Need some duck sanity. They are soo messy

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by HeatherLynn, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. HeatherLynn

    HeatherLynn Songster

    May 11, 2009
    Kentucky, Cecilia
    Ok warm weather needs to get here so I can get these duckies outside. The older set has tail feathers now and wings are looking good. Still too young to go outside in freezing temps. The smaller set are just getting tail feathers. I think they are only 3 weeks old. The others are 4 to 5 weeks. So much mess and smell. They dump out as much feed and water as they can, make it a goooey mess and then play in it I swear. We are up to 2 bathtimes per day just to keep them from not stinking too bad. I also clean out the huge rubbermaid they are in. When do they stop ceasing to look like piggies who rolled in the mud?

    During the day I don't fill up their waterer but at night I do which is when most of the messy happens. If they run out of water overnight though they become a big loud prison gang. I am not sure why I thought keeping them in the house was a great idea.

    What age is usually safe to put them out? ( weather being taken into consideration of course, if its the middle of an ice storm obviously things change)
    They are such little piggies who do you use bedding for more than half a day?

  2. mommyofthreewithchicks

    mommyofthreewithchicks Songster

    Jun 25, 2010
    I think it depends on the breed and how cold it is outside. I brooded 31 last summer but had them out in the barn when they were a week old in a swimming pool and a heat lamp. I think they only needed the heat lamp for 3 weeks but it was warm out [​IMG] In Sept I put them into the rest of the barn with the chickens but we were having a flood at the time.

    Do you have shelter outside for them? A garage? I would still give them heat for a while.... And I guess I would think of stepping them down from the heat. I would think the 4-5 week olds could go outside but I am thinking of Pekins when I am saying that... The mallards had to be older. How do their feathers look? Can you give us a picture or two (it would help me as I am so visual)

    Give us a hint to your set up outside and how cold it really is.... As in Minnesota I wouldn't chance them but if you are down south and it is 50's -maybe-
  3. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    Oooooo, I feel your pain. Mine went out at 8 weeks but it was warmer then. I was using shavings, but they pretty got expensive when I was changing them out so much.

    A friend of mine had an ingenious idea - she used an old playpen for the broody box, lining the bottom with old towels. The towels got changed when soiled, washed and rotated back in. It was still a mess until she did this:

    really helped keep the water in place and cleaner.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Ducklings need water all the time until they are six weeks old. There are a number of things you can do to reduce mess. Remember it's only a short period of time.

    I had eleven runners in the house for three months. The weather did not cooperate! We all lived through it, and the house did not stink.

    Search the forum - there are many ideas for keeping the feed and water from becoming a bigger problem than they have to be. One person remarked that she discovered it was the damp feed that was smelling more than the poop!

    Find what works for you - I always used some kind of splash catcher, and a chick waterer. One quart to start, then one gallon, then a three gallon. By the time we needed a three gallon, they were six or seven weeks old and able to go without water overnight. But not before then. Super-thirsty ducklings might make more of a mess, actually. They need to be able to wash their heads, otherwise you risk ear, eye and sinus infections.

    I find when mine are without water for a few hours they splash much more - still do. So I try to keep water with them at all times.

    Right now, I am using a five gallon pot inside the bottom half of a large dog crate. I sprinkle stall pellets (compressed sawdust) in the crate and set the water on top. The ducks can drink and splash and it is contained and absorbed. Once a day I sprinkle more pellets, then a couple/few times a week I scoop out the wet sawdust and toss it on the garden path, saving money by not having to go buy wood chips or other path lining material. It breaks down and fertilizes the garden. It's also been working very well on icy areas - better than salt!

    I used towels for bedding for many reasons - we had them, I'm allergic to many kinds of bedding, they are MUCH less dusty and messy than shavings or straw. I'd rinse the towels in a big bucket and then pour the water onto the garden. Wow, did my plants like that!

    Or I would just shake the poop and spilt feed over a garden bed.
  5. HeatherLynn

    HeatherLynn Songster

    May 11, 2009
    Kentucky, Cecilia
    I might try to the towels idea. I have a bag of old towels available. My set up outside has no heat. I have a mini coop that fits inside my chicken coop( old calf barn that got a remodel) so draft free but still cool. Its pretty dang cold here right now. I honestly am hoping that maybe I can get them out in march. These are Roun ducks. I am not positive on ages since there was some question. They are not full grown and still have a bit of feathering to do. This last week we have taken to giving them 2 baths per day. They play and swim in the bathtub for about an hour before they are ready to return to their box. If I used 4 towels, 2 for each changing of the bedding it might improve. Sooo messy.

