pebbles for ground in duck enclosure, any ideas?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by OmaJulie, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. OmaJulie

    OmaJulie Hatching

    Jul 2, 2015
    Has anyone used pebbles in their duck enclosure? I have been using the layer of leaves, straw, hay method and it is not drying out and it is staying very wet. I like to spray their poop with water to dissolve it and keep down the smell and flies, but that just adds to the moisture problem. I was thinking with pebbles at least the top layer would be dry. Please give me advice. Thanks!

  2. Donna R Raybon

    Donna R Raybon Chirping

    Apr 13, 2016
    How about stall mats for horses?
  3. OmaJulie

    OmaJulie Hatching

    Jul 2, 2015
    It seems like those would be more expensive than pebbles? thank you for replying.
  4. BabyandCotton

    BabyandCotton Songster

    Jun 14, 2016
    What about sand? I feel like pebbles might hurt their feet, and sand acts as a natural nail filer. You scoop the poop like you would in a litter box and same with mud.
    LaineyMehrer likes this.
  5. Quackalackin

    Quackalackin In the Brooder

    May 3, 2016
    It seems like horse mats would have even less drainage. I have them under my deep litter, but as the only surface it seems like a mess. I've heard sand tends to not be as effective with ducks as with chickens, but I've considered the option. I'm considering moving to pebbles as well though. I use deep litter inside and right now outside they are just on the grass and it's becoming a mess. My plan for my run is to use the deep litter method under their covered area, but using pebbles in the uncovered area/pool area. Seems easy enough to hose down and hopefully not get quite as nasty when it rains

  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    One thing to watch for is a lack of slope, or slope in the wrong direction, in the pen. There should be an overall slope of about 2% - about 2 inches per 8 feet of length. Because no matter what base you use in the pen, if water cannot flow out, there will be issues, especially if there is clay in the soil, or a hard pan (tightly packed soil) underneath.

    I use smooth pea gravel and sand (mostly gravel) under the swim pans, and I add a bit of chopped straw and leaves to the rest of the pen. Those mix with the duck manure and make a lovely, earthy-smelling compost.
  7. Carter90

    Carter90 Hatching

    Jun 19, 2016
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I use wood shavings from the inside cage and put them in the outdoor enclosure when its wet.
    It tends to dry in 2 days and there is no noticeable poop smell.

    Rocks can be difficult for the ducks feet as they are uneven surfaces also it will prevent them looking for bugs and may damage young ducks beaks.
  8. Trifolium

    Trifolium In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2016
    Los Angeles, California
    For some reason, I just don't think putting pebbles in the entire enclosure would be such a good idea.

    Rocks is not absorbent so that won't help your smell. Pebbles are small and generally smooth so they shouldn't hurt your ducks feet but I imagine it wouldn't be too comfortable either since they will always have to walk on it (since entire enclosure is rocks). Once they poop on it, the poop will eventually get trapped in between the rocks, soon the rocks will probably clog and you'll have to try to rake it (which is probably difficult, rocks are heavy). I suppose you could try hosing it but that would just make it even more wet and the rocks act as a mulch slowing down the evaporation of water beneath it.

    Placing rocks just for your swimming area or waterer to separate the mud from the water would be a better idea so they can't dig dirt and put it back into their water source.

    Sand is pretty good (when it's dry) when you first start out, and you can scoop out like a cat litter. Once it starts to get wet, it is very smelly and messy. Since sand is pretty fine, it doesn't leave much room for evaporation of the surface beneath it. I'd think it would stay wet for quite a while unless you want to be turning it. Same with rocks, if you want to remove it because it didn't work so well, it will be a workout as it's pretty heavy to haul out.

    As for straw, leaves, and hay, they don't absorb moisture very well unless you chop them up really well exposing more ends to absorb. From my experience, they mat down pretty easily with poop meaning you will have to put in labor to rake and turn it.

    My best absorbent material has been dried pine wood shavings which I just sprinkle more on top as needed. Some brands are better than others. The ones we get here are very uniform, fluffy (will fluff back up), without odd sticks, wood chips, and odd pieces. I've used some brands that weren't as good so you will have experiment with the ones in your area. Shavings tend to work well when dry so if your enclosure is exposed and get lots of rain, this would not be your choice of material.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  9. OmaJulie

    OmaJulie Hatching

    Jul 2, 2015
    Wow, thank you everyone for your input! I can see that I need to address the slope first of all! My ducks, Dausy, Pip and Theodore really enjoy burrowing down in the dirt when it gets wet. I would hate for them to have none of that. Their area us nicely shaded, but if course that slows the evaporation also (mixed blessing). I have an inflatable kids swimming pool that I change the water in every other day and put clover and grass clippings in for them. It looks like I need to aim towards a mixture of things.
    I am also trying to train them to spend some time each day foraging in my yard. I let my girls (6 chickens) forage each afternoon -hopefully after they have dutifully laid their eggs. The ducks are still pretty scared to be 'out', but I will keep working at it.

  10. In the Duck house I use pine shavings.
    In the outside run I use pea gravel on the bottom with a top layer of Gravel. Also sidewalk blocks under their pool.
    Stays drier and is so easy to hose off.

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