Pea gravel & sand in winter

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by DuckMamaorBust, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. DuckMamaorBust

    DuckMamaorBust Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 15, 2009
    Westford, MA
    I've been reading in the Coops & Run Design forum about using pea gravel or sand in runs. One concern I've seen raised is that sand gets very cold in winter and wouldn't be suitable for colder climates. The folks in that forum are concerned about chicken feet. I know ducks are more cold hardy and I know they still hang out on ponds and shorelines with sand in very cold weather.

    My question is, are there folks living in really cold climates who use either sand or pea gravel in their runs? Have you had any issues with it? Also, pea gravel was appealing to me because you can hose the large amounts of poop off with periodic hosing. However, in winter we shut-off the outside spigots. I was thinking either straw on top (basically deep litter in the run) or using sand and still raking it in winter.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. sianara

    sianara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2007
    Central MA
    Hi, I live in Central MA and have been using sand in all my runs for several years now without a problem. In fact, I just did the "fall" cleaning of all the runs (shoveled out the old stuff and shoveled in the new stuff with plenty of DE mixed in). I like to have a plastic bin full of fresh sand in each run to freshen it up during the winter months. I always start with a base of about 3-4 inches of fresh sand.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2009
  3. DuckMamaorBust

    DuckMamaorBust Out Of The Brooder

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    29
    Sep 15, 2009
    Westford, MA
    That's GREAT! Thanks so much for posting. I'm in Eastern, MA.

    So, during the winter do you still rake the sand clean or do you put something on top of the sand and then just rake it out in spring? Have you found a use for the used sand? Do you have a truckload of sand delivered every year and then distribute it to the pens?
     
  4. duckluck

    duckluck Dulcimyrh Ducks

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    Oct 22, 2009
    Illinois
    I'm going to weigh in on this topic because, while I do not have much experience with ducks as yet (this is my first year with them) we live in the Wauponsee Glacial area here in Illinois, therefore, our whole property is one big sand deposit. We are close to the Mazon Fossil vein. I have kept horses successfully on sand for 10+ years; basically, we either rake manure out or run the tractor through with the bucket to remove manure. Sand does a wonderful job of drying out and breaking down manure generally, though we do usually add sand or limestone under our shelters as least once a year. Years ago I worked as a wildlife rehabilitator and we used sand in many of our bird cages/flights; usually, we used a sifter for these smaller applications. It worked well with our quail and raptors, but I think the raking and adding worked better in the outside flights. Limestone keeps the smell down, though, and is available here pretty inexpensively through local quarries.
     

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