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Can ducks take below 0F temps at night?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Misskpw, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. Misskpw

    Misskpw New Egg

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    I have seen a thread or two on ducks & cold, but not about cold below 0F (apologies if there is one out there & I haven't found it yet!). I have 2 khaki campbell ducks who sleep in an uninsulated plywood house w/a small open door under our chicken coop. We give them straw (which the chickens promptly spread all around) & they have been doing fine with our winter so far (we are coastal Maine), BUT we are due to get below 0F temps at night this weekend. I'm trying to figure out if I need to seek out & stack some straw bales around their house (or some such plan to increase insulation), or just give them a lot more straw inside their house …. If I had it on hand, I wouldn't hesitate! This week has been hard with the adults in the family sick, so I am unprepared. I know I'll end up doing something extra to insulate the house (even if temporarily … less than 0 is COLD!), but thought I'd see what others' experiences have been anyway & what others have done in a pinch. Just note - I DO care about my ducks & will take care of them! Thanks!
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. frenchbet

    frenchbet Out Of The Brooder

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    You are a caring duck owner. I too have Khaki Campbells. I think most of us worry that our ducks are warm, comfortable and happy. We are also expecting very cold temps and winds(in PA). Ducks need/want shelter from very cold temps, wind, rain/snow. My ducks seem to prefer to sleep under the pines in their pen vs their coop but I make them go in esp when temps are so cold. I use straw for bedding. I suggest you add extra straw to their shelter. Surrounding the duck house with straw bales would really help insulate, but may be expensive depending on how many you would need. If you can close the door to the shelter or cover it if it doesn't have a door. During these frigid temp make sure they have plenty of food and water. I use heated dog bowls to ensure they have unfrozen water at all times. Remember that most ducks are very cold hardy and should do fine with shelter, food and water during the winter. I have to remind myself that the wild ducks and geese dont have access to all this and they do just fine. Also our ducks will be warmer than us when we are all bundled up in this cold tending to them! Stay warm....spring is coming!
     
    2 people like this.
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    We're going down into single digits with wind below zero so I have decided to keep my chickens and Muscovy's inside during this. I have set up an area for food and water I also use heated buckets and bowls so they can eat and drink. My house isn't insulated but like frenchbet said they can withstand the temps if out of wind and snow or rain. and all of them being inside will help generate extra heat and I use deep bedding in my houses. I lost one of my old females last Feb in temps like this she had hypothermia I am pretty sure, I sure don't want that to happen again so taking these precautions.

    I think everyone should evaluate their ducks situation and make accommodations accordingly. Ducks are hardy but weather and shortage of food is one reason wild ducks migrate too.
     
  4. KrisCVT

    KrisCVT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am in MA and my ducks (2 Pekins) are setup pretty much the same way. I have my run and the area under the chicken coop enclosed in plastic so no wind, and they are thickly bedded with straw (my chickens do the same thing to the straw- I am constantly raking it back underneath in their house area) My ducks seem to have spent a lot of time next to the heated water bowl each night making a mess...but the water in it froze last night. I am pretty worried about these below zero temps but I think our ducks will be fine...a little more worried about the hens! God I envy people who live further south!!!
     
  5. KrisCVT

    KrisCVT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Inside like in your house? Or inside their coop??? Because I have thought about bringing all the birds into my basement for the next couple of nights while it is going to be -10 F.....but everything I read tells me they will be fine in their coop (uninsulated but bedded deeply with fresh shavings, topped with straw, not drafty). My basement is about 50-55 F so then I worry about the dramatic change in temp. Ugghhh.
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    In side their coop lol my 5 dogs would probably enjoy all the poop and help clean it up but I think my dh would not be so enthused. I wish I had a basement to bring mine into. But they will be fine inside their house.
     
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I think they will be fine if out of wind with deep bedding it's the wind and snow and ice I'm concerned about and those frigid temps.

    Come on Spring.
     
  8. Misskpw

    Misskpw New Egg

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    Thanks, everyone! I'm going to see if I can even find straw bales for sale around here & use them around the duck house .... I'm thinking I can always use them for bedding or mulch later too (if they don't get moldy come spring ...). Either way, I'll put a nice thick bed of straw in their house after the hens go to sleep upstairs. They do have a heated water source (the only way I could figure to keep them with something to drink all day without having to re-fill a couple of times a day) & good food. I'll find a board to cover their door for the nights, too. This is their first winter & they are much more adventurous & hardy than the chickens when it comes to exploring the yard in the snow and cold. On a side note, I've been pleasantly surprised with how clean they keep their house. I pictured them pooping everywhere & then lying down in it like when they were ducklings, but they only poop in one corner & keep themselves very clean! If only the chickens would leave their straw alone, they'd have a nice little place! Thanks again!!
     
  9. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I do keep my Runners, Buffs and BEI in the unheated walkout basement because several of them do not do well under 35F.

    And I find that the dramatic change in temp is really not so bad - when the days are sunny and above 25F, they'll stay outside for quite a while if I put down straw or shavings to give them a way to get off the snow and ice. If you have the space, you might consider it.

    Another thing is this - each flock, each duck, is different. You need to be able to observe them somehow - they show signs of hypothermia - lethargy, ruffled feathers, walking stiffly, not walking, shivering....

    And while we are at it - the body size and number of ducks makes a difference. Also, if the ducks will nestle together. Mine do not cluster when they are cold, silly birds.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    If there were enough chickens to till acreage people to give up their tractors. They love to scratch.
     

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