The water, the poop, the holes dug with big ol’ duckbills…it can be overwhelming. I know for us is was starting to become an “issue.” If you don’t own ducks, you have no idea how messy they can be. Here are some tips that have helped us to contain the mess a little. Enough so I’m not loosing my mind.
MY BEAUTIFUL DUCKS
It’s no surprise (I mention it often), but the ducks/goslings are my favorite livestock on our farm. They are the cutest things on the planet when they are little, love to be around people, are constantly making me laugh, and are just funniest things to watch. They are fantastic…but they are a huge big fat mess making love bug.
We have 8 ducks (some still considered ducklings) and 2 geese. They are all officially out of the brooders and have moved down to our pond which I can see from our house. For a long time they kept walking back up to the house (who can blame them…I feed them treats, fill up clean pools, and they feel safe), but I needed them to be down there since that was the plan all along.
The amount of poop and holes that they were creating was just too much for our yard and I wanted to harness that somewhere else. Preferably where I didn’t have to step in it every time I went to check on the pasture chickens. Insert…rotationally grazing ducks. What exactly does that mean?
Providing the ducks/geese an area to graze, dig up mud holes, and swim to their hearts content, but then moving them to a new space to give that previous space time to rest. How in the world do you do that with ducks? Electric netting. The best thing since sliced bread (lol). The duck house is now stationary at the pond and has to be moved with the tractor so it takes some time and really a pain in the butt, so my husband mentions last night “why don’t we build another chicken tractor so you can move it easily around the pond?” Genius. I hadn’t even thought about that.
Moving them around a different area say weekly (or as often as you wish) not only gives them fresh pasture(area) to graze, but allows them to “fertilize” the land without overdoing it. Is it more work? A little, but totally worth it.
Portable electric netting (Premier 1 specifically) has been a huge advantage on our farm. We are able to move our livestock whenever we need to, knowing they are safely secured inside. No predators in and no livestock out so far. In the morning, I open up one side of the netting for the ducks that allows them to forage all around the pond as they wish and they are locked up inside it at night. I leave the duck doors open in case anyone wants to sleep inside a cozy space, but most choose to sleep outside under the stars.
CHEAP KIDDY POOL
Most duck owners have this, but I’ve recently seem some duck spaces that don’t have water to swim in. I’m not judging, but ducks/geese are made to swim. It’s how they prevent bugs from migrating onto their feathers, how they clean their nasal passages, and they are just happy little beings having something to swim in, so even if you don’t have a pond, please at least give them a kiddy pool to swim about it.
We are currently using the pond water and a 5 gallon bucket to refill ours. Takes a total of 60 seconds.
My plan is to get them a big pool from Tractor Supply instead of having to fill up 2 pools.
WAIT. WHY ARE THEY NOT GOING INTO THE POND?
If you’ve been reading our blog, you know we had to move them back up to the house until we got the snapping turtle situation under control. Unfortunately, I guess the original ducks have told the new flock to not go in, so none are swimming in this beautiful pond. I’ve tried everything, so I’m just going to wait them out in hopes that they will eventually get comfortable enough.
If you’re like me, I do a spot clean until we move the duck house and then the entire bedding is removed and replaced. We also add lime to the bottom of the house before putting down fresh bedding to absorb any yuckiness. This helps tremendously with the flies, but moving them to new fresh green area is by far my #1 tip.
The ducks are worth every bit of time and figuring out what’s best for all of us. We hope these tips keep the issues at bay if you find them happening on your farm too. Got any tips? Leave them in the comment section and we can help each other out.