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Our EcoFriendly Duckling Brooder Setup

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Easy duckling brooder setup in a bathtub.

Our eco friendly duckling brooder setup. 

So. We have ducks now. My friend Lisa at Fresh Eggs Daily encouraged me to get ducks instead of chickens because she felt my backyard would be preferable for ducks. Ducks wouldn’t be able to get over my fence, they’d love my pond, and they’d be quieter than chickens. Following her tips in her post, Basic Duckling Care, I setup my version of a brooder for the ducklings.

Just to introduce them, these three Muscovy ducklings are named Farmer, Princess, and Duckly. No idea if they’re boys or girls so this should be interesting.

The DIY Danielle Ducklings and their Brooder Setup
  • Old prefolds
  • PUL fabric
  • Lamp and Bulb
  • Poultry waterer (I bought mine at the local feed store)
  • Duckling feed with Niacin (also purchased at the local feed store)… I think I need to add more Niacin that the feed I bought provides so that will be an added expense.
  • Herbs, clumps of dirt, grass, weeds.
  • Small bowl for food (I used an old baby bowl which was just the right size)
  • Upcycled small box
  • A copy of Duck Eggs Daily by Lisa Steele. I love Lisa’s books because they are focused on natural treatment and prevention for problems in ducks and chickens. I strongly prefer these methods… after all, I got ducks because I didn’t want to put chemicals in my yard. 
Note: Because I upcycled or reused a lot of items I already owned, my total cost is around $80. $30 or so for the feed and water bowl.  $15 for 3 ducklings. $34 for the lights. The feed should last a while. The main cost will be for an outdoor setup, but I already have some ideas and we may decide to just build our coop.


If you made your way to my page and you’re a duck pro, I’d LOVE your opinions at the bottom of my post- still trying to decide on an outdoor setup for the ducks once they’re older. 

Tutorial for Setup

I cut a size of old PUL (very thick and clunky- the PUL I use for my diapers is usually much thinner than this stuff) that fit my bathtub. This particular PUL is perfect because it’s very soft on the top and slick on the bottom- as a result, it “sticks” to the bottom of the tub well and doesn’t slide around. It’s PUL so it can be washed on hot. Duck poo is very watery/runny so I can just throw these through the wash. I made five cuts of this so I can swap them out for washing easily.
Towards the end of the tub near the drain, I put the water bowl. I also put a small bowl of feed. I added some dirt, weeds, and herbs to the tub.


On the other end of the tub, I added a small box with some old prefolds layered in it. This is nice and warm and cozy for the ducklings to snuggle in. It will also absorb a ton of water if they get it wet. I have a TON of these so I can easily swap them out for laundering.

I also have my brooder light hanging. The AC vent is closed (it’s summer) in the bathroom and the bathroom door stays closed. This keeps my kids and dogs out. I usually move the brooder light to the side when I’m caring for ducks so if you’re wondering where it is in some of the photos and video- that’s why. The room seems to stay pretty toasty overall.


Brooder in a bathtub is easy to clean.


Cleaning our Brooder Setup

This is pretty simple to clean up.


First I take out the box with the prefolds in it. The prefolds go into a basket. The box is set to the side. I remove the PUL liner on the bathtub, being careful to not shake anything into the tub. I put that in the basket too.

Next I pick out any huge grass or dirt clumps that remain in the tub. Again- they don’t go down the drain easily.

Now I empty the water container to help rinse out the tub. I refill and use it to rinse everything. I use a little blue dawn to clean out the tub with hot water. Rinse rinse rise.

At this point I fill the tub with a little bit of water to give it the “beach entrance” amount of water. Then I let the ducklings play in there for 10 minutes or so. I dry the ducklings off and then put them in a box next to the tub. My tub has a rough bottom to prevent slipping, but if yours doesn’t then you’ll want something like a shelf liner in there to keep your ducks from getting hurt.

I empty the tub water, then lay a clean and dry PUL liner on the bottom of the tub. The PUL is laid shiny side down. The shiny side will stick a bit to the damp tub, but the laminated fabric keeps the wet from soaking through to the other side. The top of the PUL is pretty soft- it’s an old PUL fabric that is really great for this. I don’t think modern PUL would be a great fit for this project.

Instead of putting my wash into the washing machine directly, I shake it off over the compost bin. The green stuff and the dirt don’t wash well. The duck poo isn’t really a problem. To wash: quick cycle on cold to rinse it. Then I add regular towels too and do a normal hot cycle with cloth diaper friendly detergent (so the prefolds retain their absorbency). 

I clean everything completely in the morning and at night. If their box bedding gets soiled, then I swap out the prefolds during the day. It’s pretty quick. The cleaning itself is about 5 minutes. Duck baths are more time consuming because of course they’re adorable and I watch them.

I need your ideas for our coop and duck run…

So I’m in the process of debating how I want to setup a duck coop and run in the yard. Here’s a video of our yard. The black fence is the dog area. We have a deck skirt under our deck on the dog side and I’ve debated fencing the whole deck underneath and giving the ducks that area, but that would be very difficult to clean out and fetch eggs from. It’s also dark. But it’s close to the small pond which is appealing and near to the dog pen so I imagine the dogs would scare off most predators.


We could put it near the shed in the back too, but we tend to get some wildlife. Big critters can’t get in, but I imagine we would need to be concerned about fox and raccoon. We also need to worry about hawks which I occasionally see. I have a 1 year old lab/catahoula mix that loves him some wildlife and is a good hunter (not always to my pleasure). I am training him to be duck friendly, but I’m not sure I’d want him out there unsupervised with the ducks (just in case).

In my ideal world, I’d build a narrow and low run bordering the fence with wire underneath. That way they can roam the parameter for bugs and weeds.

Can you leave me a comment below with any ideas or suggestions? Here is a video of the yard!


Need an easy shelter and don’t want to DIY? Here’s what you can buy.

Omlet makes a ton of chicken shelters and runs that are movable and have lots of accessories available. You can add wheels and handles to move the run as needed which is nice. The cages look like they’re well predator-proofed, and you can get an attached run up to 13′. They even sell an automatic coop door that opens and closes when the sun rises and sets. The Eglu Go is their easily movable shelter and run. They have perches to add on, swings, treat holders, and even chicken clothing. Totally worth checking out if you like to geek out over your poultry.

Please share and pin this post! If you make this project, share it in our Stuff Mama Makes Facebook Group. We have regular giveaways for gift cards to craft stores. You can also tag me on Instagram @doityourselfdanielle; I love seeing everything you make!

Bathtub Brooder Setup: Easy to Clean


Eventually you’re ducks will start to lay eggs so make sure to read up on How to Wash and Store Fresh Eggs!


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Sunday 17th of July 2016

Thank you for sharing you time and talents with us at TOHOT!Jemma

Just Plain Marie

Thursday 7th of July 2016

The ducklings are SO cute. I need to share this. (Or ... if I don't, do I get the book? Mwhahaha, evil laugh)


Thursday 7th of July 2016

Teehee Thanks for sharing Marie!

Lisa of Fresh Eggs Daily

Saturday 2nd of July 2016

I'm so excited to follow you on your duckling journey Danielle - and excited you took my advice to give ducks a try! Good luck to everyone who enters to win a copy of my book.


Sunday 3rd of July 2016

Thanks Lisa!