Plants that can grow faster than my ducks can eat them. Difficulty: Texas


Apr 16, 2017
Dallas, Tx
At the end of winter this year, my nine ducks had reduced the "duck" section of my back yard (around 2/3rds, fenced) to a filthy, stinking mud hole. I'm on my second 50 pound bag of grass seed since February, and we are winning. The duck yard has a thin layer of grass covering most of it, with some mulch shoveled over the gross clay mud/dirt and the beginnings of grass starting there, too.

Yes, the ducks trample the grass. Yes, they eat half the seed we put down. It's worth it to have my ducks not constantly squelching around in mud, worried half to death about botulism and never able to sit out there without galoshes. If that means forty bucks every other month for grass seed, then so be it. They're pets rather than livestock, and the joy I get out of those stupid little jerks makes it worth it.

However...does anyone know a better way? I'm not talking about mulch paths or pebbles, I want a carpet of green. But I don't care if that green is grass or something else. We've got regular ground plus a system of trenches around the fruit trees that I also need to be careful about, it's all clay soil with a thin but growing level of duck poo, hay, and mulch, and this is our second year of ducks.

Yes, I thought of kudzu, but beyond the fact that it's less illegal to grow pot (which my ducks would also eat, and who wants super high ducks talking about the universe and their parents?), I'm just not that irresponsible.

Who has suggestions on things I could broadcast widely to keep up with the ducks? Must not be toxic to ducks, because I guess that would be ONE way to solve my ducks-eating-the-lawn-problem, but it seems extreme. Must be duck-edible, because I'm still not going to mow the duck yard. And must be able to outpace the ducks. Also, 110 degree days are coming. I am willing to water it.
What about sod? that way it would be established once put down. You'd have to do the research in what would grow in your section of the country though.

Unless your throwing down organic grass seed you need to be careful even with seed it is usually treated with something that maybe harmful to our lil stickers.

Or large pavers for part and sod for the rest.
Do you have pavers or gravel around their pool or water source? Would this help protect the rest of the vegetation more possibly and minimize the mud some?

At some of our feed/ranch stores they have bulk bins of different types of grass seed. Some are generic, but some are specifically mixed for our geographic location. I imagine the special mix to be hardier and I also imagine the seed from the bulk bins to be more economical than the pre-packaged bags of seed.

I have yet to try these options myself, but have been thinking much about what I am going to do with my yard and duck/chicken area(s) this summer.
Just thinking all that money your spending on grass seed could possibly go towards sod? Yep most grass seed is treated. unless organic.

Hmmm...I hate to be "that guy" who asks for advice and then turns their nose up at it, but can you point me in any direction on learning more about that? I've been looking on and off since you said that, and I can't seem to find any mention of grass seed being treated with anything toxic to birds or otherwise. I'd love to read more about that, if you can tip me off to where to look.

As an update, we just picked up a fifty pound bag of japanese millet. I expect the ducks to eat a good half of it before it can even sprout, but if the other half gets going, then it'll be totally worth it.
I’m a big fan of yarrow. Soft and ferny foliage. Medical properties to heal wounds. Ducks feet are their weakness. Tough as nails and spreads like crazy. Pretty flowers. They won’t eat it in my experience, at all. Not forage.
Chicory, pretty blue flowers, they graze on the leaves, but don’t wipe out. super easy to grow from seed.
Collard greens, chard, sorrel, water cress(spicy, don’t eat much and good in wet areas, broad leaf better than curly.), borage, dicondra, and Jonny jump ups are all easy to grow from scattering seed. Buy in bulk, those tiny packages are a rip off.
You could always grow your own sod squares. We did it for my daughter's wedding.

Two ways to do it. Get some of those big turkey roasting pans made out of toss away aluminum, poke holes for drainage, dirt, seed, put someplace the ducks can't get to it until it grows a good root mat. Second way is to get a cheap bag of potting soil, cut an H in it (like the tiny boxes of cereal), fold the flaps back, use a skewer to poke holes, seed. Once you have a good root mat in it, you can lift it, leaving some dirt and do it again.

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