what is the best for ducks? i currently am using shavings but its just so messy. i want to try straw and i am headed to the feed store day after tomorrow so thought i would find out what other duck owners pefer.
I have done both. Personal choice was the shavings. Smell is so much nicer. I'd only change the floor shavings 2 times a week. Sometimes only once. Depended on how much water they'd spill. I always provide water in the duck coop through the night. Well anyway... I also used shavings in their nest boxes, and they'd never poop in those, just everywhere else. I had a 4x5 coop, and I put bread crates in the back, and then the ducks only used them for laying, and that made a big difference too. So, I only had a 2x4 area of shavings to clean out regularly, and I would only clean the nest crates as needed, about once every 2 weeks. I also had the coop on a tilt, so water that got spilled would drain out through the crack under the door.
I would use straw in the winter. Made for a thicker pallet for them to nestle in. In the middle of the week, I'd break up 2 flakes and chuck them in on top of the straw that was there. Then at the end of the week, I'd clean it all out and put fresh. I'd use about 4 flakes a week, so a bale would last me about 2 weeks, sometimes longer depending on where I'd get the straw. In the winter, it wasn't that bad, but when the weather warmed... YUCK smell wise. But that is just me.
I live off of Lake Michigan... If that gives you an idea of my weather.
I have shavings and straw...straw in the night house,,and shavings in the night enclosure,( I have 2 different places cause I separate the ducklings from the big guys at night) ,I prefer the shavings in the summer,,and straw in the winter. In the winter I just keep adding a little each week,,by spring it's a mess to empty but then we start new with shavings. But I do not like using straw in the duck house,,it's so smelly in the summer..so I only use it for the call ducks since they make much less a mess in their night house. I don't give water in any of the night enclosures.
I used straw and peat moss and shavings in the brooder ( which was a 300 gallon stock tank). I used a temporary 'deep litter' method, and cleaned the tank out 2x in 4 weeks. I found I preferred the straw for this because it was easier to clean out with a pitch fork. Also, the fresh layer of straw each night provided the ducklings with hours of entertainment as the rooted around in it for stray seeds.
Straw in PA is worth more than Rapunzel's hair ($9/bale), though, as the gas well companies are using it faster than it's growing. Because of the exorbitant cost, I decided to use the flake pine shavings from TSC ($5/bale) for the duck house.
Also, since I'm using deep litter, and not cleaning the coop out all the time, I find I prefer the shavings to the straw anyway. The shavings are more absorbent and less smelly, and are easier to mix up than clumpy wet matted straw. Not to mention, when all the composty goodness ends up in my gardens, there will be no seeds to cause me more work.