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winter duck care

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

I was wondering what I need to know about caring for my flock over the winter. I have 10 runners, 6 welsh harlequins, 1 african goose & 1 toulouse goose. They have a 10'x20' house with a peaked roof that is about 6' at the peak.

Our winters are usually very icy, cold, snowy & very windy. Can get our first hard frost in September, first snow in October, and the ice doesn't usually melt until May. Can be -20F, or colder, with near hurricane force winds.

Bedding- Right now, I have 1-2" of pine pellets, which have done a great job. Can I keep this up, or do they need something warmer?

Water- Right now, they have 2 plastic tubs for drinking/swimming water. I do have a frost-free hydrant in their pen. What's the best way to provide them with water during the winter? Their house is at least 60ft from electricity.

Food- Right now, they free range during the day and get feed twice a day. Do they need anything else during the winter? Quality, inexpensive produce can be hard to find during the winter.


Is it okay to let them out when its icy? How do they do in snow? We can get 2-3ft from 1 storm. During what temperatures should they be locked in their house?

Anything else?

post #2 of 49

Our winters aren't as harsh but  this is our first winter with ducks so we will be watching this thread

1 super/great husband, 3 kids, 4 dogs, 2 cats, 2 angora rabbits, 11 chickies - 1 bantam(EE pullet,) 2 Black Australorps, 2 Barred Rocks and 5 Silver Laced Wyandottes, 1-Cuckoo Maram rooster - and 7 ducks (3 Khaki Campbells and 4 Rouens)
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1 super/great husband, 3 kids, 4 dogs, 2 cats, 2 angora rabbits, 11 chickies - 1 bantam(EE pullet,) 2 Black Australorps, 2 Barred Rocks and 5 Silver Laced Wyandottes, 1-Cuckoo Maram rooster - and 7 ducks (3 Khaki Campbells and 4 Rouens)
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post #3 of 49

Ducks handle cold weather and snow extremely well.  They tend to enjoy being out in it and they can handle much colder temperatures than other types of poultry.  If you have a frost free hydrant where their water is, you have it made in the shade, LOL.  In the winter, we switch to the smaller rubber pans for water.  They are so much easier to get ice out of.  We only provide swimming water occasionally during the winter as needed.  Again though, with a frost free hydrant you can probably run a hose to a pool outside of their sleeping area and give them swimming water periodically.  Not having a hydrant at our house in town this year was a major nuisance (compared to at the farm where we have them in the barn), but we were still able to usually use the hose during most of the winter with just some precautions.  Of course, YMMV, we are in Colorado and it does not get very cold here.

Food wise, you can do pretty much the same things you do the rest of the year.  I really don't think it is necessary to change it over the winter.  If you want to give them some greens, but can't access produce, you can also feed some alfalfa pellets or alfalfa meal.  Bedding wise, there are a number of different things that will work.  We generally use straw as it is inexpensive and easy to come by.  As long as the birds have access to food and water and can get out of the harshest weather if they want to, they will do just fine.

post #4 of 49

our winters ARe as harsh  and also my first winter with Ducks..  I am going to put plastic all around the back and side of my duck pen with some removeable clear plexiglass pieces in some of the front sections that I can take off on nice days.. half of the roof is already covered but I think Ill cover the rest with plywood ?? not sure yet....I'm  having heat in their Hut and prbly put them in @ nite when its really really cold. ??!! I would luv some ideas on  pond heaters as I want to keep their water all winter...I will also be watching this thread...

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/43749_im001847.jpg

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/43749_im001930.jpg

my pond is 250 gal.  heater suggestions..
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/43749_im001844.jpg

1 DH, & 8 Calls .. Omlet, Ramrod, Blacktop, Holeshot, Luna, Seven, Riot, and Smudge.
And of course the One who made all this happen (me becoming Duck Obsessed) "HotRod"....(my wild wood duck)
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1 DH, & 8 Calls .. Omlet, Ramrod, Blacktop, Holeshot, Luna, Seven, Riot, and Smudge.
And of course the One who made all this happen (me becoming Duck Obsessed) "HotRod"....(my wild wood duck)
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post #5 of 49

You might not need a heater for the pond. Sometimes just keeping the water circulating is enough to keep the pond unfrozen.

