Caring for Pekin Ducks in Cold Climates

clmschke

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 2, 2012
129
15
93
Southern Wisconsin
I'm glad it bumped the thread though, even though the information is old.

We've got 4 Pekin ducks (2 male, 2 female) and they're stashed in the chicken coop with the banty's. They get free range of the 3 acres here in WI with the bantams, and 6 geese. Any information for cold weather care of ducks, geese and chickens has been helpful, since this is our first winter with them.

We've got two kiddie pools for swimming; one larger near the house and one in easy reach of the water spigot. For those days when all the water is iced-over, I kick the pool to break the ice, dump it out and refill it when the temp gets over 27 degrees Fahrenheit. That temp, with the sun means it usually will stay ice free long enough for everyone to bathe. I've seen them bathe in water with ice in it. It does not seem to bother them. I make sure to keep both pools with free water, even if there is ice in there. I do worry a bit if the ice will cut them, but so far it hasn't.

We have a heated large dog watering dish in the coop that allows for dunking of heads, plus a heated flat-back one in the garage inside the goose pen. Both the garage door and the coop door stay open all day so that each animal can get out of the cold, eat or drink when they please. For food, they get All Flock with a mixture of layer feed. Both females are laying and I noticed some wonky eggs week before last - no shell, just membrane - and decided to add the layer feed in to give them extra calcium.

So far, the ducks have been doing well with the cold weather. They prefer to nap in the patch of lilac bushes on the south side of the house. It gives them protection from threats above and good sun exposure. When it is time for them to go in at night, we go in and turn on the light to the coop. They walk in by themselves and have no issues with the chickens. The chickens are usually roosting above them, so they get the straw floor to themselves.

We modified a bank of school lockers to turn them into nesting boxes: Divided the bank of 3 into 12 nesting areas by adding shelving and roosts. The lockers did not have doors to them, so that was easy. One female lays in the middle bottom box. The other female lays right next to the feed tray. She likes to bury hers a bit more than the other one does.

Now why am I putting all of this here? There's someone out there, like me, who is raising ducks for the first time. I find the forums on BYC to be my single-most go-to for information and new ideas. It doesn't matter if it's 2 years old or 20. Ducks are ducks.
 

Going Quackers

Crowing
8 Years
May 24, 2011
7,752
788
351
On, Canada
I'm glad it bumped the thread though, even though the information is old.

We've got 4 Pekin ducks (2 male, 2 female) and they're stashed in the chicken coop with the banty's. They get free range of the 3 acres here in WI with the bantams, and 6 geese. Any information for cold weather care of ducks, geese and chickens has been helpful, since this is our first winter with them.

We've got two kiddie pools for swimming; one larger near the house and one in easy reach of the water spigot. For those days when all the water is iced-over, I kick the pool to break the ice, dump it out and refill it when the temp gets over 27 degrees Fahrenheit. That temp, with the sun means it usually will stay ice free long enough for everyone to bathe. I've seen them bathe in water with ice in it. It does not seem to bother them. I make sure to keep both pools with free water, even if there is ice in there. I do worry a bit if the ice will cut them, but so far it hasn't.

We have a heated large dog watering dish in the coop that allows for dunking of heads, plus a heated flat-back one in the garage inside the goose pen. Both the garage door and the coop door stay open all day so that each animal can get out of the cold, eat or drink when they please. For food, they get All Flock with a mixture of layer feed. Both females are laying and I noticed some wonky eggs week before last - no shell, just membrane - and decided to add the layer feed in to give them extra calcium.

So far, the ducks have been doing well with the cold weather. They prefer to nap in the patch of lilac bushes on the south side of the house. It gives them protection from threats above and good sun exposure. When it is time for them to go in at night, we go in and turn on the light to the coop. They walk in by themselves and have no issues with the chickens. The chickens are usually roosting above them, so they get the straw floor to themselves.

We modified a bank of school lockers to turn them into nesting boxes: Divided the bank of 3 into 12 nesting areas by adding shelving and roosts. The lockers did not have doors to them, so that was easy. One female lays in the middle bottom box. The other female lays right next to the feed tray. She likes to bury hers a bit more than the other one does.

Now why am I putting all of this here? There's someone out there, like me, who is raising ducks for the first time. I find the forums on BYC to be my single-most go-to for information and new ideas. It doesn't matter if it's 2 years old or 20. Ducks are ducks.
Well you sound to me like you have a handle on it! The only concern i ever have with ice in the pools is ensuring no one can get trapped under it, mind you at the moment ours are to frozen to even stomp out.
 

clmschke

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 2, 2012
129
15
93
Southern Wisconsin
Oh I found out real quick that if you don't stomp out the ice to small pieces, the ducks and geese will go in anyways. I had to physically lift our big African male goose out of the small pool the last morning it was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit here. He got into the pool, realized it was frozen solid, but could not get enough grip to get out. After standing there watching his performance...I decided to help him out.

