Duck water needs and cold climate

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by forester7, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. forester7

    forester7 In the Brooder

    Nov 21, 2016
    I have a small hobby farm. I have chickens and I have interest in trying ducks, but I don't have a pond and I live in a cold climate with long winters.

    Is it possible to keep ducks healthy and happy inside a barn during cold winter months?
    How could I provide them with the water they need inside a barn without it being too labor intensive and make too much mess in the barn?
    In the summer, how large a water source do they need if outside? An old tub? A small plastic basin?
    Maybe I should just stick with chickens?

    Any ideas would be appreciated!
  2. littlelisa2412

    littlelisa2412 In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2017
    Theyll be just fine in a barn. They actually still like being out in the snow too. I use a 5 gall livestock bucket for them to swim in and a heated water bowl outside to drink. You just need to probably keep the water outaide or your barn will be wet lol

    As far as summer water kiddie pools work well. Ive got an old tub I plan on using since its got a drain already for easy cleaning. Get ducks. Youll love them
  3. Krazyquilts

    Krazyquilts Songster Premium Member

    We live in town with a small backyard so our six ducks don't have a pond. They have two 9-gallon pond-liner type tubs in their pen and a small kiddie pool in the garden. The ones in their pens get dumped out and refilled every morning and the kiddie pool about every few days, much less often in the winter. We use livestock waterer de-icers to keep their pen water from freezing which isn't hard for us since their pen is right next to the garage but that might be more difficult if your barn doesn't have electricity. Oh and their pen is lined with washed pea gravel that can just be hosed down when it gets poopy.

    If I were you, I would make a pen/run for them that was attached to your barn so they could safely run around all winter and keep some small pools of water out there for them - that way you can just dump it out.

    We live north-east of Cleveland, OH, just a few blocks from Lake Erie so while we don't get as much snow as the surrounding areas, we get a lot of freezing wind. That's one of the reasons I chose ducks over chickens - ducks are built to deal with the cold better. I read somewhere that "ducks don't need insulation - ducks are insulation!" ;) The ducks have a 4' by 8' house that they can hang out in during cold weather, but unless it's really, really cold or windy, they are usually out in their pen, eating and drinking and bathing and pooping and having a good ol' ducky time. They still like to run around in the garden too, even though their isn't really anything for them to forage.

    Here's some videos of our ducks in snow:



    mistycolleen likes this.
  4. mistycolleen

    mistycolleen Chirping

    Apr 13, 2017
    now i dont know if its just me, but ill share my opinion just incase it helps in any way. we got chickens, turkeys and ducks all last year. our first year with any of them. i was, well actually we both were, extremely excited about getting ducks. they were so damn cute and fun to watch when they were little. we did keep them down with our turkeys when they got bigger which seemed to work just fine. honestly, there isnt a thing i really liked about them. i was dissapointed for sure. we had 3 mallards (1 drake and 2 hens) and 3 pekins. the pekins werent too bad, well they werent that great either. but we did have them butchered. the pond aspect of it all was the biggest headache. if you have a water source im sure it wouldnt be so bad. but where we kept them i was constantly hauling water and changing their pool. sometimes 3 times a day. right off the bat when we got them, they werent overly friendly. we handled and interacted with them daily. now it could have been the breeds we chose but really i grew so frustrated with them im not sure i wuold even get ducks again.
    over winter we kept the 3 mallards, 1 hen flew off in about november and my poor drake, i think froze to death when we had all our -15 cold days. he was fine that evening but by morning had died. broke my heart even tho i disliked him so much.
    maybe we had bad luck or it indeed was our breeds, but i have to say the turkeys and chickens are way easier to have. if there was a breed i could find that werent so messy or required all that water, id for sure be interested.
    oh and our last mallard is actually growing on me. since she is our only duck she is shacking up with our chickens and is doing great. im beginning to think she thinks she might be a chicken herself. she is really getting more social and friendly. even runs up to greet me now, but man can she mess the wateres up fast.
    i hope your expereince is better than ours, we may have taken too much on last year too. but a water source for sure is important. and be prepared for flies, bugs, and tons of stinky mud everywhere. if you get ducks id love to hear what you get and how it goes for you!
    Miss Lydia likes this.
  5. Squiggi

    Squiggi In the Brooder

    Jan 27, 2018
    1010020.jpg 1010020.jpg We have a large back yard Koi pond that the fish share with 4 bantam sized ducks (Call Ducks). We only clip wings when we first get them. They can all fly now but don't, except low across the pond. They are not cuddly, but they come when I call them, they love nightcrawlers and eat them out of my hand. When we sit by the pond, they laydown and nap near us. They let me know , sometimes loudly, when their food bowl is empty, and are right in the middle of the fish feeding time. We have had Ducks for 4 years. I love to watch them be ducks, learn their personalities and develop their pecking order. We live in NW Oregon...Pond froze over for a couple of weeks last winter. The water was actually warmer than the ground so they spent their time swimming in the holes in the ice. Ducks are water fowl, and I wouldn't dream of having any without access to a pond.
    Miss Lydia and mistycolleen like this.

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