Hi! So, I'm totally new here, but I'm really excited about getting ducks this spring and was wondering if anyone might be able to help out with a few questions. I've been reading *a lot* online and off (forums, blogs, storey's guide, etc.) in preparation... but I want to make sure of a few things before I start stocking up on stuff... I've read different things re. food and food storage - mostly "buy small quantities." I'm terrible with math and I'm not sure what constitutes small or approximately how long a 10 lb./25 lb./etc. bag will last for 4 ducks. (I do have a spare vittles vault that holds up to a 50 lb bag of food though... Once they've graduated from starter feed, is it really bad to get the big bags as long as I keep them in an airtight container?) I was planning on ordering a bag of duck starter from McGeary Organics, but I'd like to know how big of a bag I should start off with for 4 ducklings - 10 or 25? I've also read to wait a week or two before using kiln dried shavings in the brooder... what do you suggest as an alternative? I feel like I could almost set up their brooder the same way my hedgehog's enclosure used to be -- the floor of which was simply a layer of coroplast underneath interchangeable fleece liners. When they'd get messy, I'd wipe down the coroplast w/ a water + chlorhexidine solution, dry it, and then replace the fleece. I've seen a few people mention painters drop cloths and tablecloths, but fleece is just so cheap (especially when it's in the remnants section), and it can be easily thrown in the wash on sanitize to be reused... Also, a couple of serious backyard planning questions: The area I want to convert into a duck home (for when they're fully grown in the summer) is backed up to our garage... It's a covered area with 3 walls that I guess the previous homeowners sorta used as a summer hangout spot - I'm thinking of just screening in the 4th side & adding a door. Last summer the garage was sprayed for termites, and last fall (October) it was sprayed for spiders/other pests. Should this be a concern? I obviously don't intend to have it sprayed again, but could there be any residual chemicals from that many months back that I should worry about? Also, one of our two dogs got whipworm last fall... I had one dog on interceptor (from her previous vet in another state) so she was fine, but the other was on heartgard because my current vet didn't carry interceptor. Needless to say, I now order interceptor for them both. However, I have heard of whipworms living in soil for years... If there are whipworms in the yard, 1. can these affect the ducks? ...and 2. what can I do about it? (I'm still quite annoyed that my yard could have been potentially contaminated all because of one day at the groomer's/doggy daycare.) Is dusting the future-duck-areas with diatomaceous earth a good idea? Is it enough? I'm probably overly paranoid, but I just want to make sure the ducks aren't at risk... The ducks shouldn't really moving out there until mid to late May, so we have a few months to prep the yard... Those are just my biggest concerns. And, of course, any other advice is appreciated as well! Thanks.