7'x8' shed and bales to winter-over 30 ducks? -40 canadian weather

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by MommaBear, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. MommaBear

    MommaBear New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Jun 18, 2010
    I've done alot of reading and research but there doesn't seem to be much out there about caring for ducks in extreme cold.

    I'm starting my winter preparations and am trying to figure if my idea is reasonable enough for our harsh Canadian winters that do drop to -40 before the windchill for at least 2 months out of the year. I have currently have a pen that is 11'x21', and a tin shed that is 7'x8'x6' tall. It is already up on a subfloor of sorts, and is supported about 4" off the ground. I was hoping to convert it to be able to house the ducks over the winter by surronding the outside with stacked straw bails almost all the way around. For a heat source I was thinking of a heat bulb, OR we already have an exhaust vent from our indoor garden we tend in the winter close enough by which exhausts air that is about 80-90 degrees, however it does have a humidity level of 60% to 80% normally. The humidity is what concerns me becuse the ducks will create their own humidity as well.
    I have been researching bale coops and read that one guy uses hay on the floor and as the foundation because it absorbs the Nitrogen instead of it gassing off, he also instead of clearing it out, he would regularely pile more hay right on top so it was dry for the ducks, and it would compost over winter at the bottom of the coop creating it's own heat as well. One of my main concerns is how to keep everything running smoothly enough so that I only have to clean the coop once ever week or two, but not run into mould, or dampness problems.
    I know I have to figure a ventilation system, but want to do it without a fan if possible. One guy around here said he covered over his windows with a thick fleece to let the moisture out and keep the warm in, but I thought maybe it would be more practicle to creat slanted vents or chimneys in the roof and count on the hot air rising to take the moisture with it.
    The Pen will be available to them if the choose and the whole set up is in a sheltered part of our property behind out garage and in a bunch of evergreen trees and such.

    So I'm wondering mostly about the size and how many ducks I would be able to house from when the snow falls in october, untill spring in March/April. I was really hoping for thirty.
    The other thing I was wondering is if my set up would be enough to at least keep them in good health over the winter because once spring comes I have coops at ponds in farmers feilds for them to be moved to. And do you think I could use the exhaust from the garage instead of heat lamps, Also if anyone has any good idea, links, resources, or old threads it would be greatly appriciated.

    Oh and I have 5 Runner Ducks, 4 Black swedish, and have 6 more runners coming, and hopefully 12 Khaki Campbells if that makes a difference. So really I'll be looking at 20-30 ducks by then probably.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  2. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chillin' With My Peeps

    239
    0
    89
    Jun 4, 2010
    Caribou, Maine
    They technique seems VERY sound in regards to keeping them warm enough. The only thing I'm thinking might be an issue would be the amount of space. I's probably look at a 12x12 or 12x16 shed of the same height for that many ducks. Or keep them in the south-east corner of an insulated horse barn.
     
  3. MommaBear

    MommaBear New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Jun 18, 2010
    I really would love that but we live in a Suburban, area in the country, and have limited space to put up any thing more than what I already have with my gardens, green houses, dog runs, multiple outdoor rabbit pens, and the playground out front, However the shed(which is a standard tin shed with the sliding doors), backs onto the coop which they can enter through a hole I cut, putting the sliding doors at the back, which I constructed a mesh swinging door for over top so it can bee kinda open. What I may be able to do is to build a bail addition on to the coop in the back connecting at the sliding doors, this area may not be quite as warm or clean and would be on the ground, but it would atleast open up more of a sheltered area for them to escape to as needed.
    Another Idea tha I had was to make a second story in the shed, by using plywood as a floor I could have two 3ft tall floors for them to choose from, both of which could be accessed by the large door, the top floor would have to be cleaned much more regularly though.

    But at least your response gives me a bit more of a goal area size, because that is really what I am having a hard time finding for that length of time.
     
  4. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

    4,203
    73
    253
    Apr 19, 2009
    At those temps, for that length of time, with this species, you'll be WAY overcrowded. Remember ducks cannot roost like chickens do so the floor space is all they have to work with. 7x8 is 56 sq feet. That's less than 2 sq foot per duck at 30 ducks. Plus you'll need to fit in feeders and waterers, etc which will reduce floor space further bringing your actual available space per bird even lower. That's asking for trouble. For happy, healthy ducks I'd shoot for 15 MAX.
     
