Pen flooring

RJKnott

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Mar 25, 2020
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What’s a good alternative as a flooring for a duck pen. I use straw but to call the pen a muddy mess after a while would be a compliment. And I darn near gave myself a heart attack this morning trying to clean the mud hole out after we got a ton of rain this week.

something soft on the feet as half my ducks have had bumblefoot at some point. Any recommendations?
 

KaleIAm

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Jul 13, 2015
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Is this outside or inside? Covered or not? How big and how many ducks live in it?

I have found that grass works really well, but I have a 30x30 aviary. I have had up to 6 ducks in it and been able to keep it grassy with no bumbles year around. We live near Seattle with lots of rain, and when it rains for weeks in a row there are large puddles in the low spots. We put in gutters to pipe the water away from the barn roof so that water doesn't go into their aviary, too. I think building up the ground would also help, but we haven't done that.

I divided the aviary into a front and backyard, and when the grass gets thin on one side the ducks live in the other yard and I reseed. This way they always have a lush area for their delicate feet.

There is a small concrete slab in their backyard the previous home owner put in. I covered that with a work out foam puzzle mat thing. My duck with very sensitive feet had to live on the puzzle mat for a few months, and she never got bumblefoot. That might be another option - though it isn't absorbent.
 

Isadora

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I currently use wood chips with a pile of straw in the corner of them for nesting. I used to use straw, but like you said it's a bear to clean. No trouble with bumblefoot so far, but I'm keeping a watchful eye because I know people have had issues with wood chips before.
My pen is a movable tractor, which I don't move too often. I used to have to do a full clean out with the straw once a week or so, but with the wood chips they're obvious spots that are soiled and the rest I just leave.
 

RJKnott

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Mar 25, 2020
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@KaleIAm its outside 20x20.
I had grass but my yard has very soft ground. Normally Alabama ground is hard and lots of clay. This is straight dirt. And the crawfish from my pond have dug tunnels all over the yard so the ground naturally gets very muddy and damp. The ducks killed whatever natural grass was out there in their pen almost immediately. That’s why I put straw down and it worked great for a while but it’s a pain to clean, especially when we get a ton of rain.
Even when it doesn’t rain, craw fish tunnels bring water all around the yard. My lawn is perpetually damp at best

8 ducks live in the pen pretty well. My ducks are mostly lazy and chase bugs in their pen and lay in the sun. But my male who has very weak legs, last night he was covered in mud and had to be cleaned.
It’s partially covered. My next DIY project will be shoring up the roof on it a bit
 

KaleIAm

Free Ranging
7 Years
Jul 13, 2015
3,537
10,405
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Carnation, Wa
I currently use wood chips with a pile of straw in the corner of them for nesting. I used to use straw, but like you said it's a bear to clean. No trouble with bumblefoot so far, but I'm keeping a watchful eye because I know people have had issues with wood chips before.
My pen is a movable tractor, which I don't move too often. I used to have to do a full clean out with the straw once a week or so, but with the wood chips they're obvious spots that are soiled and the rest I just leave.
I'm jealous of your tractor! I used straw inside for many years. 5? And emptied it every weekend. Now that I don't have any ducks with sensitive feet I am gratefully using pine shavings again inside the barn.
 

KaleIAm

Free Ranging
7 Years
Jul 13, 2015
3,537
10,405
731
Carnation, Wa
@KaleIAm its outside 20x20.
I had grass but my yard has very soft ground. Normally Alabama ground is hard and lots of clay. This is straight dirt. And the crawfish from my pond have dug tunnels all over the yard so the ground naturally gets very muddy and damp. The ducks killed whatever natural grass was out there in their pen almost immediately. That’s why I put straw down and it worked great for a while but it’s a pain to clean, especially when we get a ton of rain.
Even when it doesn’t rain, craw fish tunnels bring water all around the yard. My lawn is perpetually damp at best

8 ducks live in the pen pretty well. My ducks are mostly lazy and chase bugs in their pen and lay in the sun. But my male who has very weak legs, last night he was covered in mud and had to be cleaned.
It’s partially covered. My next DIY project will be shoring up the roof on it a bit
Oh crawfish! We don't have those! We do have so many moles/voles digging tunnels. We have hardware cloth under our aviary trying to block them and rats.

Since it seems like grass won't work for you I wonder if those puzzle mats might, if you sprayed them off with a hose every night. They feel pretty squishy under my feet - I'm not sure how much give there is for a 3-10 lb duck.
 

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