Is there anywhere these guys won't poo? (Housing Design Question)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by chowyungfatso, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. chowyungfatso

    chowyungfatso In the Brooder

    Jan 3, 2011
    We have two 1 week-old Buffs from Metzer Farms. Right now they are happy and warm in the brooder, with lots of newspaper changes to keep their space clean. Eventually they will be indoor (diapered)/outdoor (run/housing), so I am starting to design their housing. I am so glad to have found the forum and reading everything I can, but one thing I keep wondering about is whether they know not to poo when they are inside their housing. I'm guessing as they don't have any control over when things "happen", they will just poo when they want to poo.

    Would using a 1/4" metal "fabric" be a good idea for flooring? I worry that it won't be comfortable, even though it will be the easiest to clean (hosing it down). Maybe have straw on top of that?

    The other option would just be to have a wood floor that would allow me to add bedding (straw, leaves, newspapers, etc.) and hose it down.

    Can everyone elaborate why they chose what they chose?

    [These guys are eating machines!]

  2. Omniskies

    Omniskies Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Put them on wire. Yeah, it won't be as comfortable as straw, but given a choice over wire and sleeping in poo, I'll take wire.

    And make no mistake, those ducklings will sit down in the biggest puddle in the whole brooder. You will only find out about it when you scoop one up to cuddle it, only to find the underside smudgy.

    Then later on they will clean all of that off of them and, when you go to pick one up, dabble your hair with their bill.

    I adore ducklings, but I'm convinced they were put here to test our patience. It's the only explaination for why they had to be created so incredibly adorable.
  3. DuckLover179

    DuckLover179 Waddles & Puddles

    Nov 28, 2010
  4. chowyungfatso

    chowyungfatso In the Brooder

    Jan 3, 2011
    We figured our ducklings were magicians because in a blink of an eye they could cover the whole brooder with poo.

    I hear an exasperated "I just cleaned it!" from the girlfriend every so often, and I walk out only to see her feigning anger at them. Wish I could pull off the same stunt.

    The plastic poultry flooring looks a little more durable than the hardware cloth I was going to use. Thanks!
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    A bit of wisdom I received years ago, was, "harness the inevitable."

    Ducks grace us with fertilizer everywhere they go, indoors and out. What to do?

    I use a modified deep litter method. In the warmer months I use wood shavings and simply stir the shavings around and add a little more to the top. I can do this for weeks and weeks, occasionally adding half a bucket of clean dry peat moss. The bedding does not stink, it is dry and lofty. When it is time to pull it out, it goes on the compost to break down into soil.

    Indoors in the wintry months, I use straw bedding, and only let it build up (I add a layer of straw every day - takes two minutes) for three or four days before placing it on the compost, or on the garden beds as mulch. All that enriched straw is a blessing for the garden!

    I keep their water out of their mild-weather house completely. For winter, I use a large splash-catcher and tidy up the entrance to it daily.

    Duck poop is not a problem. It is a nutrient. Design your setup with this in mind.

    Things that reduce smell - based on my experience - are carbon (dry leaves, shavings, sawdust, straw - with the warning that straw and shavings can mold if they stay wet ), air, and proper pH. Dry oak and maple leaves are terrific for reducing odor.

    If you are not a gardener, perhaps you can make arrangements with someone who is.

    Something I bear in mind is how walking on wire feels and whether it might contribute to foot wounds which lead to bumblefoot. I like the ducks having something more comfortable looking to walk and sleep on.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  6. pascopol

    pascopol Songster

    Jan 6, 2009
    Tampa Bay
    I'd rather keep a pig indors than a duck. At least a pig can be houstrained.

    If you insist to keep ducks as pets indors you'll "enjoy" smell, mess, constant cleaning, consequently people living with you may even kick you out of the house with your ducks.
  7. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    In short, no. There is nowhere these guys won't poo. Sorry! [​IMG]

    I think wire is just fine--it works great for maintaining a certain level of cleanliness, but you'll still have to clean out *under* the pen & spray the wire down periodically. You can put straw under it and use the straw as fertilizer/mulch in your gardens. You can put straw on top of the wire too, for comfort, but then that has to be cleaned out regularly too. One option is to build a "water porch" where their water will be, and floor it in wire--this will be the area they frequent the most, leaving *most* (but by no means ALL) of their poop and watery mess, which will fall through the wire leaving the rest of the pen *relatively* clean. But then they can get off the wire if it becomes uncomfortable.

    The biggest key here, though, is to make it large--the larger the better--they will make a lot less mess in a larger space; and to make it easy to clean, because you will be cleaning. Make sure their water can be easily drained either through a large plug hole or by dumping; make sure you can reach all corners to scrape out straw (I didn't do that with my first duck house design--big mistake); and make sure you use materials that are easy to clean. If you use wood, paint it with a semi-gloss or gloss paint, several coats, to make it easy to clean.

    You'll tweak your design along the way and in a few years you're going to have to rebuild the whole thing because you'll have such a brilliant design you can't live with the old one any more. So the other key here is not to put more into it than you can afford to replace in a few years. [​IMG]

    Have fun!

  8. chowyungfatso

    chowyungfatso In the Brooder

    Jan 3, 2011
    Thanks for everyone's comments. Always good to hear more perspectives.

    I've been studying as many designs as possible in the hopes of limiting the number of "rebuilds" I will ultimately have to do, but I'm resigned to the eventuality of having to build a new home for them in a (hopefully) few years, especially once I try to integrate some sort of duckponics (duckponix) system.

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