Need new landscaping for ducks - any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by jennytg3, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. jennytg3

    jennytg3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2010
    portland
    I have three wonderful runner ducks and a moveable duck tractor - this is our first year w/ducks in a .11 acre backyard (normal sized lot backyard). The problem is that the ducks are completely wrecking our lawn and it's making my husband sad to look outside.

    I'm looking for a landscaper/handyperson to come give us some suggestions to solve this problem. Anyone know of anyone good who has knowledge of how ducks operate and can modify our backyard to work for both my husband and the ducks? I know there's a solution, I just don't know anything about garden design.

    The main problem is that most of our backyard is grass with rhodies/plants around the periphery. Part of our grass is a little lower than the rest so the water pools and the ducks happily spend all day tromping the grass into a big mud hole and digging their beaks into the mud, leaving large holes. They also dig their beaks into the regular grass, digging up the roots a little bit.

    I could potentially put a little fence around the whole grass area, as the ducks could walk the periphery, as under the rhodies is where all the slugs and insects are anyway, but don't know how to do that in an attractive manner.

    Any suggestions or recommendations for people? I'm in the Portland, Oregon area.

    Thank you! This will help my marriage immensely if I get this figured out.

    Jenny
     
  2. LuckyDuck411

    LuckyDuck411 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 16, 2010
    Indianapolis
    posting pics of your backyard might help
     
  3. AdamD77

    AdamD77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2010
    Bedfordshire, England
    It depends whether you actually want to change your garden or just more stuff around. The best solution I can think of if you're willing to do some work is put the pool on a patio area, not huge but big enough to fit the pool on with some extra around the edge. This stops the water pooling straight on the grass and means they can't mess it up as much - worked a treat for me until we had a change around, but now it's back on a different patio and there's a lot less mess than when the pool was on the grass!
     
  4. ejctm

    ejctm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2009
    VILLAGE IN THE SHIRES
    Hi Jenny,

    I have the same problem! My garden looks like a mud patch! I have found it is fine during the summer when the grass is growing quickly, as the chickens and ducks keep it cropped but as soon as it stops growing in September, it gets completely destroyed. I have found that penning them up temporarily in a side section with bark chipping flooring and pea gravel under their pool (especially when it rains) is the only option during the winter. This section is where I have planted my fruit trees and some shrubs, which gives them something to shelter under and to forage around. They currently get the full run of the garden once or twice a week or so, but have to stay off the grass the rest of the time. In the spring, I reseed the whole lawn (overseeding), keep them off for 3 weeks, and then they free range all summer and it is fine until September again. This year I will try a special seed mix with clover and other herbs which is specially designed for flock foraging in terms of nutrition as well as laying down a more complex root system which will hopefully make the lawn last a bit longer. I'll tell you this time next year whether it worked!

    For fencing, have a 6 inch wooden log roll border (to separate the areas) plus I use 3 foot high by 4 foot wide wire fence panels, which has spikes to push into the ground which I bought from a supplier on ebay as a linked puppy playpen and just took it apart. It is fine as I don't pen them in all the time, so I only want a temporary fence. If you want something more beautiful then you can buy short sections of free-standing picket fencing which you can either move around as you need, or keep there permanently if you stake them.

    If you want to keep them off a particular area where they like to dig holes, then fill in the holes with soil, sprinkle some grass seed down and lay some wide wire mesh on top for a few weeks so they cannot dig it again and the grass grows back. This may not be achievable until the spring.

    I think it is all a matter of getting the balance right in the long term, and this will change with the seasons. You want them to have access to the lawn enough to keep it short so you don't need to mow it, and so they have fun times free ranging, but not enough to destroy it completely so it becomes mud. My solution is to manage their access to the lawn depending on the lawn's condition, time of year, weather etc. using a section at the side I have fenced off for them to use (I jokingly call it the orchard, lol) but you could just as easily fence off a border all the way round for them, so long as it was not too narrow.

    I haven't got my balance quite right yet, but it is a constant work in progress (like the garden!)

    Good luck!
     
  5. jennytg3

    jennytg3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2010
    portland
    Thank you so much, egctm, this was very helpful! I will try that.
     
  6. ejctm

    ejctm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2009
    VILLAGE IN THE SHIRES
    you are welcome - we all learn from each other here!

    [​IMG]
     
  7. jennytg3

    jennytg3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2010
    portland
    I am working on a plan for making some low, moveable fencing using handmade bamboo panels (we have a little bit of an asian theme going in the backyard) and if it works out I will include pics and instructions so it might help others.
     

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