  5. Red Maple Farms

    Red Maple Farms Wish Granted

    219
    0
    99
    Feb 25, 2010
    NE Wisconsin
    I gets down to 40 below here, but only for a couple weeks at a time. Last year was pretty mild, and only got to 20 below for a bit. No windchill included.

    Disregard the normal space requirements for a duck in the colder whether. They could really care less when it is extremely cold. The ducks like to sleep huddled together under these conditions. (This year the coop is now insulated with rigid foam.) In the picture below there are over 40 ducks in an 8' x 16' enclosed section.

    [​IMG]


    I offer my ducks a choice. Either thet can stay inside the 8' x 16' coop or then can hang out in the 8' x 16' open sided shed built off the coop.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I was just thinking about this too. I have one advantage the walls in my duck house are insulated, and so it the roof. In your case putting hay bales up outside is a very good idea for you. I'm not to sure about the floor idea. The moisture will create issues and perhaps cause rotting in the floors boards. It may also invite bugs and mice to move in. My duck house sits on the ground with concrete pavers and I know they will be to cold for them. I'm plan on putting down stall mats that are 3/4" thick, since they do insulate well from below. I currently have rubber mats down covered with pine shavings, which I sweep out every morning. It works well and the cleaning work is really simple and fast. I use a broom and thats it. The mats are textured so the ducks will not slip on it. I would be cautious to use a heat lamp, to much of a fire risk and the bulb can explode. I've heard bad stories about it. I'm using an oil filled electric radiator. They are wonderful and safe for the animals. The space you plan on using is to small for that many ducks. I would only put 10 into a space that small.
     
  7. Sweetfolly

    Sweetfolly Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,123
    21
    191
    Apr 17, 2009
    Kildare, Wisconsin
    Wow! -40?

    The coldest it's ever gotten here was -16 one night since I've had ducks, and they've all done just fine in their uninsulated, unheated plywood pens.

    They do like to cram all together in a tight space when it's that cold though. I make little straw-bale "cubbies" inside the pens for them to snuggle in, and they always look quite cozy, even during those stretches of temperatures below zero for weeks at a time!

    Geesh, -40 though? Brrrrr.....
     
  8. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

    4,203
    73
    253
    Apr 19, 2009
    Quote:Keep in mind here you're talking about only 33% more ducks than she wants to keep and you're working with 450% more room. AND you're keeping them in those temperatures for only 1/4 the amount of time -- at most. It's not only about what the ducks like, it's also about cleanliness.

    To put it into further perspective, she's asking about keeping almost as many ducks as you have in less than 1/2 of ONE of your enclosures. Almost as many ducks in less than 1/4 of the space for 4 times as long! Big difference.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  9. MommaBear

    MommaBear New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Jun 18, 2010
    I`m wondering where you are getting all of your figures, while some make sense some really don`t like the 450%. The way I see it yes RMF does keep 33% more birds and has an additional 72 square feet in coop space, however I have an additional 103 square feet in pen space, and they are smaller ducks than her perkins. Plus I would figure that while there are benifits in cleanliness with larger spaces I`ve also read that you want to keep the coop as small as safely possible because they do cuddle togather and it will make better use of their heat they give off.

    And yes the temperature does get cold here, but in the summers we also rocket above 105 [​IMG] that aside though it generally is not -40 consistantly for the whole two months, there are normally breaks in it when it is warmer, and like others said last year was quite mild and we only dipped that far down for a week at a time a few times, I`m just trying to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

    Any ideas about the humidity in the exhaust, I`d rather not use a lamp. Also wahat about the idea of a second floor, or having a second connected pen that may not be quite as warm but provides more space.

    The floor rotting out isn`t a concern so long as it makes it through the winter, But I do like the idea of the sawdust for the poop but I can just see sawdust soup for the water dish play, but that as well in another kink I`m working on.


    Quote:Keep in mind here you're talking about only 33% more ducks than she wants to keep and you're working with 450% more room. AND you're keeping them in those temperatures for only 1/4 the amount of time -- at most. It's not only about what the ducks like, it's also about cleanliness.

    To put it into further perspective, she's asking about keeping almost as many ducks as you have in less than 1/2 of ONE of your enclosures. Almost as many ducks in less than 1/4 of the space for 4 times as long! Big difference.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  10. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I don't have a problem with wood shavings in the water. I have a tray below it. Here are some pics:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by