We have Pekin and Rouen ducks in our flock and of all our birds – turkeys, geese, chickens and guineas – the ducks are by far the messiest and stinkiest. If I’d gotten them first, I might have been far less inclined to get the others. Between the droppings, splashed water, dropped feed, and a heat light to ripen it all, the stench is pretty overwhelming.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the weather was warm enough with the sunshine we could take them out and let them have a much needed bath. I carried them (4 weeks old) out in a Rubbermaid tub, and put warm water into clean tubs for their bathing pleasure. Afterward I took them back in and put them under the heat light to dry them quickly and prevent them from catching a chill. The result? Clean, odor-free ducklings that were once again as cute as they could possibly be. How long did it last?
Approximately 48 hours and they’re back where they started.
Martin is building a brooder box for them to last the couple or three weeks until they’re old enough to tolerate the weather outdoors and to use for future hatchings. He built it with a framed screen bottom (half-inch mesh) so that the splashed water, droppings and feed will fall through to catch pans underneath. Those pans can be hosed off and replaced, and washed with some soapy bleach water as often as needed to control the odiferous atmosphere that enshrouds these lovelies.
It also has a hinged chicken-wire lid that will open for ease in feeding and watering and keep any chicks or guineas from flying the coop so to speak. He’s done an awesome job, and I cannot wait for the weekend to get it painted, get it set up in the lean-to on the potting shed I recently painted, and get those stinky quackers into their new digs.
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