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winter housing for geese/ducks?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

We get winter temps of -20 with windchills as well as wet snow (4-5 feet). We're at 2500' elevation. We're about 2/3 of the way done with my coop remodel but hubby has told me to either SELL my ducks & sebbies OR design a coop/hutch they can live in during the winter months.

I have four Cayugas, four sebbies and I'll probably end up with 6-8 muscovies.

Some of the ideas included a wire-floored covered shelter (with one or two sides protecting the birds from the north & west wind), a hutch they can be locked into or just apple bins flipped upside down the runs...and even a "prison compound" as my hubby called it--where the geese & ducks have separate quarters with a common yard...

I'd like some ideas, stories, etc and especially I've LOVE photos of your winter housing...

OH AND SOME PHOTOS OF WINTER WATERERS, TOO, PLEASE! I lost ducks last winter to freezing off feet because they'd splash in their waterer. There will be no electricity or heat in this, either...

Rare Feathers Farm is located just outside of Okanogan, Washington. We specialize in rare and critically endangered poultry.
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Rare Feathers Farm is located just outside of Okanogan, Washington. We specialize in rare and critically endangered poultry.
Reply
post #2 of 19

My winter temps can get to -25/30 and we get tons of snow. 
Sometimes I have to dig my way to the shed.
First of all you need to close your birds up in predator proof shelter every night or eventually they will be eaten.
Waterfowl have pretty nifty down jackets so they're good to go in the winter BUT Sebastopols aren't quite as air tight due to their open, fluffy feathers so shelter and proper care is vital.  I had a customer who lost 3 Sebs last winter because they didn't get enough food and were left out all night. In 30 years I've never lost any chickens, ducks or geese to the elements....BUT one does need to provide a dry bed/shelter, enough feed and fresh water daily and supplement with some cracked corn or scratch feed for extra energy.
In the winter I give treats of leafy hay, apples and baked squash and pumpkins.
If your geese and ducks get along theres no reason why you can't house them together at night then just turn them out in the morning.  My geese hole up and hunker down in really bad weather so on those days I just leave them in because
they don't walk around anyway, or the snow is too deep to walk around in.
Often we have to snow blow out an area for them. 
I have an old horse shed with box stalls that I keep mine in but the style of your shelter doesn't matter...just so they have enough room and aren't too crowded
and protection from severe weather and predators.
I water my birds once daily in the winter. 
I use plastic Fortex buckets because they are extremely break resistant.
I have a hose that I have hooked up to a yard hydrant which I drain after
chores so it doesn't freeze up. 
(my exercise for the day)
OR you can use heated buckets. 
I also fill up their plastic kiddy pools a few times a week so they can get in
the water and bathe. 
I dump the pools out daily you end up with giant round ice cubes.

You can also use those black rubber buckets but I like these Fortex buckets.
To get the frozen ice out of them I set them upside down on the ground,
run the water from the hose on them and the ice pops completely out in
about 30 seconds or so.
http://www.fototime.com/875787D6F8FA02D/standard.jpg

Don't they look happy & healthy
(new chicken coop in background)

http://www.fototime.com/4C4E0F4B9D317AE/orig.jpg

http://www.fototime.com/393C78D7072A535/standard.jpg


Edited by Cottage Rose - 8/7/09 at 3:16pm

Quality white & saddleback Sebastopol Geese.
 

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Quality white & saddleback Sebastopol Geese.
 

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post #3 of 19

P.S.
You won't get frozen off feet if you provide shelter for your waterfowl.

Quality white & saddleback Sebastopol Geese.
 

Reply

Quality white & saddleback Sebastopol Geese.
 

Reply
post #4 of 19

We get very cold here too with lots of wind and my call ducks very rarely go in their shelters (dog houses) unless I make them.  I make sure they have places they can get out of the wind and put straw down for them.  They go most of the winter without thier swimming pool since I don't have a nearby hydrant that doesn't freeze up and have to carry water from the house.  I use black 3 gallon plastic feed pans for their water which I refill a couple of times a day, since they think they need to swim in them.  I flip them over and dump the ice out in the morning.

I'm a Farmer/Rancher  Wife,Mom & Grandma  No Farms, No food. 
If you want house chickens and ducks in diapers then this is the forum for you.
I've got 50+ years of poultry experience, but this 'poultry' forum isn't for me anymore.
If you're going to complain about farmers, don't do it with a full belly or a mouthful.
Reply
I'm a Farmer/Rancher  Wife,Mom & Grandma  No Farms, No food. 
If you want house chickens and ducks in diapers then this is the forum for you.
I've got 50+ years of poultry experience, but this 'poultry' forum isn't for me anymore.
If you're going to complain about farmers, don't do it with a full belly or a mouthful.
Reply
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cottage Rose 

P.S.
You won't get frozen off feet if you provide shelter for your waterfowl.


