What to use for backyard in Las Vegas NV

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by FourDucks, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. FourDucks

    FourDucks In the Brooder

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    May 19, 2016
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    Hi all! I will eventually be moving to Las Vegas sometime next May 2018. The houses that I’ve been looking at seem to have the running theme of rocky backyard. I am trying to figure out the best way to re-landscape and what to put down for my 6 girls so they don’t get bumblefoot or too hot from the rocky terrain while waddling around the yard. Does anyone have any experience with this ? Also, what would be the ideal shelter for them during the day to get out of the heat? They will definitely have access to a few pools around the yard.
     
  2. fairie

    fairie Songster

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    Hi, Pretty sure that the girls won't swim in the pools;) I would plant bushes. Then they can hide under them all year round (wind/rain/sun & hawk protection). Look for native varieties that don't take too much water or maintenance and you should be good.
    Good luck and enjoy the move.
     
  3. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Crossing the Road Barefoot

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    While they might not swim, they'll enjoy the water to cool down. A little ice in the afternoon helps cool the water, but not too much so it doesn't shock the system.

    Get rid of the gravel ASAP. It heats up quickly and hurts like hell. Plant LOTS bushes and trees. Be prepared to put a cage around some young bushes, my birds LOVE 2 different types I have here so until they're big enough I have to protect them. And have a mister on a timer if you can. It cools the air if it's in a protected area from wind and your girls will appreciate it.
     
  4. FourDucks

    FourDucks In the Brooder

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    May 19, 2016
    Las Vegas Nevada
    Thanks for your advice! I’ll be sure to plant a lot of bushes. What kind of bushes and trees have you planted? And do I just push the gravel away and let them walk underneath that? Excellent idea about the automatic sprinklers!!
     
  5. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Pullarius

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    Huh? Why not?
     
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    I think they were kidding...
     
  7. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Pullarius

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    Or thinking of chickens?
     
  8. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Crossing the Road Barefoot

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    I have desert plants. Red bird of paradise is popular here and the chickens LOVE it. I can't remember the others. Something from Australia with orange flowers they eat too, and this silvery thing with purple flowers they leave alone. I have some crepe myrtles and a lemon tree. Potato bushes work well too.
    I would try to get rid of the gravel or buy a place without it. If it's been there a while it's a serious pain to get rid of.

    Mesquite trees grow fast and will give dense shade, crepe myrtles you can get in dwarf size so only 10ish feet tall with dense shade but they do flower. I also have a willow acacia. Very fast grower but shade isn't super dense.
     
  9. Duckworth

    Duckworth Songster

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    I used to be a desert dweller. Many desert trees and shrubs have stickers or spines that will end up on the ground, so I would avoid planting those, since they will end up in your ducks' feet. Mesquite trees are shaped somewhat like an umbrella. They can provide a nice shape canopy, though you will have to prune and shape them and they are more likely than many desert trees to be blown over in storms. Some varieties may have thorns, so choose accordingly.

    Acacia trees can be very nice and grow relatively quickly. They tend to be shaped more narrowly than a mesquite, though that varies with the variety. There are numerous varieties to choose from. Some may have thorns.

    Desert willows (the silver leaves with purple flowers someone else mentioned) are nice, but slower growers that are really large shrubs people often prune as trees. That's true for a lot of low desert trees.

    If you have a way to water them adequately, citrus grows very well in the desert, though I don't know how good citrus is for ducks. The tree trunks have to be protected from sunburn.

    For a large, tall-growing shade tree, consider an Aleppo pine. But be careful to plant it far enough away from your foundation slab and your block fences because their roots can undermine them over time. Arizona ash trees used to be a good shade tree choice, but ash borers and disease were wiping out all of the ash trees in our neighborhood before we moved away.

    There are a lot of choices of desert shrubs. Purple or red sage do well, as do cassia (yellow flowers), and the desert varieties of bird of paradise. Globe mallow has coral colored flowers. Avoid creosote! It is probably toxic to ducks and it is definitely toxic to other plants around it.

    Bougainvillea is pretty and grows well in the desert, but has thorns. Some varieties have fewer than others.

    I don't know whether any of the plants I've mentioned present a poisoning hazard to ducks, so you will have to check that out.

    Gravel, sand, and even dirt can get very hot in the summer. Do not choose a dark colored substrate because it will absorb and radiate heat. Also, if your home has scorpions, you will want to avoid using a substrate that they find hospitable. If you have them, they can be hard to get rid of, though fresh cedar mulch spread in the places they are breeding is said to be helpful. The cedar oil is reportedly lethal to baby scorpions and deters adults. Some people find DE helpful. The biggest help is eliminating their food source, which includes crickets. They are not very affected by pesticides.

    While you wait for your landscaping to grow, you may need to construct some shelter for your ducks. Make it sturdy enough not to be blown away by summer storms. I've seen patio umbrellas sail by 300 feet in the air. Also make sure it isn't inviting to black widow spiders.

    The desert is a really different place than the Prairie where I live now. After four years, I'm getting used to not having to flip everything over before picking it up to avoid black widows and scorpions.
     
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  10. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Crossing the Road Barefoot

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    I can say my chickens like the willow acacia, no thorns. They hop up and nip bits of the leaves. This is a good tree for a narrow area or a smaller yard. Mine is in the yard with the coop and does a sufficient job of shading it at this time of year.
    The mesquites do have thorns yes but they provide excellent shade. Don't get the one you can eat the pods from they make a mess, I think those are the velvet variety. Mine are the Chileans.
    With the plants and trees I've named here not one of my chickens has ever been sick. They sample everything but they don't eat everything as long as you have greens they can eat. An area of grass, some herbs, etc will help keep them from the bad stuff. At least it's worked for me.
     

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