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Ducks in winter -- keeping water from freezing?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello! I'm new to ducks and am wondering what to do about their water needs in winter. I have 5 ducks (3 mallards, a Blue Swede and a Harlequin) and wonder if I can use one of those horse trough de-icers to keep my duck pool from freezing. Currently I have baby pools but am considering buying a proper horse trough or a better quality "pond" from Home Depot or similar.

I live in Alaska so things will be freezing here quickly -- any suggestions?

Many thanks for any input you more experienced duck-owners might have!

post #2 of 9

I suppose a stock tank de-icer would work.  I'm going to be using one of those also, but I don't know if I'm going to use it for them to have swimming water or just for the drinking water.  I don't think they need to have swimming water available all the time----maybe just a couple times a week (but who wants to try to fill a baby pool in the middle of winter!?!).  How cold will it be getting for you during the winter------my stock tank heater has worked very well, except on the very coldest of nights, and then there was just a really thin layer of ice-----it was probably 5-10 below zero those times (possibly even a little colder).  Hope this helps. smile

Peace.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

Mommy to 4 dogs; 5 cats; 3 pygmy goats; 3 pot belly pigs; 40 chickens; one Giant Rainbow Plated lizard; and one beautiful blue and gold macaw!!l
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Peace.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

Mommy to 4 dogs; 5 cats; 3 pygmy goats; 3 pot belly pigs; 40 chickens; one Giant Rainbow Plated lizard; and one beautiful blue and gold macaw!!l
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post #3 of 9

Last winter I didn't fill the pool everyday--especially when we had snow.  I used heated buckets and bowls for my livestock and poultry.  Not sure if this is necessary, but I gave them fresh warm water 2 times a day during the coldest weather.  They seemed to appreciate it.  I can't even begin to imagine Alaskan winters...burrr.

Kelly
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Kelly
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post #4 of 9

You could probably do a stock tank heater as long as it is one of the really lower power ones and/or the pond or waterer is large enough that it won't overheat or the heater can be protected somehow so the birds won't touch it if it gets too hot.  A lot of people also use the heated dog bowls or buckets.  You could also heat your own similar to how you would with a stock tank heater but with a fountain heater.  They are generally lower power and therefore safer for the birds.

You can also use a heated platform for your waterers or buy a heated poultry waterer.  Both of these options are kind of pricey.  I know some BYC'ers have made their own heated base with concrete blocks or a metal pan of some sort heated by a light bulb underneath.  You can probably find out how to make one by searching the archives or checking in the managing your flock section.  We generally don't use any heaters here as we just have way too many birds and too many cages don't have access to electricity.  They easiest thing we have found to get ice out of is the heavy duty semi-flexible rubber pans sold typically in feed stores.  We use these and carry water to the birds in milk jugs or buckets on the worse days.  On milder days, we use the outside hose.  It stays pretty warm though year round in Colorado, so we can use the hose except on the rare occasion it is below freezing.  It may be too cold where you are for that.  HTH.  smile

post #5 of 9

There was a plan in Mother Earth News this month for a solar heated stock tank. I'm thinking of doing a smaller version for the ducks this winter. The author of the article lives in Maine, so it's not quite Alaska, but it's a cold climate, and it works for her. The basic concept was that the tank was heavily insulated with reduced surface area (a cover over the top with just a hole for access). The southern exposure was made of a clear material to gather solar energy. The water itself acts as the heat sink.

I don't have good southern exposure, so I'll probably leave off the solar collector, but simply insulating the water source should help. And for more northern climes, the solar collector is probably necessary.

Look what the cat dragged in: Curiosity Cat's Urban Unschooling Homestead

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Look what the cat dragged in: Curiosity Cat's Urban Unschooling Homestead

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post #6 of 9

Haven't unpacked my magazine yet.  Interesting concept, not sure how this will work at night when it gets really cold up here.  I actually plan on not giving them all day swimming time.  I do plan on filling a concrete mixing pan with warm water every other day so they can clean themselves.  As said before by many people here they don't need it.  Just a heated bucket so they can clean their face and nostrils.

post #7 of 9

Maraak,
Where in AK do you live?  I bought a wonderful 1.5 gallon heated bucket down at Alaska Mill and Feed. It is working great for 5 ducks.  By the way, come over and join in with the AK thread in Random Ramblings.

There are always two sides to a story and the truth runs somewhere down the middle.
Nobody loses anything by being polite but there are a lot of people who are afraid to take the risk.
In God's economy, the budget always balances.
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There are always two sides to a story and the truth runs somewhere down the middle.
Nobody loses anything by being polite but there are a lot of people who are afraid to take the risk.
In God's economy, the budget always balances.
Reply
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Well thanks very much you guys! This is such a great resource. I love knowing there's a place for people who care about their chickens and ducks as much as i do! I got great advice here and now I think I have a good winter plan for my beloved ducks.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Oh and thanks to Bird Brain too -- I'm in South Anchorage and get all my supplies from AK Mill & Feed. I'm heading there tomorrow to look into a heated waterer and now I'm heading to the thread you recommend!

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