Ducks healthy in winter? Help!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by morganurban, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. morganurban

    morganurban In the Brooder

    May 30, 2018
    Winter is still a few months away, but this is my first time having ducks during the cold months. I live in Ohio, the coldest it gets is about -5° on bad days. Is it safe to keep my ducks outside in their coop/run? Should I change their diet? Any tips? I have just the two ducks and want to make sure they’re safe and healthy through the cold months.
    Miss Lydia likes this.

    TSOWOATNKC Songster

    Jun 11, 2018
    We haven’t done a winter yet, but my plan is to feed corn right before sundown to give a caloric boost overnight.
    Flockandfowl46 likes this.
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia John 3:16

    Corn is fine for over night heat. Just don't over do. It can make them fat, but in winter having a few extra calories is good. Other than that just feeding a good balanced feed and making sure they have plenty of water I use heated buckets here since the water can freeze pretty quick. Also give them options of going inside their coop if they want.

    Mine do not get food or water inside though ice skating can happen over night. With the water that ends up on the floor.
    shawluvsbirds likes this.
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    That's not really cold. I'm in Alberta, Canada and we get cold. I supply warm dry straw and put vapour barrier plastic on my run. Fresh water and feed I add in scratch grains and fresh veggies to the diet. Mine still bath on decent days. Ducks can handle cold temperatures.
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia John 3:16

    As @Amiga Has mentioned Runners having slight build and upright are more susceptible to the cold. Mine proved it by using their house to get in out of it on very frigid days.
    shawluvsbirds and Flockandfowl46 like this.
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    My Friend has Runner Ducks and she is further North than me and her Runners are no different that any other Duck in winter. They acclimate to the weather.
    Soon2BChixMom likes this.
  7. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    Make sure they have deep dry bedding to sleep in. I definitely pile in the straw in the duck house deeper in the winter.

    Make sure they have a good wind block. At my house the prevailing winds come from a different direction in winter than summer, so just be conscious of where your wind comes from and that your birds have a place that is sheltered from it.

    Make sure they have thawed water. This can be done in any number of ways, but basically, check on them a few times a day and bring fresh water if needed. I've had the heat element go out in a heated waterer before, or the birds tip over and spill the entire waterer somehow. I definitely check on them a bit more often in winter just to be sure.

    Ducks do quite well in the cold. I live in a cold climate where it can freeze any night of the year and my ducks fare better than my chickens. I wish I'd started with ducks, I might not have even gotten chickens (not that I don't love the little buggers).

    I sometimes dump the dirty water bucket down the toilet in the winter so I'm not creating a skating rink outside or clogging my drains inside.

    Honestly they will be just fine. Don't worry too much ;)
  8. morganurban

    morganurban In the Brooder

    May 30, 2018
    Thanks so much, this will help a lot! Just want to make sure my babies are safe and happy all year round! :)
  9. shawluvsbirds

    shawluvsbirds "FAKE EILLEEN"

    Apr 17, 2017
    Last winter when my call ducks seen me coming to lock them up for the night they all would run to the feeder and tank up one last time before bed :lau
    I would end up standing there shivering waiting on them to finish pigging out so I could lock them up. :gig
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Not all my Runners are cold hardy.

    Long story short, several of them did not thrive below 35F. I moved them to a shelter that remains above 40F. My original flock is now 8.5 years old, they are still healthy and robust. The go outdoors in the cold, down to about 15 F, but not for hours at a time. I watch them. When they display signs they are getting too cold, I get them in.

    We have about 150 square feet in the night pen for 16 ducks that range in size from 2 to 5 pounds. So when we must keep them in for days at a time due to extreme weather, they are not too cramped for space.

    Ducks are individuals. There are relatively few things that, based on my experience, that I would say about all ducks. It all depends.....on their size, general health, history, environment. Observe and adjust, is what I aim for.

    The way I monitored their first night pen was by getting an indoor-outdoor thermometer and setting it up so that I did not have to open the door to the shelter to check the temperature inside. Two ducks....might not be able to keep themselves warm enough, though it is possible. You may want to consider a temporary “duck storm shelter” where you can move them. Temperatures can drop well below normal at times. Plan on extremes. If it does not happen, great. But if it does, you will not have to scramble or worry.
    Miss Lydia and shawluvsbirds like this.

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