Well, they were in an 8 x 8 coop last year with two heat lamps and I still had frozen off feet. They would splash in their waterers and get the bedding wet & their feet. sad

Rare Feathers Farm is located just outside of Okanogan, Washington. We specialize in rare and critically endangered poultry.
Reply
Rare Feathers Farm is located just outside of Okanogan, Washington. We specialize in rare and critically endangered poultry.
Reply
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all of the info, cottage rose...My main coop is now 8'x 16' and fully insulated but no waterfowl is allowed, per hubby! LOL Mine are locked up whenever we're not home. We've lost 11 birds to coyotes this year and a cat. sad This is even with two BIG dogs, guarding the place. We're going on a coyote hunt tonight, actually. wink We have horses so I'll have access to (literally) tons of hay--it's a grass/alalfa mix which they seem to enjoy. I'm a big veggie eater, so anything leafy/green they also get lots of and seem to be doing okay. I use the black rubbery buckets for waterers but after last winter, I'll use something else because they'd splash in them, tip them over and cause major death & destruction to my chickens in the coop...by splashing and getting the bedding soaked. We have spent almost $3000 on our coop remodel and hubby does not want waterfowl anywhere near it! LOL So that's why I need to come up with something to house them in this winter. The Cayugas are currently housed with the Sebbies and I've not had any issues. The muscovies I cannot house with the geese or the males try to kill them! We do have an 8 x 8 section of my old metal roofing I can use...I was thinking of designing something that would be more like a covered shelter (with one end being a 3 sided shelter--if that makes sense?) Like a 3-sided coop with a covered run? It wouldn't be very large--4' wide by 8' long--hubby said "veal" but it would be predator-proof and protected from the wind/rain...

Rare Feathers Farm is located just outside of Okanogan, Washington. We specialize in rare and critically endangered poultry.
Reply
Rare Feathers Farm is located just outside of Okanogan, Washington. We specialize in rare and critically endangered poultry.
Reply
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

They eat apples!?

Rare Feathers Farm is located just outside of Okanogan, Washington. We specialize in rare and critically endangered poultry.
Reply
Rare Feathers Farm is located just outside of Okanogan, Washington. We specialize in rare and critically endangered poultry.
Reply
post #8 of 19

Yes they love apples and most garden produce!
As for the hay they will pick through and eat the leaves but just play with the stems. 
I give it to them to help with boredom.

Going coyote hunting on horse back sounds like major FUN to me! 
I had horses for many years, but no longer have them.  Miss them a bunch. sad

We've had an increase in fox & coyote in our area and I've lost 3 chickens this year, we think to a fox. 
Thats more than I've lost in the previous 30 years.

I water my geese inside during the winter and we
have it so the buckets snap to an O-ring on the wall
so they can't knock them over but they still splash
and make an icy mess inside. 
Sometimes I have to chop up the ice that forms
around the buckets. 
Theres no getting around it..waterfowl are messy.
During the summer theres no water or feed in their stalls at night because they have plenty of outside time to get their full during the day.
One just has to figure out what works best for them.

Quality white & saddleback Sebastopol Geese.
 

Reply

Quality white & saddleback Sebastopol Geese.
 

Reply
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

Here is a pic I took of my babies...I'm thinking it's two ganders & one goose?
http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m53/Equibling/geese/Sebbies.jpg

Sorry they are filthy, LOL They discovered the kiddie pool and then walked across the (dusty) driveway...several times, LOL

Rare Feathers Farm is located just outside of Okanogan, Washington. We specialize in rare and critically endangered poultry.
Reply
Rare Feathers Farm is located just outside of Okanogan, Washington. We specialize in rare and critically endangered poultry.
Reply
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cottage Rose 

Yes they love apples and most garden produce!
As for the hay they will pick through and eat the leaves but just play with the stems. 
I give it to them to help with boredom.

Going coyote hunting on horse back sounds like major FUN to me! 
I had horses for many years, but no longer have them.  Miss them a bunch. sad

We've had an increase in fox & coyote in our area and I've lost 3 chickens this year, we think to a fox. 
Thats more than I've lost in the previous 30 years.

I water my geese inside during the winter and we
have it so the buckets snap to an O-ring on the wall
so they can't knock them over but they still splash
and make an icy mess inside. 
Sometimes I have to chop up the ice that forms
around the buckets. 
Theres no getting around it..waterfowl are messy.
During the summer theres no water or feed in their stalls at night because they have plenty of outside time to get their full during the day.
One just has to figure out what works best for them.


I gave mine some apples and they LOVED them!

Rare Feathers Farm is located just outside of Okanogan, Washington. We specialize in rare and critically endangered poultry.
Reply
Rare Feathers Farm is located just outside of Okanogan, Washington. We specialize in rare and critically endangered poultry.
Reply
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