In need of some help!


In the Brooder
6 Years
Jul 17, 2013
I could really use some advice.

These are my first ducks and I am having a very hard time figuring out their coop...
We framed out a decent sized area and it happened to be an old hatchery spot and was 8 foot deep gravel area so we got the weed guard layer, added soil to the top, dropped a ton of seed and added this straw layer for the seed. Some grass grew and then they trashed it. We got pea gravel and no matter how many times I hit it with the hose it was always caked in duck poop... A little over a month ago I got sod and did their whole pen in it, they were so happy... and then they trashed it... it is a mess.
I just do not know what to do in their pen. It doesn't help that their pen is at the bottom of a hill and it is naturally wet down there as is but there has to be something that I can put in there that can be better then what I have.

I suspect that the weed guard has acted as a water barrier and most likely making it so the sod didn't drain, so tomorrow I am going to pull up all the poop filled sod, layer of pea gravel and remove the weed barrier... Fun times.

Can anyone give me any suggestions as to what the heck I can use on the floor that is going to work?
They have a pool on the other side and they dump out half of the water every day, I think we are going to put pavers around it instead of grass or dirt so at least there is something that isn't going to hold water.

^^ This is what happened to the sod in a month.

Also - I need some winter help as well... What do ducks need in the winter? I am in Jersey (Sussex County) and it can get pretty nasty here. They have a house and I keep wood shavings in it. Do I need to put a heat lamp in there for them and if so at what temp do they need it? And their pool water, how do I keep it from freezing and take care of them in the winter? And their drinking water?

I thank you so much in advance for all your help!!!

I have absolutely no idea what to do! Please help!!!
Hello Gravitystar~
I have heard of using sand in chicken coops and maybe that would work for ducks as well? I have a gravel base in our duck coop and currently put straw on top. It does get messy (more so in the winter as they stay inside more but it isn't too bad the other 3 seasons. as far as what to put in a duck yard, I guess I would go with sand (anyone who knows more about using sand for ducks please chime in)

The next chicken yard we build I am definitely thinking of using sand seeing as otherwise with just dirt it becomes a mud pit after it rains. Our ducks range in a big fenced yard during the day so don't have any problem with them trashing the lawn.
As far as my experience with ducks in winter, we do have a heated water base so their water doesn't freeze and have one heat lamp suspended from the ceiling but never really paid attention to an exact temp in there. I used a deep straw bedding so they could snuggle in and they had no problems last winter. They even enjoyed going out on the ice on their little pool and took naps on the ice. During really nasty weather (blizzards, or extreme below freezing temps) I kept them in their coop pretty much all day. Main thing would be making sure they have a relatively dry secure shelter and plenty of fresh unfrozen water and lots of food. (they are ducks so wherever they are it's never totally dry for long LOL) They have the choice in winter of being in or out during the day and mostly they choose to be outside or sit in the doorway.

They were much more tolerant of snow and cold than our chickens and even enjoyed playing in it.
Drainage is really key, you are on the right track there. Could you make a swale (very shallow trench) to direct water away from the pen? Could you add some soil so as to make just a slight slope in the pen, so water would drain out more quickly?

I have a nice two to three inches of compost in the bottom of the day pen. It's harnessing the inevitable. I place chopped straw in the pen, the ducks poop in it, I turn it from time to time and the worms come up from underneath and we have a nice, not smelly base for the pen.

I have smooth pea gravel and sand around the swim pans. That has to be maintained a bit - raking out the top layer of sand soaked with poop, for example. Also I find that oak leaves reduce odor around the swim pans.

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