plants and shrubs for duck pen?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by vegaschik99, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. vegaschik99

    vegaschik99 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 10, 2010
    I'm in the process of building my duck pen and want to plant some ornamental grass and what not. Do you guys have any opinions on what to plant or what not to plant?
  2. Hennyhandler

    Hennyhandler SilkieJax

    Jun 10, 2009
    I was wondering the same thing. So I hope someone will answer this too. [​IMG]
  3. Hattiegun

    Hattiegun Chillin' With My Peeps

    Im also wondering , I know I found a really good post on this once...
    Ill keep looking [​IMG][​IMG]
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I think it is a good idea. What climate zone are you in (if you don't know, could you indicate what general area you live in)?

    Bear in mind that depending on the total amount of space you have, the ducks may be inclined to "weed" their pen of things you would rather keep going [​IMG]

    There are ways around that - some have put chicken wire around the base of small shrubs and clumps of vegetation so that even if the ducks like to nibble at the leaves, they cannot get at the main stem and kill the plant.

    You may also want to plant things they will enjoy eating up, but have a small chicken wire fence around some areas and move the fence to let areas rest and grow a bit before letting the ducks have at it.

    If the ducks are fairly dense for the area, expect them to take out most of the vegetation. If they have loads of elbow room, their work won't be so apparent.

    There are plants that are toxic to ducks. You need to look around for lists. I recall legumes being a bad idea for them, and certainly things like poison oak and poison ivy should be out of the area. They prefer tender greens. You might consider evergreen shrubs for shade, but be aware that yew bushes can produce fruits that are quite poisonous (they can kill an adult human, so there is probably enough toxin to kill a duck).

    Ducks enjoy blueberries, from what I hear. Planting them so that their branches overhang the duck area on one side may make it possible for them to have some and for you to have some!

    The place to start is with your own climate zone (what will grow there), whether your place is sunny or shady (the ducks need shade but many plants prefer sun) then remove plants toxic to ducks from the list and choose what you prefer from there.

    You may have success growing duckweed, an aquatic plant.
  5. Sweetfolly

    Sweetfolly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2009
    Kildare, Wisconsin
    The only thing my ducks haven't killed are evergreen trees - we have good-sized White Pines in a few of the duck runs.
    They did manage to kill some 5-foot-tall Maple trees. [​IMG]
  6. TennesseeTruly

    TennesseeTruly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Church Hill, TN
    I have monkey grass in my duck pens. It hasn't come back up yet though because Spring has just sprung here. I also planted a willow tree in the pen.

  7. DuckDuckGuinea

    DuckDuckGuinea University of North Quackalina

    Aug 23, 2009
    We put a small christmas tree in December and it is just starting to die. I have never ever seen a tree hold on so long. The ducks love to lay on the lower branches around the tree.
  8. fisharescary

    fisharescary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2010
    Quote:Like, planted? Or propped up a cut tree?
  9. savingdogs

    savingdogs Chillin' With My Peeps

    I got the feeling the ducks would wipe out any vegetation in their enclosure unless it is huge, am I correct? We are setting up our outdoor area as we have ducklings arriving Wednesday, so I find this thread interesting!
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    There is a relationship between the number of ducks per square foot, the number of hours per day the ducks have access, the type of vegetation, and the results.

    For the first two, the larger the number, the less vegetation will remain.

    The third, there are some plants that can stand up better than others, but that can be undone by the first two numbers being too high.

    "Too high" is going to depend on: the particular ducks and their feeding program, availability of water to play in, the climate, and a few other things I am sure I missed ([​IMG] )

    If your total area is too small (again, a somewhat relative number), no amount of moving the ducks will help much. One approach used is to have a sacrifice area - an area where the ducks are kept longest, and that would have something like sand or other substrate that drains well and is easy to clean, but with no vegetation.

    Then the ducks can be let out into other areas for short periods of time.

    That said, I think the original post was about what to plant. If you want something the ducks will like to eat, then greens are a good choice, beans, garlic and onions are no-no's (from what I have been told). They love berries. They will also enjoy a nice fluffy mulch they can work through to eat insects and such. Grass is yummy when it is tender (before it joints). They like watercress, so if you are handy you could create an aquaponic setup with watercress fertilized by duck-soiled water (check out what Wifezilla has begun).

    I plan to give mine access to compost piles and garden areas at certain times of the year, but not unlimited. They ought to do a good job of prepping some beds and weeding others.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by