Question on using pea gravel for duck run- our vet disapproves

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by MarieNC, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. MarieNC

    MarieNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have four ducks that are about a year old and they have a large enclosed run, half of which is protected by a roof and half isn't. I have always used pea gravel for their run b/c it's easy to hose down, and I've put straw in their beds and wood shavings in the nest box. I had to take one of my Pekin drakes to the vet on Friday for an eye infection, and the vet noticed he had callouses on his feet and said these were from walking on the pea gravel. She said they could become ulcerated and cause Bumblefoot. It seems like a lot of you use pea gravel for your runs, so I'm curious to hear what others have to say about this. The vet suggested removing the gravel and replacing it with straw or wood shavings, which I imagine would be a nightmare when it gets wet. Any thoughts about this?
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I am wondering if terminology makes a difference. The pea gravel I use is tumbled, smooth, and half to three quarters of an inch diameter.

    And I am not inferring anything about the vet when I ask, does the vet have ducks? Perhaps it has been her personal experience.

    If I were to have to replace the gravel with something, it would probably be a low platform of one inch balusters (with the rounded corners) about a quarter inch apart. I would put that on top of the pea gravel.

    I wouldn't use uncoated hardware cloth, talk about abrasive! That stuff scratches the Dickens out of me when I work with it. Wood shavings get pretty funky pretty quickly, as does straw.

    Something organic that does work for me, I just don't have enough of it, is dried oak leaves. I use them to reduce odor in the warmest months. I think it's the tannic acid in them.

    So, those are my thoughts.
     
  3. ambrose

    ambrose Out Of The Brooder

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    amiga -- do you shred the oak leaves or use them whole?
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Just toss them in whole.


    I would love to find a nonelectric shredder. But a thin layer of whole oak leaves works for us. It gets changed out once or twice in the summer, mostly because it makes a little mat. All the stuff that collects on the leaves goes with them to the compost pile, where it becomes wonderful garden soil amendment!
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  5. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had just straw/pine shavings for a while & yes it got wet, but it also held that moisture. I worried about it getting moldy & gross. I switched to pea gravel & have had no problems in a year with their feet. I have also never noticed any abrasions on their feet, and I look very regularly.
    This winter I added a layer of straw over the pea gravel - not thick unless bad weather was projected, in which case I fill the whole duck house nice & deep with straw - and I raked it out every few days, then sprayed down & covered the pea gravel with straw again once it dried.
    I am curious what other people have to say on this always hot button topic.
     
  6. galgo98

    galgo98 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure if this counts... My DH is a vet, and we have pea gravel in with our ducks and geese. We've only had ducks for 1 year, but we haven't seen a correlation between bumblefoot and the pea gravel. This is certainly not an official study.

    I agree with Amiga.. we use the small, tumbled, smooth stones. I don't know if there is a different type of pea gravel.

    We also added a thin layer of straw over the pea gravel this winter just for some extra insulation.
     
  7. jruhle

    jruhle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I started using moss in my duck pen and they love it! First they sift through it for bugs then they snuggle down in it. Its very soft and absorbant and keeps the odor down since its very acidic. It also looks really nice! Where I live moss is plentiful and grows everywhere which is really nice to have a free and very lightweight bedding at my disposal. As for using oak leaves thats a great idea also!
     
  8. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Moss! Huh. What a great idea.
     
  9. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

  10. MarieNC

    MarieNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for this handout but I can't access it for some reason. Our vet is an avian and exotic animal specialist but I don't know how much experience she has with ducks. I read elsewhere about someone putting pine straw on top of their pea gravel. I may give this a try.
     

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