and the area large enough that for 8 they shouldn't hurt anything , I'm more worried of the plants hurting them, because Ducks nibble on everything so im really trying to wvoid anything toxic. While I orginally had planned on using elephant years they re highly toxic to duke so I wasent able to use those. I already have a natural growing tree in the pen and will have to trunk it down because I don't want to get rid of it but I don't want it to destroy the netting on the top .
 

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