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Duck bedding around pond and run?  RSS feed

 
Steve Stanek
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Location: Apex, North Carolina
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Hi,
I have 8 Muscovy ducks that are enclosed in about a 60x60 area. Due to predators and them eating all our herbs/plants, we moved them to this area. There is a small pond we dug out for them.  Trouble is that they have eaten or killed all the grass in this section. We have mini-swales that collect the rain water and deposit it into the little pond. But my fear is increased erosion and just unhealthy environment since we are starting to see bare ground this winter. I am all for stacking functions...so my plan is this:
1. Put water bowl on pallet with worm bin under it. That way worms get poo and water and ducks don't create large mud pit as easily there.
2. Basically, deep bedding for the duck area. Spread shredded leaves, coffee grounds from work, cardboard, and anything else I can get my hands on. I want to get a nice layer across the entire area so that their poo will be composted with other materials (less smell and get better soil). Eventually, I can clean it out for the garden next year.

So....I wanted input on what materials I can get for free or relatively cheap for this large area.
I can get coffee grounds all year round and leaves in the fall. But I am still lacking enough material to create nice compost blanket for area. Anyone have ideas on material I can use and where to obtain?

I was using some coffee chaff from local roaster, but they are so light and fluffy.... it was blowing into the pond.

Am I on the wrong track with the deep bedding? would it be more useful to get truckload of sand or something?

Thanks!
 
Taryn Hesse
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Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
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Hi
plant a tree that hangs over their pond area and drops its leaves or grow something just outside the fence to chop and drop inside.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I would avoid using coffee grounds in their area. My ducks love to dig for worms and bugs in their bedding, and coffee grounds would likely coat the food they eat. Coffee is bad for ducks, causing cardiac problems (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CZHqoiF5SSGZHh_GFpkLw0e3PEiEeFguQKndB56aqDk/edit) and I would assume there would still be some caffeine in those grounds. I don't know that for certain, but I personally wouldn't use coffee grounds where my ducks are spending their whole time (I use it on my garden, where it is an excellent mulch that repels bunnies and slugs!).

Are there tree-trimming services in your area? Maybe they'll drop some off at your house and you can use that as mulch? You might also be able to ask your power company if they have a list of people they drop off tree trimmings at, and if you can get added to their list?

My ducks hate daikons and won't eat them. Maybe yours won't like it either? You could also try planting something perenial like raspberries or salmonberries or thimbleberies around your pond. The plants can handle moist ground, and the ducks won't eat the canes, and the berries will feed the ducks when they fall. I have salmonberries, serviceberry, aronia, blackberry and thimbleberry in my duck yard, and my ducks don't eat the canes, and the canes love the duck poop. It also gives the ducks somewhere to hide and some shade in the summer. And, I get some really yummy berries out of it, too!
 
Steve Stanek
Posts: 21
Location: Apex, North Carolina
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I would avoid using coffee grounds in their area. My ducks love to dig for worms and bugs in their bedding, and coffee grounds would likely coat the food they eat. Coffee is bad for ducks, causing cardiac problems (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CZHqoiF5SSGZHh_GFpkLw0e3PEiEeFguQKndB56aqDk/edit) and I would assume there would still be some caffeine in those grounds. I don't know that for certain, but I personally wouldn't use coffee grounds where my ducks are spending their whole time (I use it on my garden, where it is an excellent mulch that repels bunnies and slugs!).

Are there tree-trimming services in your area? Maybe they'll drop some off at your house and you can use that as mulch? You might also be able to ask your power company if they have a list of people they drop off tree trimmings at, and if you can get added to their list?

My ducks hate daikons and won't eat them. Maybe yours won't like it either? You could also try planting something perenial like raspberries or salmonberries or thimbleberies around your pond. The plants can handle moist ground, and the ducks won't eat the canes, and the berries will feed the ducks when they fall. I have salmonberries, serviceberry, aronia, blackberry and thimbleberry in my duck yard, and my ducks don't eat the canes, and the canes love the duck poop. It also gives the ducks somewhere to hide and some shade in the summer. And, I get some really yummy berries out of it, too!



Thanks so much for the info! I did not know about the caffeine and duck danger. You were correct though.... the grounds so have significant caffeine left in them...there is a study: 
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf3040594
I will use them in worm bins and separate composters instead.

I had some loads dropped off from tree companies... about 3 dump trucks worth. I used that for paths and around our orchard. But now, they show me no love.....great idea about the power company though...never thought of that. I will try to call around today. Also, will look into berries. We planted some raspberries on far side of house, I could probably transplant them to pond area.

Thanks!
 
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