    Also how do you get them to sleep. Mine don't seem to sleep. I raised ducks almost 20 years ago. I do not remember them being so hyper. Its like they are on speed. seriously I never see them asleep, not ever. They wake me up in the middle of the night with their playing. I took their light away a week ago. They are inside so they get 70 degree temps for the most part. Any suggestions would be great. I'm going to go dig out those towels.

  6. msdoolittle

    msdoolittle Songster

    Dec 28, 2009
    I couldn't do the towel thing myself...the thought of duck poo in the wash grosses me out a little.

    What I did was got a gallon milk jug container. I cut out 2 holes in the side just big enough for the ducks to get their heads into. I put the jug on top of a base of a gallon chick waterer (the plastic red part. You could use anything with a lip, like a 5 gallon bucket lid. Then I pushed it into a corner. This way they can certainly drink as much as they want and dunk their heads in the water, but can't really splash about in it and they can't waste it. It's the best way I have found so far. If you give them a chick waterer they will sit there all day and make nothing but a horrible mess and will soak the wood chips through and through.

    I also put a thick layer of newspaper UNDER a good layer of wood chips. Obviously, you should have a good few inches of wood chips or you'll end up with spraddle legged chicks. When it comes time to clean, just roll up the newspaper and chips and chunk 'em.

    I have raised several batches of ducks and have been very pleased with it. Also, as the ducks age, you will need to enlarge the holes in the jug. You must be certain that the holes are not too high up and that they're not too small. When the ducks get older, I make a new jug where the hole is bigger and is higher up on the side of the jug.

    Hope this helps.
  7. chickensioux

    chickensioux Songster

    Feb 12, 2009
    Western North Carolina
    I used to put their waterer in a 9x13 casserole pan. This kept the majority of the water in the pan.
  8. Suzie

    Suzie Crowing

    Jul 9, 2009
    I have 26 inside overnight and can sympathise with you - they cause a great deal of mess as do my 12 geese! Luckily I have them in compounds in a stable block and I use a power washer in the mornings to clean out their areas - I would not recommend letting them outside until they are fully feathered - usually 8 weeks as predators can easily pick them up and dispense of them before you can blink!

    They will be well worth the problems once you can let them outside, although all of mine come indoors overnight they cause a mess and a bog of stench like nothing I have ever known..... love them!!!
    p.s. They are usually a brown/green colour when they emerge from their overnight accommodation but they soon clean up in the river or mill pond here!
  9. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Just a guess about not sleeping - maybe the younger ones especially are just a tad chilly? I kept my three week olds at around 80F, with cooler areas available in the brooder. Constant peeping can be (not always) a sign that they are not quite warm enough. Or, they just are hyper!

    No, really, mine did sleep pretty well at night. As they aged, though, they would nap for a few hours then rock out for a few hours.

    One night I did not sleep much because they were partying and I could almost hear them yell, "laissez les bon temps roulez!!!"

    It was around Mardi Gras, in fact. . . . . hmmmmm Cajun runners?

    Remember, it's not forever - just some long-feeling weeks, and then they are all grown up.

  10. duckking

    duckking Songster

    Sep 2, 2010
    Cascade Foothills, WA
    Ours were inside from day 2 until they were about 10 weeks because of the weather and the duck house not being finished. First they were in a plastic tub, then moved to the bathtub. Once they were off the heat lamp, we set them up in a bathroom with a shower stall. Food and water were in the stall. We used towels on the floor. The laundry room is right there.....veerrrrrrrrry convenient. Would just turn the shower on a couple of times a day to clean it out and the ducks loved to get under the shower. They would follow my son up the stairs to the tub for their daily bath. We never had a problem with them at night. They were always quiet and they still are. Once they are in their duck house for the night, not a quack. Rouens and Mallards.

    I agree with Amiga....they might be too chilled. Mine were on heat for 5-6 weeks until it was down to room temperature. and they were feathered out nicely.....but we keep the house cool. Or they are hyper and need a shot of scotch in their water before bed......[​IMG]

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