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Duck feathers in the winter

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

This may be a dumb question on my part but lately going out to check on my ducks, their feathers are frozen! I thought ducks cleans off the additional water to prevent that....should I be doing something?

post #2 of 6

I'm not sure what you mean by frozen.  Back in the fall  I could literally watch the frost crystallize on my ducks feathers while I was finishing their chores in the early am.  Frost on black ducks look like  silvery  mist on their feathers.

 

Now that it's winter  I can watch the  water droplets crystallize on their feathers when they dabble-splash  or drink messily.

 

I've never wiped the  water droplets off their feathers.

 

I make sure they  have  dry bedding and places to get out of the wind.  I watch them  for signs that they're cold: shivering, tucking heads down while walking, huddling together.

 

 

If their feathers aren't repelling water (it should bead up on them)  and their feathers are freezing I'd seek advice from an experienced poultry keeper.  Those birds may need additional support such as wind blocks to help them through the winter.

 

I'm not an experienced poultry keeper yet.  But we do have lots of experienced keepers  here on BYC :)

post #3 of 6

If their feathers are not in good enough shape (many causes of that), they could be getting wet and frozen.

 

I would make sure they have shelter that is warm enough to keep them from freezing - like, around 40F or so.  Ducks can get hypothermia and become seriously ill from getting chilled.

 

They need fresh water daily and a good basic food (always with water to avoid choking) to help get them through winter.  Poultry vitamins once a week, and a few sprinkles of dry cat kibble can also help.

Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice! The ducks has a house that they go into to lay the eggs with hay....Their feathers looks like they just got out of the pond and the feathers froze wet.  They are still laying everyday as well as the chickens..I guess they are happy! By the late afternoon, they are thawed out but it still worries me. I had to put a tarp around the outside yard to prevent wind because it did get pretty gusty the other day. No signs of sickness....but as I said earlier, this is my first year with poultry and ducks and I don't want to do something that will cause them to be miserable!

post #5 of 6

They can get pneumonia - getting chilled can be fatal, worst case - so please pay attention to their breathing.  Ducks will hide illness till it is too late to save them.

 

Not trying to scare you, trying to prevent heartbreak.

Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromTheCity View Post
 

Thanks for the advice! The ducks has a house that they go into to lay the eggs with hay....Their feathers looks like they just got out of the pond and the feathers froze wet.  They are still laying everyday as well as the chickens..I guess they are happy! By the late afternoon, they are thawed out but it still worries me. I had to put a tarp around the outside yard to prevent wind because it did get pretty gusty the other day. No signs of sickness....but as I said earlier, this is my first year with poultry and ducks and I don't want to do something that will cause them to be miserable!

We are all concerned about a ducks well being because they depend on their owners for their safety and comforts. Many of us have been taking crash courses on the duck issues and problems that can happen with our winter weather.  When duck owners apply post, we know they care and that makes us all very pleased.  I am new to this and love this informative site. It seems like longer then 2 months since I have ducks. Probably because I am having such a great time here.

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