hI! i am wondering what to do with my ducks in the winter! i live in michigan soo i kind of have bad winters!!! in the summer i am keeping them in the dog kennel in the shade!!! should i keeop them there and build a coop or should i do something else!?
ducks in the winter!? what to do!
- Overrun with Runners
As long as they are healthy, ducks have a reputation for being very hardy. They do need some protection from nasty winters, though.
If you haven't read Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks, I recommend it.
You need to keep an eye on them, especially when it gets bitter cold. They still need water for drinking and washing their heads, even in winter. They need more calories. They need to be out of the wind, and in an insulated house.
How many ducks do you have? If you have just a few, they cannot stay as warm as a larger flock can by huddling together.
By the way, my runners have never huddled together a day in their little lives, so winter will be interesting here in New England.
This is their first year, so we will see how it all works out. I am using the deep litter method, where I am letting bedding build up (I clean the worst parts off, but there are some droppings in the bedding) so that it will insulate the floor and provide just a little heat from the breakdown of the droppings. There are some discussions on BYC of this method, sometimes just called DLM.
I am also looking into adding more protection to their house. Since it is summer, my main worry is shade and air flow. I think we have that covered. Come autumn, I will probably add some panels over some of the vent windows, and perhaps something across the ceiling area, which is open but covered with hardware cloth. I want something that will let light in, so they don't have to live in a cave.
Good that you are thinking ahead!
The main thing is to make sure they always have water like Amiga said. If they don't have water the could choke on their food. We live in central WI and don't have any problems with our ducks. They will usually huddle together and we just have a 3 sided thing with hay in it. I am thinking about trying heated dog water dishes for them this year though. Because it can be very hard to keep water on them.
I'm in North Central Ohio, so our winters are bad as well. The ducks preferred to stay outside most of the time. I shoveled the snow away so they could walk around and put straw down for them to sit on. At night, I pen them up in their nest box full of straw and shut the door to the outside. They still get fresh air from a "vent" on the inside of the box which opens into the rest of the shed. I do use the heated water dish outside and that works great. For baths in the winter, a small rubber tub (the one that's 3" or so tall) for them to jump in and dunk their heads in addition to the heated water dish.
I worried more about them than necessary- they did just fine.