What should I use as a ground cover?

Sylverfly

Songster
10 Years
Apr 29, 2009
546
11
161
Northeastern Michigan
I have geese and ducks together, they have a pasture that is large and green with grass, but I also have a small wooden fenced in area with their shelter inside that fence. I just lock them into the wooden fence at night and they choose if they go into the shelter or not...mostly not, unless it is raining for days on end and they need a break. I have very fine wood shavings and then a thick layer of straw on top of that inside the shelter which works great. outside there is some grass around the edges and lots of leaves that fall and build up around the sides due to the wind, which is the problem. The center area is just bare dirt or mud if its raining, everything I put down is blown to the edges of the fence. I have some heavy "wood chips" they are more like tiny wood cubes or chunks. They'd stay put but I'm afraid the birds will eat them or hurt their feet walking on them. I've tried straw, wood shavings, leaves, even sand blows away once its dry eventually. The only other things I can think of are the wood chips or something like pea gravel, I feel like both have their problems. They are only in this area from about 10 pm to 9am most of the time they are sleeping. Its just a muddy ugly mess right in the center and its making me nuts.
 

SJUDD

Songster
8 Years
May 16, 2011
190
34
141
Central Coast, California
I was considering rubber mats for the inside of my duck shelter... I am not sure how big of an area you have so it might not be cost prohibitive for you but I was thinking that they would just rinse off and they won't slip, move or blow away and they won't hurt the ducks feet. Any ideas on that anyone??
 

CelticOaksFarm

Family owned, family run
10 Years
Sep 7, 2009
12,307
272
323
Florida - Space Coast
in stalls and houses rubber stall mats are great. Not so much outside with weather and wear and tear. Sand is a better option inside runs where they need spend any length of time.
 

wildpeas

Songster
7 Years
Mar 18, 2012
560
19
123
Port Orchard, Wa
Wet stall mats can be very slippery. I also use sand right outside their house, around the eating area, and around the pool. The other benefit is that sand is cheap if you can buy in bulk.
 
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HollyDuckFarmer

Songster
7 Years
Jun 30, 2012
2,683
176
208
LP Michigan
I've used pea gravel, smooth and no cuts... Only problem is it just disappears into the mud. Miss Lydia suggested landscape fabric first, then the pea gravel over top. Right now I'm piling on leaves and other "brown mulches", but for my next project I'll do the fabric and more gravel. I also plan to sort of subdivide my pen with hay bales (to keep ducks off certain areas temporarily) and make a more serious effort at growing more alfalfa and clover.
 

Bellevue

In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 19, 2012
25
2
24
I have a small area outside in my back yard that is destine to be taken out soon because we are extending our back deck. It is astro turf and was put down for a children's picnic area under a children's wood table. We knew the grass would not grow with a children's picnic table there. We got the astro turf second hand so it didn't cost much at all. The picnic table is long gone and the ducks poo on the astro turf all the time but we just hose it and it is a good as new. I would try astro turff!
 

Bellevue

In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 19, 2012
25
2
24
There are different grades. Our astro turf is old cricket pitch turf. It is as flat as a tack, not like fake grass for boats that is kind of shaggy. They have never tried to eat it... there is nothing to really grab onto but no interest either.

Astro turf in the front of the picture real grass in the background.

 

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