If you are thinking about adopting and taking care of ducklings or adult ducks, there are a lot of things you need to know before proceeding. Such as, food supplies, housing or bedding, warmth, and other essentials.
One common thing when taking care of ducks is that the bed will always get wet, one way or another. So, for this article, we will be talking about proper housing because it can be a challenge to keep the ducks from wetting their beds.
Purpose of Dry Duck Bedding?
Duck bedding gives the ducks a comfortable place to rest, lay down, and sleep. If you want to have happy and healthy ducks, there are many things you need to do and have. You should not only give them the essentials; you need to go the extra mile for them. Such as keeping the bedding constantly dry and making sure the pen house won’t be able to house other creatures such as insects and pets. Ducks are messy animals, and it is part of their nature to play in and with water; they will never avoid it.
Mold and bacteria are considered enemies of our duck friends. They can get sick easily when not being taken care of correctly. If the bedding is wet long enough, moisture will be able to grow bacteria, enabling the presence of insects and will create a bad odor.
If these happen, you will have a hard time cleaning it, and the duck’s condition will worsen because, as I said, they are vulnerable and can have diseases. (Read Can You Feed Ducks Cat Food)
What to use for Duck Bedding?
When making their house firsthand, you should use some quality flooring. There are different types available, but I suggest vinyl flooring. It is said to be easier to clean and prevent the flooring from getting soiled and wet.
Others suggest different materials on what to use for their own bedding and they suggest what worked for them, so try their suggestions as well.
Some say old hay, others suggest pine shavings or fine wood chips, but one thing is for sure, do not use paper. Paper will still work as well, but it will be twice the work when cleaning, especially when it gets wet.
Due to the constant cleaning and replacing, in time, it will be costly. Most people recommend using straw as bedding for ducks because it is cheaper and easier. Straws are products from wheat stalks; they can be found very easily, they are cheap, absorbent, and most of all, easy to work with.
They keep the pen house from smelling, making it look inviting. They also have little to no dust, which is great because dust can affect the ducks’ respiratory system, worsening their condition. The type of straw you would use won’t matter as long as it came from small grains such as wheat, oats, barley, etc…
How to Properly Place the Straw?
When you start to spread out the straw, make sure to shake it out properly into an even layer. When spread all at once, it will come out thicker than several thin layers that will lay flat, which is better. After you’ve spread out the straw, ensure it is not fluffed up; if it is, you stomp it down. If the straw is fluffed up, the ducks will have difficulty walking around.
Pro Tip: If available, I’d prefer you get chopped straw and or less shiny. Chopped straw is easier to spread around; you can just rake it around to fill the pen house’s corners. The less shiny straw will be able to absorb better than the bright and yellow straw, it will look better, but it absorbs the longest. Do not get me wrong, it still works great; you just don’t need bright yellow shiny ones to have good bedding material. (Read Can Ducks Eat Rabbit Pellets)
How to Keep Bedding from getting wet?
The most obvious one is to keep drinking water away from the ducks’ bed. Put water in an old tire or anything heavy to ensure it won’t spill because the ducks will not be strong enough to move it. You can also buy an automatic water feeder or make your own, you can simply use a plastic bottle and a jar lid.
If it doesn’t work, you need to find something heavier. Just make sure that the adorable creatures cannot splash around in it. They can be mischievous at times.
All put effort into letting the ducks have a comfortable shelter, but all duck owners should also know that they don’t need water at night. That is, if you have given enough or extra throughout their day because leaving the water bowl overnight will always lead to bed wetting.
After a time of swimming and diving underwater, it can’t be avoided for ducks to track water into their pens and bedding. Try surrounding the pen house with absorbent mats, so the ducks will carry less water when coming inside.
Make sure their pen house is covered; it will help keep the rainwater out and other elements and possible predators. Double-check the pen house for holes or cracks because water might seep into the bedding.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have the time to change the bedding often as you should, add some straws on top of the poop and wet straws. It gives you more time before needing to change it entirely, but you should not always do this, don’t be a lazy owner.
How to dispose of dirty bedding?
After changing the bedding, you are more than free to compost away! Then once your compost is finished, you know, have a great, rich-in-manure stack of compostable material. These can help your plants grow more and be healthy. You can also sell the old bedding after being used by the ducks because many are said to look for it. Try offering it to your farm friends or locals who need bedding full of duck litter.
Warning: When you plan on eating specific crops within the next six months, don’t put old duck bedding or duck poo around the desired plant. Because pathogens in the raw waste can make a person very sick. Don’t make that mistake because how can you care for the ducks when you are sick? (Read Can Goats Eat Bamboo)
There are all these tips and tricks to getting your dry bedding to last longer, and it will make everything easier. After everything you did, it still gets wet more than you expected. You need to find out the main cause because even after every precaution, something new might come up.
Ducks will always be mischievous birds and will always get wet, don’t blame them, though, they are wired to be like that. Our job as their caretakers is to take on the responsibility of keeping them safe and sound. This is a serious job, so you must think twice before taking on this fulfilling challenge.
Are you sure that you have understood everything you have just read? If yes, then congrats! You’re already plenty of steps ahead and can now take care of ducks! Make sure to make a checklist so you won’t miss anything.