7 quacking ducks, 5 spazzy quail, 3 lazy cats, 2 grown sons, 1 goofy husband... and no partridge, but I have a pear tree!
My micro-farm blog - www.bluefeatherfarm.blogspot.com
Duck pond and biofilter information- http://tinyurl.com/lfgeg9
The Double-Decker Brooder Thread- http://tinyurl.com/nf8zm5
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7 quacking ducks, 5 spazzy quail, 3 lazy cats, 2 grown sons, 1 goofy husband... and no partridge, but I have a pear tree!
My micro-farm blog - www.bluefeatherfarm.blogspot.com
Duck pond and biofilter information- http://tinyurl.com/lfgeg9
The Double-Decker Brooder Thread- http://tinyurl.com/nf8zm5
Reply
post #6 of 49

the first year I had my ducks, I made sure they went in, locked them up when it got real cold -0, all I got was unhappy ducks and a wet sticky mess, now they won't go near the duck house, and go under the huge pine tree when the weather get bad, the feed is under an over hang with walls and a heated water bucket that gets dumped every other day or so. they are very happy, i have Ancona ducks and chocolate Muscovy's and this will be the 3rd winter without using the house. but the chickens in there like it  smile

PS i get -0 wind chills often including -40, we rarely get above freezing all winter


Edited by Buck Creek Chickens - 8/17/10 at 6:51pm

STANDARD:  Wheaten, Black, Blue Ameraucana, Splash, Partridge Silkies, Ga Noi, Lavender Orpington, SQ Black Minorca, Black Langshan, RC RIR
BANTAM: SQ Black Mottled d'Uccles, SQ Gold Neck, Butterscotch & Mottled Buff Booted, Black, Blue & Mille Fleur Cochin, Serama,
Winnebago Co Poultry Superintendent, WI Pullorum Tester

 

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STANDARD:  Wheaten, Black, Blue Ameraucana, Splash, Partridge Silkies, Ga Noi, Lavender Orpington, SQ Black Minorca, Black Langshan, RC RIR
BANTAM: SQ Black Mottled d'Uccles, SQ Gold Neck, Butterscotch & Mottled Buff Booted, Black, Blue & Mille Fleur Cochin, Serama,
Winnebago Co Poultry Superintendent, WI Pullorum Tester

 

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post #7 of 49

I'm in Central Ohio and winters get fairly cold, but the ducks really prefer to be outside.  (silly ducks).  Last winter, I made them go into the shed at night, but since I've heavily critter-proofed, I'll probably just let them do as they please unless it gets really bad outside.  The garden shed has a built in nest area with a little piece of plywood that serves as a wind break when inside the box.

I did put a tarp over the first 10 feet of the run, lay straw down on the ground, and shovel snow for them.....(and  twice-daily filled rubber tubs so they could get wet).  For drinking water, I used the heated water dishes (and they're deep enough for a duck to wash  their faces in) - they were great.

Evidently I fuss and worry about them much more than they require.  They were most sad about the lack of swimming, but I'm considering a stock tank heater for the kiddie pool - we'll see what the SO thinks.  I worry that they'll be wet and their feathers will freeze to the ground when it's really cold.

Also chopped them up leaf lettuce for breakfast every morning, but I like the alfalfa idea....some hay would give them something to dig around in and occupy their time.  Curious to see what other people do for the winter.

post #8 of 49

yep,
I deal mainly with the migratory species, but they do just fine right out in it.
Most northern breeders keep open water with aerators in their ponds. As long as you keep good strong movement on the surface, you have it whipped.
The main thing to watch in the winters is small pans of water and foot freezing to them, which is still rare.
But in short, no special care is needed, waterfowl are built for extreme cold, and really love it.
From the feather layering design, sealed in air layer under the down, fat pockets under the skin, etc.
Do what you all feel is best with, but they will be just fine, just watch those small water dishes, heard of people loosing feet off their birds due to them.

