New to ducks, have some questions...

Sublime69

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 13, 2014
49
0
34
Ok so im new to owning ducks and i just wanted to ask a few questions. I am going to be getting 4 rouens from farm and fleet this week. I am going to make a coop and a pen for them. My pen is going to be about 10' x 4'. Where the pen is going to be at is just dirt right now. What should the floor of the pen be for easiest maintenance? Should it have anything on the very bottom to keep predators out? I have a lot of raccoons around my house. Should I just use hay for inside the coop? Any other tips/tricks i should know??

Thanks!
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
10 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,202
2,640
531
Southern New England

Photo inside the Day Pen showing what's on the bottom.


Welcome to the Duck Forum!

For the bottom of the Day Pen, I have coated chain link, sandwiched between two 1"x6" boards that go around the perimeter of the Day Pen. That keeps anything bigger than a rodent from being able to dig under and into the pen. I also have the top of the pen fenced with 2"x3" coated woven wire. The sides are the same, but with a small diameter coated chicken wire around the bottom two feet, as well.

On top of the chain link, is a nice few inches of compost that we built up by putting chopped straw in the pen, then the ducks pooped on that, it got stirred up, and another light layer of chopped straw put on, and eventually it became a nice straw-over-compost base. Under the swim pans there is a mix of smooth pea gravel and sand. It gets a bit mucky sometimes so I shovel off the top inch and add that to the compost pile outside the pen. And sometimes I rake out some of the base in the pen and put that on the garden.

Odor is not a problem. Hot weather requires more maintenance. I also use fly predators and fly traps in the warm weather.

Another advantage of a nice carbon material with the poop, is that worms come up into the base and the ducks can forage all day, keeping themselves amused and getting some free protein.
 
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Sublime69

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 13, 2014
49
0
34
Thanks for the info! So i dont need to put down gravel first then do the straw compost? I was just going to get a small baby pool or something similar for a pond, and just set it in there. Also, as far as feeding goes. Should the feed be in a container for them?
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
10 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,202
2,640
531
Southern New England
I have the gravel and sand under the kiddie pool and out about a foot or two, the rest of it is just compost and straw over the fence, that sits on the soil. There were so many stones and tree roots I did not want to dig down - so the Day Pen is essentially a giant basket (or box) sitting on the ground.

Yes, the feed needs to be in a container. They will spill some, but it is best to feed them in bowls or trays.
 

Sublime69

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 13, 2014
49
0
34
Ok. Lastly (not really ha), what should their diet consit of? Anything they should stay away from?
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
10 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,202
2,640
531
Southern New England
A balanced feed is a good basis. There are some recipes out there for mix-your-own. I don't do that, yet.

But processed foods, like bread and pasta, not a good part of the diet. In cases where you must get them to take a pill or something, then sometimes wrapping it in bread is a way to feed them medicine. But not the best regular diet or treat, even.

There is a sticky on duck treats with some good advice. The link to the sticky list is in blue letters at the top of the Duck Forum index.

If using chick starter, ducklings usually do better with added niacin (plain) to their water at 100 to 150 mg per gallon, or a sprinkling of brewer's yeast on their food.

Laying ducks will need extra calcium. Free choice oyster shell is good, some of my ducks don't seem to eat enough of that so I supplement with 23% calcium gluconate, two teaspoons per cup of water added to their feed, or in extreme cases, a quarter teaspoon in two tablespoons of mashed thawed frozen peas.
 
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