Rubber wading boots to my knees makes stomping the ice in the pools pretty quick. I hope I never get a hole in them!
 

Going Quackers

Crowing
8 Years
May 24, 2011
7,752
788
351
On, Canada
Oh I found out real quick that if you don't stomp out the ice to small pieces, the ducks and geese will go in anyways. I had to physically lift our big African male goose out of the small pool the last morning it was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit here. He got into the pool, realized it was frozen solid, but could not get enough grip to get out. After standing there watching his performance...I decided to help him out.

Rubber wading boots to my knees makes stomping the ice in the pools pretty quick. I hope I never get a hole in them!
Yep, my pools are to frozen to open mind you i re-filled a rubber tub had a lady swimming in it this morning (-7C) i think she's nuts but she was happy.
 

HollyDuckFarmer

Songster
7 Years
Jun 30, 2012
2,683
164
208
LP Michigan
I love the old threads, I learn so much!!

My setup is like this: barn with doggy door that leads to enclosed pen, which has an old kids playhouse, an igloo dog house, and many small square bales (2-3 bales high) supported by fence posts from TSC... for insulation and wind block. My amazing husband set the bales up maze style and my ducks seem to love it. The set up allows for me to have water + food opposite the sleeping quarters. My flock protests loudly when I herd them indoors, so I like them to have the choice of where the like to go. They seem to spend the most time near the bales outdoors and in the dog house. Feed is 16% duck feed, plus all-u-can eat kitchen scraps and spaghetti squash that I grew in my garden that my kids will not eat, plus free range. Feed consumption has easily doubled with onset of cold weather.

I will say inside the barn, where the light is, the ducks don't spend much time for at all. When we get blizzards, I'll contain them in the barn pen, which was originally my brooder area. I will probly turn off the light, as it doesn't seem to me like the ducks really care for it, and they probly don't need it. But it's there in reserve, just in case.

Now last week temps dropped to ~20'F overnight, and the flock was obviously cold when I wen out to collect the following morn. But, they were all outside, so I fed them and set them out to pasture and all was fine. So I just added another layer of clean dry straw everywhere and stacked more square bales. Oh! I up cycled a trampoline tarp ( & used blue tarps) along the vertical north and west side of the pen too. If I wasn't concerned about snow loads, I would've put the tarp over the pen like a roof.

Lastly, I had heard from an old timer that they used to use round bales with hollowed out centers for houses. I posted another thread somewhere on the topic but didn't get any real response. I would definitely try this if I knew how to do it. So if you know or have done this please inform. :)
 
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Scott Barr

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 7, 2012
96
23
38
Alpharetta, GA
So is there a temp that most of you feel is too cold for the Peking Duck to be outside. Mine have a converted dog house they bed in and it was 25 degrees F last night ... They were fine and went straight to their pond this morning, very happily, when I let them out at 7am. Thoughts? It has an open door area but the rest is only open a but for good air circulation. Thanks in advance.
 

Going Quackers

Crowing
8 Years
May 24, 2011
7,752
788
351
On, Canada
So is there a temp that most of you feel is too cold for the Peking Duck to be outside. Mine have a converted dog house they bed in and it was 25 degrees F last night ... They were fine and went straight to their pond this morning, very happily, when I let them out at 7am. Thoughts? It has an open door area but the rest is only open a but for good air circulation. Thanks in advance.
I have Muscovy but the same would apply to pekin(very popular where i live) keep access to shelter and open water(to drink/clean nares) I usually have the ducks be the guide, if they are acting ok they probably are. They are far more tolerant than we realize.
 

Lupa Duende

Chirping
7 Years
Sep 7, 2012
102
3
69
The only time that I had shut my critters in all day was last week when the outside temp was -25 centigrade. i live in southern Quebec and we seem to have a cold snap for a bit each january.

my housing routine simply involves locking all of the birds into the coop (inside the barn) at night together as we have predators lurking.

during this afore mentioned cold snap, there were two days when the barn itself could not get above -15 centigrade so i kept everyone inside.

the ducks were the first to waddle out when it warmed to -15 at the end of the week.

our barn is neither insulated, nor do i even have stall mats or a heated watering bowl. my job is to keep the ground dry (old hay and wood shavings). i believe that humidity is more dangerous in cold weather than the cold air itself.

as long as the animals have access to warm/tepid drinking water they all seem fine.

today it warmed up to just above freezing and i had to carry the ducks inside to their chagin!
 
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