Cindy Skillman wrote:
I was glad to hear of your experiences with deep litter for your ducks because I’d like to get a breeding trio of ducks at some point. I LOVE deep litter with my chickens. If you really, really want to use it in the chickens’ coop, you could look at building on a deeper bottom, to contain it. I probably would lean that way if it were me, but I didn’t just kind of get stuck with someone else’s chickens like you did, and that definitely is a different situation. I think you’ll enjoy them—it was very kind of you to take them in.
For removable roosts, I think, looking at your photos, that I’d build some U-shaped brackets from scrap wood, and make them a little tight to make for a friction fit. I’d use 2x2 wood (you could paint it for easier cleaning if you like) and I’d try to place them parallel to the nesting boxes to make it easier for the hens to get in them. They won’t have any trouble with either direction, though. It’s just my own “OCDness,” really. I suppose you could also use closet rod and hardware if you wanted to. That should work well, too.
I’m really impressed with the image of you splitting off wooden shakes. I hope you’ll post some pics. So cool! Also I’d love to hear more about your ducks and how you do deep litter with them, etc.
We've been loving the chickens, especially my children! We would often go for walks, and the rooster is about as old as my son (who's 5), so since he was a toddler, he's wanted to see the chickens, and the neighbors let us stop by and see the chickens any time we liked. Then my daughter was born, and she loved seeing the chickens. Needless to say, they've grown up being mezmorized by these chickens. I was still stunned by just how much they love them now that we have them. They keep saying, in wonderment, "They're our chickens now"; and they go in there and pet them and carry them and herd them around. The chickens are really sweet and tolerant, too, especially the rooster.
You can see more of my cedar splitting adventure in this thread: https://permies.com/t/107629/cedar-shingles-froe-device
. Since I don't have a froe (nor money/ability to make one), I've been using my axes to make the shingles. They take longer, and they're really rough, but they're working! Here's what I got installed today:
There's a lot more to do. Thankfully, I'm in no hurry, and it's a nice learning experience for me and the kids, so it's all good!
As for deep litter with ducks, my duck house is on a cement slab (here's the thread with pictures of us building it https://permies.com/t/37721/critters/Ducks-Safe-Fed-Affordably#316150
Here's a more recent pictures (okay, it's 3 years old, but it's still what my duck house looks like!)
Mine's 8x8 with attached nesting boxes that are also at ground level. I have anywhere from 8 to 22 ducks in there (22 is really pushing it, and it's usually when a bunch of babies hatched and we're waiting for the boys to be big enough to eat). To start the deep litter, I just put down a few inches of pine shavings.
Here's my routine. Every morning when I let the ducks out:
I move the old/poopy bedding out of the nesting boxes and into the main area. I put new shavings in there. Ducks tend to poop on their eggs. Especially in the low egglaying season. I sometimes wonder if the non-laying females go in there, and "bare down" to lay, and lay some poop instead, often on another ducks eggs. Sigh.I spread the nesting box pine shavings over the other bedding, either with my foot or pitchfork, and sprinkle a little more pine shavings on any big deposits of poop.Every 2 or 3 days, I use a pitchfork and flip the bedding. This isn't intensive or thorough. It's just enough to aerate the bedding and keep it aerobic. Since ducks don't scratch and peck, and I don't have any chickens in there to turn the bedding, it's up to me to turn it. Some days, if they haven't pooped much, I just stick the pitchfork under it and lift up to give it some air. On the days I turn the bedding, I don't usually add new shavings. If you have chickens in with your ducks, you probably would only need to use a pitchfork on it as often as you ever need to with just chickens.
All told, it takes me maybe 5 minutes, at the most 10 on a day when I'm taking my time and doing a thorough turning (and enjoying being alone outside while my husband watches the kids. :D). I usually have about 3-5 inches of bedding in there at a given time. I should probably have it deeper, but I'm always stealing it to put in my garden beds and under my raspberry bushes and as mulch. There's no smell of ammonia, so I'm thinking the bedding doesn't need to be as "deep" as people say.
I will mention that it usually works best for me to feed the ducks before I put them in, that way I don't have to supply them with a pail of water in there and have them dribble it around everywhere. Whatever you do, don't put a pool or tray of water! Your bedding will be a soggy mess! Even with a pail, mine tends to get soggy (I do live in the rainy pacific northwest. It's not too bad on the dry summer or freezing days), which is why I try to feed/water them outside of their house, if possible.