~Aubrey & Aimee~

JOIN THE D'ANVER CLUB OF AMERICA!
Breeders Specializing in  30+ colors  quality D'Anver, 15+ colors  Bantam Phoenix,  Ohiki , 4 colors Bantam Sumatra,  Imported lines of large fowl Phoenix, Longcrower , Cayuga Ducks, 10 colors  Call Ducks. 25+ years experience  with migratory waterfowl.

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~Aubrey & Aimee~

JOIN THE D'ANVER CLUB OF AMERICA!
Breeders Specializing in  30+ colors  quality D'Anver, 15+ colors  Bantam Phoenix,  Ohiki , 4 colors Bantam Sumatra,  Imported lines of large fowl Phoenix, Longcrower , Cayuga Ducks, 10 colors  Call Ducks. 25+ years experience  with migratory waterfowl.

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post #9 of 49

in vermont, where the actual temp can get down to  -20 in the winter, not including wind chill, my ducks spend all day outside... i provide them with rubber bowls of warm water 3 times a day, morning, afternoon and early evening (before it gets dark), and they splash around and act like happy idiots.  I DO make sure that their pen is full of dry fluffy straw or shavings, and that I put straw (dry) around their bowl every morning, just to keep their feet from freezing to the ice.  They seem totally fine.  I lock them up at night in a windproof (ventilated) tiny hut, and keep it much more crowded than is recommended... i believe that their combined body heat keeps them warmer at night than if they were better spaced. I have never had a problem when overcrowding them, since it is just for the dark hours, and there is no food or water in the hut either... and it's small, 3.5 x 4.5, for one goose and 5 ducks...  they get along just fine and are happy and healthy.  I am not suggesting that everyone go out and squash their birds into a tiny house for the winter, but it has really really worked for us, 3 winters in a row.

Count your blessings, not your eggs.
Support our troops.
I am a liberal woman.  I like CHICKS!
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Count your blessings, not your eggs.
Support our troops.
I am a liberal woman.  I like CHICKS!
Reply
post #10 of 49

chickensducks&agoose :

in vermont, where the actual temp can get down to  -20 in the winter, not including wind chill, my ducks spend all day outside... i provide them with rubber bowls of warm water 3 times a day, morning, afternoon and early evening (before it gets dark), and they splash around and act like happy idiots.  I DO make sure that their pen is full of dry fluffy straw or shavings, and that I put straw (dry) around their bowl every morning, just to keep their feet from freezing to the ice.  They seem totally fine.  I lock them up at night in a windproof (ventilated) tiny hut, and keep it much more crowded than is recommended... i believe that their combined body heat keeps them warmer at night than if they were better spaced. I have never had a problem when overcrowding them, since it is just for the dark hours, and there is no food or water in the hut either... and it's small, 3.5 x 4.5, for one goose and 5 ducks...  they get along just fine and are happy and healthy.  I am not suggesting that everyone go out and squash their birds into a tiny house for the winter, but it has really really worked for us, 3 winters in a row.


sounds perfect to me,

oh also like your location , New England, The cold part!!   lol

~Aubrey & Aimee~

JOIN THE D'ANVER CLUB OF AMERICA!
Breeders Specializing in  30+ colors  quality D'Anver, 15+ colors  Bantam Phoenix,  Ohiki , 4 colors Bantam Sumatra,  Imported lines of large fowl Phoenix, Longcrower , Cayuga Ducks, 10 colors  Call Ducks. 25+ years experience  with migratory waterfowl.

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~Aubrey & Aimee~

JOIN THE D'ANVER CLUB OF AMERICA!
Breeders Specializing in  30+ colors  quality D'Anver, 15+ colors  Bantam Phoenix,  Ohiki , 4 colors Bantam Sumatra,  Imported lines of large fowl Phoenix, Longcrower , Cayuga Ducks, 10 colors  Call Ducks. 25+ years experience  with migratory waterfowl.

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