Did I do something to hurt my ducks?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by JosieR, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. JosieR

    JosieR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2010
    Orange County, NY
    It has been cold here, recently going into the teens and even the single digits one night. I have 5 ducks (3 Cayugas and 2 Runners). They have a 3x5 insulated house, it has a small door out to an enclosed run, about a foot of shavings in the house, about 3 inches on the run, which is a Trex base. The entire thing is elevated off the ground. The door from the house to the run is open at night, though I have it propped open just enough for them to get in and out but closed enough to block some of the wind.

    No eggs for about a week and now I notice feathers in the house at night [​IMG] I can't locate my Storey's Guide at the moment but this doesn't seem like the time for a molt????

    They are getting flock raiser, I give 3/4 cup of feed with a 1/4 cup of a combo of crimped oats and corn. I have been doing that all summer since the flocker raiser is rather high in protein.

    Did I do something to cause this molt?? Will the molt hurt the ducks???

  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I would not worry. It's not that they are loosing all the feathers and run around naked. It's just nature doing its thing.
    I did build a wind tunnel for my duck house. This mean they have to walk through it to get in and take a few turns while at it. First time we had this up they were standing outside talking about it for one hour. Then one decided to go in for food and the rest just followed. This prevents the wind from blowing into the duck house. Mine are locked up in it at night. Way to many predators around to give them the in and out option at night.
  3. lilchick

    lilchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Williamsport In.
    Ducks will always be losing a few feathers. When they sit around and preen they drop a few more. Sounds like you are taking VERY good care of your ducks! do not worry about them....
  4. JosieR

    JosieR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2010
    Orange County, NY
    I'm so paranoid! This is my first winter with them and I just CANNOT wrap my mind around them being warm enoughout in that house. I seriously though about putting them in the garage when it went down to 7 degrees the other night LOL They would not like it (too many house noises, I'm sure) and there's so much for them to get in trouble with in there! I had to tell myself to get a grip!!!

    Katharinad, I like the idea of the wind tunnel! I can totally see them standing around talking about it. When we get home and they run over quacking (and looking for treats), my 4 year old says, Mommy, they're telling us about their day and all the ducky things they did!!!

    So food is OK? I can probably cut the flock raiser back more, right? They need less protien now that they're not laying and the extra corn will keep them warmer? I'm thinking of trying to put plexiglass or something up on the sides of their run to cut down on wind while still allowing light in. Will have hubby build 2 A frames to put out in the yard with hay so they can go in there if they are cold?

    Probably doesn't help that they haven't been able to swim in 2 weeks, at least. I need to figure out a way to keep at least their drinking water from freezing while I'm gone during the day!
  5. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Don't worry about their water. We had 20 degrees in the daytime and all I did was fill up the bucket twice with warm water. Never froze, but the bucket had a nice ice ring on the outside. My ducks do have water and food in the heated duck house. The temp is slightly above freezing so the water never freezes there. I did build some cheap a-frames with plywood. Here is a picture:
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I don't want you to worry, but when two of mine started molting (and shivering, acting a bit listless outdoors), I moved the flock indoors at night. This is my first winter, too, and I don't want to make fatal mistakes.

    The molters are getting some feathers back, everyone is fine and healthy, and when it seems right (based on their behavior), they will be back outside in their insulated house 24/7 again. I decided it's not worth worrying myself, no matter what the book says.

    By the way, I am now getting five eggs a day, not just three.

    Edited to add: "Indoors" is a 6'x10' puppy playpen near the walk-out basement door. Basement temperatures are around 40s to 50s F.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  7. goosedragon

    goosedragon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Central NC
    Quote:I think you would be in for a big surprize if you placed a therometer near the closed back wall of your simple A frame shelters the temperature is warmer than you think because of solar heating on the plywood. Get about 4 ducks in that shelter and their body heat will make it toasty warm, so warm in fact that some of the ducks in there fine down suits will move outside to cool off for a while and then return if they get chilled!
  8. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    I really like those shelters you made! My muskovies only go in the barn when it is REALLY cold. THey stayed out all last night and it got down to 3*F! Tonight it is supposed to go to -3 so I will have to see if they go in...I am thinking not. They seem to love the cold. Even the geese went in last night. Terri O
  9. JosieR

    JosieR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2010
    Orange County, NY
    LOVE those A frames! I'm going to show hubby a pic, they are exactly what I want!

    Unfortuntely, I don't have a basement for them. The garage would be it but then we would have to park our cars outside. My hubby would not be amused! We have a light coating of snow this morning and I have been avoiding letting them out but it's not melting so I'm going to have to just do it.

    There are a couple of pine trees that don't have snow under them so I'll hope they go there. Maybe I will put food and water for them there to encourage it.

    As much as I love them, Darwinism, I guess. I live in a cold climate and those that are able to survive the cold will go on to live and reproduce, etc. I feel awful saying that but I simply can't have outdoor animals in the house [​IMG]
  10. GlitterBug

    GlitterBug Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    None of my ducks are laying either. I suppose that it is just too cold right now?

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