Oak Leaves v. Straw for deep litter method.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Denninmi, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2009
    What a difference. Since I got my ducks last year and built them a pen in September, I have been using dried oak leaves for their bedding. I use the "deep litter" method where I dump out about 8-10 inches of leaves. I turn it every day to every other day, topdress with additional leaves as needed, probably about every 5 to 7 days, and generally shovel it all out about every 4 weeks.

    I have access to bazillions of bags of oak leaves in the fall -- many of the trees around here are oaks, and people bag them all up and put them out to the curb for municipal composting. I was able to gather well over 500 bags of leaves last year for my garden, as well as probably 100 to 120 for the birds, which I stored in all of my various nooks and crannies in garages, sheds, greenhouses.

    Well, I ran out last week, and now have to use straw until October.

    Yuck -- guess what -- they stink now! Apparently, the low pH and high tannin content of the oak leaves was great at keeping down the growth of bacteria in the litter. Straw not so much -- all of the sudden I have an odor problem with the duck pen. The ducks don't seem to mind, but I do.
     
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Wow, I like the oak leave idea. Had not idea it was working so well, but it does make sense. Wish I had them available here. I'm up in pine country and use pine shavings. I do only sprinkle them onto the floor in their house and sweep it out daily. Perhaps you can do that until fall.
     
  3. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pine shavings are more expensive than straw but would smell better, and I think pine has a relatively low pH. I will probably get some from the pet store and try to at least topdress the straw with them.

    My ducks just love it when I put fresh oak leaves in the enclosure. They spend hours rooting through and find various things to eat. Mostly acorns, but there must be other stuff in the leaves, too, that they like. They are going through the straw, too, but not with the same enthusiasm.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  4. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Try a feed store instead, the pet stores are quite expense.
     

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