My duck pen looks like Glastonbury...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by rachd1987, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. rachd1987

    rachd1987 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 27, 2016
    So as the title suggests, I'm having a bit of an issue with mud in my duck pen! The winter is starting to set in here in England, and the wet weather has turned my duck's pen into a mud bath. They think it's Christmas already, they're having the time of their lives making mud "soup" in little wells in the ground, and generally tooting around making lots of noise. Their pen is on a slight slope, so the top end of the pen isn't quite as gloopy as the bottom end, and they have the option (although they don't use it during the day) of going into their dry house if they so wish. As a temporary fix, and attempt to soak some of it up, I've put down a layer of hay in the worst effected area, although I know this will soon be trodden down by myself and the quacks, so will need to come up with an alternative quickly!

    So my questions are, although the ducks seem to be really enjoying themselves, I don't imagine being muddy will be particularly good for their health in the long run - can it cause issues with their feet or other problems? Obviously I don't want them to be stood round in loads of mud for long, so I'm hoping this won't become an issue, I just want to know what I should keep my eyes open for whilst I get the mud issue resolved!

    What substrate have you found most successful in reducing mud in duck pens? Mine love to dig so I imagine whatever I use will get shifted round a lot. I've seen recommendations of pea gravel on top of sand, but I'm reluctant to use sand as I imagine it'll just get washed down the slope.

    Thanks folks [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Try sidewalk blocks.....I have a couple down but will be putting more down.....I have the same issue....


    Cheers!
     
  3. DuckMD

    DuckMD Just Hatched

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    Aug 27, 2016
    Another option is Pea gravel, 2 to 3 inches deep.
     
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I believe they want temporary ideas......The sidewalk blocks are perminant but stop the mud mess......


    Cheers!
     
  5. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 10, 2015
    Wisconsin
    Looking forward to seeing all of the answers here. In the spring and fall we always get a bit messy too.

    I've heard that concrete is hard on their feet. When my duck had to have surgery for bumble foot my vet told me to make sure there was no exposed concrete (cover with straw or shavings), rocks, pokey sticks etc.
     
  6. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 10, 2015
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    I meant to add that the pea gravel may be a good idea though. If it is laid down under what ever the top level is (dirt, sand, etc) the water, in theory, should drain off of the surface quicker. Water follows the easiest path and seeping between pea gravel would be easier than solid ground.
     
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I have gravel down also and the blocks........If your wanting to keep it natural then I have zero ideas......


    Cheers!
     
  8. Jacob Duckman

    Jacob Duckman Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 4, 2016
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    Out of all the substrates I have tried for my Ducks (straw, hay, gravel, sand, cement, asphalt, and the list goes on), Only two have come through as winners.

    My personal favorite is Construction sand. It is very cheap or free. About $3 for a 50-lb bag. Or you can order it bulk and delivered for even less from a local garden supply or construction supply. Bulk free sand is often available on craigslist as well. you will have to make sure it is free of debris and chemicals if you go that route.

    Construction sand is also better than more expensive sand (like play sand) in that it contains more diversity in grit size.

    The hard part is moving all that sand. Once you do that, the only maintenance needed is a simple hose-down of the area about once a month. The deep layer of sand helps break down and process the nitrogen and smell in duck poop. You can also rake the poop off every couple weeks if you require perfection.

    The other low-maintenance solution is cement. Cement is more expensive and will require a way to handle runoff during hosing and rain. Either diverted into the sewer or into the surrounding ground somewhere if you don't have too many birds.

    Hay, straw, and any other such substrate works too but it is significantly more labor intensive. If you're in this for the long-haul, I suggest going with sand or cement.

    *edit, you want to go at least 8 inches deep with the sand. the deeper the better.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  9. rachd1987

    rachd1987 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 27, 2016
    Thanks for all the suggestions guys. I think I will be doing a lot of digging and using a mixture of flags and pea gravel. The sand suggestion would probably work if it wasn't sloping!
     
  10. mikew4895

    mikew4895 Just Hatched

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    Can I ask if the pebbles worked? I have a similar problem, where part of the pen gets really muddy (clay soil too) and need a solution.
     

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