what to use for a base in pens?

HSerChickLady

Songster
7 Years
Feb 12, 2012
275
3
103
upstate NY
We have to keep our ducks penned for several reasons. We originally started with what we thought was a reasonable dry spot in the yard. The ducks promptly turned that into 4 inches deep mud that refused to dry out. So we scooped out the mud and filled it in with small rounded gravel. No more mud but the yard around the pen is constantly flooded and the fence is rotting out from being wet all the time. So we've decided to move them to a different part of the yard where they'd be on a bit of a knoll and so will have better drainage. But we know they will turn the ground to mud again in no time. So what should we do for the ground there? Is gravel ok to do again? We've thought about concrete too since it is also very easy to clean well but it's expensive. Is concrete the best route though? We will try to spend the money if it's going to be the best route. Please share what your prefer for your ducks.
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
10 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,205
2,647
531
Southern New England
Concrete may cause a bunch of foot problems.

What I do - under the swim pans is a mix of smooth pea gravel and sand. The entire pen is on a 2% slope. There is a shallow channel from the corner of the pen where the swim pan water drains out. That leads to three garden beds - so the gardens get watered and fertilized.

The rest of the pen is compost with chopped straw on top.* I add dry leaves in the fall, too. The high carbon content of leaves and straw combine with duck manure and make a nice pleasant smelling compost that absorbs some water but is pleasant and cushy to walk and sleep on.



*The manure and straw naturally become compost. Worms come up into it, giving the ducks something fun to do. From time to time I turn the material with a cultivator, or pull some out to put on the garden.
 
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HSerChickLady

Songster
7 Years
Feb 12, 2012
275
3
103
upstate NY
I'll mention this to hubby as we're planning things. We have so much clay in the soil here it's nuts so drainage is basically impossible. I kept seeing concrete in my books and magazines so that's why we were thinking of that route. Maybe concrete paver blocks with sand and such on top would work for us? I think we're going to need some sort of barrier between the ground and the ducks or we'll have the same mud issues as before.
 
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