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Chickens Walking on Pond in Winter

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chickmate, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Chickmate

    Chickmate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello everyone. I have a question, maybe stupid, but here goes. I have a 1/4 acre pond about 25 feet from my coop. I used to have swans on it, so kept an aerator going 24/7 and just never turned it off when the last swan left. I now have thousands of goldfish and koi in it, so planned on keeping the aerator going thru winter to avoid fish kill due to not enough oxygen. My concern now is that my free range chickens will wander out on the ice and fall though near the aerator hole. This is my first winter with chickens. Are they smart enough to stay off the ice? I hate to confine them to their run for the whole winter, but don't want to lose any to drowning in an icy pond, either. Any advice? Thanks!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I dout that they are smart enough to stay off the ice, but I also doubt that they will fall into the water.
     
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Agree. Chickens aren't the sharpest tools in the shed but they aren't quite that dumb, either.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Chickmate

    Chickmate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not thinking that they will jump into the water. I'm concerned that they will walk out onto the ice, especially when it has a thin coat of snow and looks like land, and fall through where the ice is thin near the hole.
     
  5. champer

    champer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How about putting a sheet of hardwire cloth over the open hole, it's firm enough to not fall in the water.
     
  6. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a very small pond and have never had any problems with them going near it in any season including when it was frozen solid.
     
  7. johnsons-r-us

    johnsons-r-us Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are their wings clipped? I do not clip my chicken's wings and they can fly a bit. I would think they would be able to flap their way out? If they started to fall? Sorry, guess I'm not much help. [​IMG]
     
  8. Chickmate

    Chickmate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The hardware cloth would be a great idea if the hole stayed the same size, but depending on the temperature each day, it gets smaller or larger. No, their wings are not clipped and I was wondering the same thing. If they stared to go through the ice, would they be able to flap their way back out? It would kill me to see one of them out in the middle, drowning and not be able to get out there to save them. Not sure what I'll do yet. Was hoping for someone who had the same situation to give feedback on their experiences. Thanks for all your replies, I do appreciate it.
     
  9. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    I have several ponds on my property. One of the most accessible ponds often freezes unevenly or not at all. The chickens avoid them like the plague. I have never been concerned about the birds falling in to them, and have not ever had a bird drown in them.

    I hope this helps.
     
  10. Pele

    Pele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That's interesting to know. A lot of animals seem to really avoid ice as a general rule (like horses). I'll file that away for when I get my dream property in the future ([​IMG] I'll probably be 80 when that happens).

    I would suspect that a chicken is A.) too light to break most ice, and B.) dislike water enough to avoid ice when it's thin enough to be wet (and breakable).
     

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