Need help with Duck Run design.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Blob Chicken, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. Blob Chicken

    Blob Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 2, 2009
    So I need some help with the final touch to my duck run. What should I put on the ground ??

    I live in the city ,so it has to keep smell ,mess ,and flys down as much as possible.

    I've been think a bottom layer (2" or so thick) of large river rock or something ,to allow for good drainage. Then a 2" layer of pea gravel.

    I was also thinking of perhaps planting a few low plants/bushes in the run.

    My plan is to add Stall Dry or Sweet PDZ as a bottom layer inthe duck house ,with shavings on top. In the run ,I will sprinkle it on top of the gravel in the run ??

    Is there anything I can do to make them smell ,mess and flys down to an absolute minimum ??

    They ducks are two muscovies ,if it helps [​IMG]

    Edit : I was also thinking of planting Tansy ,Thyme ,Basil and Chamomile ,along with perhaps marygolds around the run ,to keep away flies.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I think as long as the tansy and maybe marigolds are out of reach of the ducks, that sounds good. The roots will appreciate the water and nutrients.

    One ingredient which I am sure you will add is regular maintenance. I have nine runners and the area under their swim pan is pea gravel, sloped into a shallow channel that leads to the grape arbor. Most days I don't need to do anything, but from time to time I need to fix it up a little - the gravel shifts, plant fibers and poop fill in the cracks, etc.

    I use DE and regular maintenance to control flies. Right now I am test driving different kinds of fly traps, too.

    Away from the swim pan, I use a combination of coir and straw as the base. This does a few things for me. The carbon in the straw and coir hook up with the nitrogen in the poop and reduce smell. When I had no carbon material, just sand, the smell got icky pretty quickly. It was well drained - but went anaerobic, and with no carbon to balance the process, made for unpleasant aroma.

    You might get away with the gravel and stone only approach if you regularly hose out the area. For me, conserving water is a big part of the outdoor garden and duck project, so I don't do much hosing off.

    Back to the straw and coir - worms come up into that, and I turn the material regularly, which the ducks love - free food!!! After several days, the turned material gets well on its way to being compost, and I pull some out to put on garden beds or compost piles. Free fertilizer!

    The straw and coir are much kinder to ducks' feet - very little bumblefoot.

    In their overnight shelter, they have a house with an attached porch. The floor of the porch is half inch hardware cloth covered with a soil/sand mixture, and on top of that is sawdust. The ducks drag some straw in there, too. A few times a week I rake off the straw and sprinkle a little more sawdust on top. Once a week or so I use a cultivator and rough up the sawdust. A few times a month I shovel out the top two inches and replace it. That material goes onto garden paths.

    There are many strong opinions about what works. Give your ideas a try and let us know what works!
  3. Blob Chicken

    Blob Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 2, 2009
    Thanks !!!

    Also yes ,very regular maintenance ,of course [​IMG] When I had them on grass I moved them every few days ,and raked out the cage every day. However I now plan on a more permanent ,less smelly ,cage.

    Any other opinons on the matters ,my fellow duck keepers ??

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