Lots of Rain/bedding/bug questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by HarlessFarm, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. HarlessFarm

    HarlessFarm In the Brooder

    Apr 21, 2013
    Ok so we are new to the duck raising Our babies have a coop and a safe area to play with a small pool, they are allowed to free range during the day and are put up in the coop everynight. I would say 95% of the time they spend in their pen I guess they feel safe there bc they do not roam very far at all from that area. This is a picture of the setup we have just to give you an idea. This picture was still in the construction phase, since this the ramp up has been changed a bit (there is sides on it now and the angle has changed) there is also a a tarp over one side like a shade sail, the dog house was removed and there is a heavy duty horse stall rubber mat placed under their small pool (which i hope to get something bigger next year) which helps with the mud. We left the bottom of the pen grass for a while till there was hardly any grass left. We have had an extremely wet summer here honestly I could probably count on two hands how many summer days it has not rained. I think we are something like 12inches above our average yearly rainfall for the year. So needless to say their pen was becoming a swamp which of course they didn't seem to mind they love playing in the mud. We use Pine Shaving in their coop but we have horses and have hay already so we decided to put down a bale of hay a 2 weeks ago . Well I am not sure that this is a good idea it had definitely prevented the mud but bc sunny days are few and far between it never dries out and I have noticed alot more bugs and alot more of an odor coming from their area, I am really starting to get concerned about bugs,mold, bacteria and such that could make them sick. I could really use any help/ suggestions and affordable options.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I would rake the hay out of there.

    It is a process to find the right material for the pen. I have smooth pea gravel and sand around the swim pans, and a nice compost under chopped straw for the rest of the pen. It took some time to work this out. We live in New England, and though we have dry spells, sometimes I call our place Mildew-on-the-Fog.

    Part of the "trick" is that I have a slight slope for the pen, so water always runs off. And once you have a good layer - maybe three inches - of compost (duck poo and old straw and leaves), then that keeps odors down. I found oak leaves are nice odor managers.

    I check the bedding daily, and as needed, I turn the material in the bottom of the pen with a cultivator, and add chopped straw. I found hay and shavings tend to mold especially when it stays wet.

    As far as bugs go, the ducks eat the ones they find.
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    The hay will mold, so i wouldn't suggest it, i agree with Amiga, sand with gravel will give you better drainage. Mind you, while i have considered it around my pools i have still done nothing and all seems just fine, the penned area here is 1/3 of an acre but the pools are in a certain area where obviously no grass and only mud stays, my birds free range but do continue to have access to this area throughout the day.

    They adore mud and seems to be nothing but a cosmetic concern for me vs a health one for them, the key is making sure it's not the whole place, which i realize is where your issue falls. Frankly, if they are spending that much time there, can you increase the area? ducks in confined areas ruin the ground, the rest of my pen is still grass and weeds, the big flock resides here that is 19 birds at the moment.
  4. duckins

    duckins Songster

    Dec 29, 2012
    Gladys, Va
    You could put stepping stones down than put horse stall mats on top build a little trench outside of coop and hose out their poo daily. That's our set up for summer when ours have pools in their run. In the winter we cover all runs sides except front with tarps lay tarp on ground and cover with shavings and no pools in their run. The tarps keep bedding dry.

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