Are ducks smart enough to get out of the cold?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by KaLo, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. KaLo

    KaLo Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
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    We are looking at record lows tonight in North FL of 19 degrees. I know you guys in the north will think that is not so bad but we aren't very prepared for that kind of weather here.

    My duck house has a raised screened area with a shallow pool in it and an enclosed area with bedding straw. My 2 Swedes demand water in the pool every night and won't go in until it's filled. They usually sleep in the pool and all but ignore the covered area. Tonight I put their brooder lamp in the covered area to make sure they could get warmth if they needed it. as expected - they are not "thrilled" with the change.

    As of 8 pm tonight -- they are both tucking their heads in the pool. So my question -- will they go in to the covered area if they really need to or should I force them into the covered area and put a barrier to keep them in? Should I take the light out so they might wander in to get out of the wind since they seem afraid of the light? Sorry - I am fairly new to this and just not sure how much cold a duck can take.

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    19'F is not so bad. Right now my ducks are in -2'F plus rotten wicked cold winds. I do have them locked up inside the unheated barn with a heat lamp, but if my temps were 19'F, I would not worry, as long as the ducks have a dry, draft-free shelter with deep bedding to get into. If you normally leave the light on , then continue to do so, as long as it is very safe and very secure to minimize fire risks. Many folks have rigged up lights for heat, only to have something horrible go wrong and ended up with fires. You don't want that.
     
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Some are, some aren't all that said n done, they don't feel cold like we do... i would pull that lamp, forget it that is only for extreme situations...

    This is my night(copied and pasted from the weather network fyi!).. and while i get it;s all relative, i am not running out with heat, i bed well, they have food, shelter etc... i have a couple reasons for avoiding that lamp, one being hydro.. you loose that? well, liken it to a heated house loosing it's heat not real comfy and you chill, birds are similar.. as well as the obvious fire hazard, i feel it will get birds used to something not natural and will reduce their own ability to build up to it.

    I am not cruel, there are times when you do need too.. i had a mama duck raise a clutch in our winter last year, she needed the light... after brooding through a nasty feb, and taking every effort to keep those little tikes warm she was not keeping stable.

    Mon. Overnight
    Snowsqualls
    [​IMG]
    -6°F
    Feels like -35

    Ducks strongly dislike change, add anything, change anything.. move anything.. they go yikes, they are massive routine animals. [​IMG]
     
  4. KaLo

    KaLo Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    North Florida
    Thank you both - I'm pulling the plug on the light. I was just being cautious. All of your Canadian Geese are down here asking themselves if they headed south enough haha. Minus 2 to minus 6 does not even compute!
     
  5. KaLo

    KaLo Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    North Florida
    Correction - Canada Geese . Don't want to insult the geese people on here calling them Canadian Geese[​IMG]
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I am from the south, and when one is acclimated to southern weather, 19 is scary cold. Make sure they have loads of dry clean bedding (not sanitized, but you know, not moldy either). I would actually consider moving them in, but it is a judgment call. It's the extreme drop in temperature that concerns me. At the same time, ducks have a specialized metabolism and can be very hardy.

    What I do is watch my ducks. Our first year, in November, I saw maybe half the flock shivering, walking stiff-legged, necks hunched down, feathers fluffed out. That is not the picture of a thriving duck. I moved them to a night shelter that stayed above freezing, and egg production went up, body condition improved, and behavior was normal and content.

    So keep an eye on them. Also consider that at 19 degrees, water freezes fairly quickly. It is rare, but ducks can get stuck in ice.

    For yourself, I hope you are bundled up in layers, head covered, scarf, and gloves. If there are pipes exposed, you may want to think about draining them if possible. If they do freeze, warm them gently - no blow torches or matches or candles. I find pouring hot water over frozen pipes opens them up without causing dangerous trouble.

    Okay, enough grandmotherly fretting. Please keep us posted.
     
  7. cymbaline

    cymbaline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was just wondering the same thing! (are ducks smart enough to get out of the cold?) That's why I came here - I can't believe that mine are warm enough, and wanted to see if there were any signs to be watching for that they were too cold. They won't go in their house so it is serving as a windbreak. It was about 9 above when I got home this evening and they were all the opposite side of the pen from the lamp like it was no big deal, although they wouldn't stand up for long, lol. Since I wanted to be sure they stayed warm, I have them corralled to no more than 6 -7 feet from a heat lamp and they are all at least 3-4 feet from it. It's -4.5 degrees here plus the windchill (which they may not be feeling too much of since they are pretty much blocked on 3 sides). They look fine right now, I think...just sitting as usual. Do you all think they are really okay? I feel awful because I know at least my big boy Bullwinkle had ice on his feathers...not that he seemed to care.



    [​IMG]

    P.S. Notice the spoiled little featherbutts have a heated water bowl, as of today. I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone climb in it yet, lol.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Southern New England
    I can only tell you that I watched my runners their first winter and saw the signs that some of them were not doing well with the cold. In a flock, some may be better in the cold than others.

    Most of the U.S. is having extreme cold right now - this is not the usual weather. My runners stay near 40F at night in the winter. There are articles that say down to 20F is fine. I don't think it's the numbers, it is how each duck is doing. If the ducks are shivering, they are too cold. They certainly need to be out of the wind, in dry decent bedding. Some ducks are better with cold than others.
     
  9. cymbaline

    cymbaline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm, well, they don't have bedding out in their pen, but they are mostly out of the wind. I don't see them shivering now, but I did earlier when they didn't have the sense to go sit near the lamp before I forced them, lol. That's what makes me wonder if they're sitting farther away from the lamp because they're warm enough or because they are scared of it. I'll go sit and watch them some more, maybe I'll feel better about it and be able to go to bed without worrying so much. Thanks. :)
     
  10. KaLo

    KaLo Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    North Florida
    I'm still up checking mine! They are still in the pool and no one is shivering but they are looking at me like I am nuts coming out there every 30 minutes. They have deep straw and a roof over their heads if they want it, I just hope they have enough sense to use it.
     

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