Too cold to clean duck pen. How do you deal with frozen poo?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by SycolinWoodsChickens, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. SycolinWoodsChickens

    SycolinWoodsChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    OK, we didn't get our barn built last summer so the ducks and chickens are living in pens in a huge garage and seem pretty darn happy. They go out to free range when someone is home. Two of the walls adjoining the house are connected to heated rooms and even with a window open at the top for ventilation they are pretty comfortable.

    This afternoon it is 22 here and the wind is howling. When I let them out, then proceeded to try to scrape and clean the pen I realized I can't budge anything. The poo is mixed in with their spilled water and is frozen solid. First time this has happened.

    All I can do is fluff their hay and refill the water but the poo ice has to stay until it gets warmer. Ughh... I can't imagine what two or three days of poo ice is going to be like to clean.

    Anyone else have this problem?
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I keep an oil filled radiator in the duck house, and keep the temperature slightly above freezing (35-40). That way I don't have to worry about their poo being frozen to the ground. Perhaps you can heat the garage a little bit. BTW they sell insulation panels for regular garage doors. I added them to my shops garage door and it is now nice the cozy.
  3. DuckLady

    DuckLady ~~~Administrator~~~BYC Store Support Staff Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    I would rather crunch frozen duck poo than slip on wet duck poo.

    We use a snow shovel and scrape it out of our way.

    In the duck garage, I just add straw and turn it as is possible.
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Me too!
  5. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    I throw some more straw on it and wait for it to get warmer out. Seriously! I use the deep litter method [​IMG]
  6. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Second wifezilla. Throw a layer on top and wait for the next thaw. The layers below will either stay frozen and be ready for mucking in the spring, or they'll thaw and start decomposing over winter--in which case they'll provide extra warmth in the barn. I have a tub of water partially buried in the thick layer of bedding, and the decomposition keeps it thawed often when other water sources are frozen (but not always--right now it's so darn cold my nose hairs freeze when I walk out the door).

    I actually prefer the frozen poo to wet poo--it doesn't stink and it's not mushy. I clean less often in winter. Even when it all thaws, it's not particularly stinky because I've been adding extra straw and the extra carbon reduces stink.
  7. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    And those layers of poopy duck straw are great on the garden beds.
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Ditto iamcuriositycat and Wifezilla on the deep litter.

    I also have some experimental sections of the day pen to see what worked.

    Sawdust pats down quite a bit, and freezes hard and the layers underneath go anaerobic. Not my goal. Not terrible, just not my goal. Sawdust does keep the odor down when the weather is warmer (carbon to balance the nitrogen in the poop).

    The best area in the day pen is where I laid down coco coir on the ground, and layered straw over that. I have not checked in a few days, but before, when the temps were in the 20s and 30s at night, I could turn over a section of that area with the cultivator (rake), and there were green sprouts and warmth and bugs. That is what I was hoping for! So, I will be converting more of the day pen to that kind of cover. I had been concerned about mold, but there has been none with this combination, which I started in the late summer.

    I have enclosed another garden area for runaround and foraging. It has vinca minor (myrtle), many wildflowers and slightly raised beds (asparagus). I cover the beds with straw. So the ducks have a good time rooting around in the leaves and straw, and it doesn't matter that their droppings freeze pretty quickly. They just toss them out of their way.
  9. linda_zeagler31002

    linda_zeagler31002 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 12, 2010
    Adrian, Georgia
    hmmmmmm the only draw back to the coco coir is the quality, coco coir usually has large concentrations of salt or soduim, and when they wash and wash to try and remove this byproduct it reduces the quality in the coco coir, unless you are growing your own Coconut trees and harvesting your own coco coir, this product for quality could be extremly costly to fill duck pens or if poor quality toxic to ducks, and here in the parts of the U.S we are located, well Amiga, we don't have coconut trees, we have Peach trees and Pecan trees. I tried the long needle pine straw, and my pens became overly strong with toxic ammonia scent, so tried alpha mixed hay, and lord that was back breaking to pitch fork out, so I tried saw dust, that shovel like to have broke my back to turn and scoop out, well we tried sand and peanut shells, and now it did a pretty good job, we went with our full size truck to the block-cement company and bought a ton of sand for say example $25 and the farmer next to us had the peanut husk and hulls free left over in a pile from the peanut hay, the sand again did prettttty darn good, but you know what I come to fail and finally reliazed after having a 1,500 ducks and 50 pens to clean and turn the soil, it is all in the size of the pen, if you are have a mulky mess, you have to many ducks in to small of a area or pens with to much water access for them to splash around and make a mess along with there large poopings, once I figured that out and built bigger pens with down hill slopes for water from kiddy pools, and/or less ducks in my smaller pens with less large water access, the mulky was resolved, oh and another thing that worked well with some of my larger duck poopers, the Jumbo Pekin or Turkeys, my gosh what a pile of POOP, bigger than a golf ball, lol, well I started adding fiber pellets to my feed, yep, the POOP is thinner, they are more regulated meaning not such big piles, and also, we found some timber land like Raynier Timber Managment and they thin there pines yearly, and they will let you have all that pine bark in the thinning spot between there pine managment area, yep, that pine bark, that they strip off the pine trees, is big and chunky, and ususally in one big pile for easy access and it is really light to shovel with a wide barn shovel or snow shovel, and I put per say a gorilla wagon full in a pen with 8 ducks, and I can take my water hose and spray the duck poop away and never have mulkyness. On one of my pens the 50 Jumbo and Standard Pekin pen, I cut a 3 feet long x 4 inch high section out of my back wall wire and sorta framed it out, and placed there drinking water in window box plastic planters on the outside of their pens, their kiddy pools are in the yard, and they are let out daily to breed and fornicate in the kiddy pools.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I have not had any problems with an inch or two of coir underneath a few inches of straw.

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