ducks in cold and snow

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by TLWR, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    ok, my ducks are southern girls....
    I have no idea what our house/property is going to be when we relocate to NY. I should know soon once I start house hunting after I arrive in 10 days.

    But the winter lows are going to be about 20+ degrees colder and winter highs will be around 30 degrees cooler. I'm sure I'll have more issues than they will. I left that weather behind, we thought for good!
    Lake effect snow region.

    I know the ducks come with built in down coats so winter shouldn't be an issue and I'll need to get something so their water dish doesn't freeze.
    Beyond that... what are we getting into?

    As much as I'd like to do what we had done here - fence the yard and let them have run of it, if we have a sizable property, they will be likely getting a very large pen (100x100 or larger in theory), but again, I won't know until I find our house.
    I will build them a pen regardless of their ability to use the yard.
    How tall does it need to be to prevent foxes from jumping in?
    If you electrify your fence, how does that work in the winter with snow covering wires?
    Winter housing... when I build their house, what do I need to consider. Part of me is really liking the lifetime sheds - doing a smaller one of those (8x5 or 7x4.5 sized).
    What are my options for cleaning. Right now, I hose out their house daily. In the winter, when it drops to freezing and the hose doesn't work right away in the morning, they get hosed out in the afternoon or they go a few days without being hosed out. Does this leave me with deep liter only or are there other options for winter cleaning/bedding?
    They have a bin with bedding, otherwise they just sleep on the floor of their hut. I don't think that will work if I can't hose it out often.

    what else do I need to know about snow weather ducks?
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    TLWR, I'm not that far north so can't help much but Amiga is in Conn. and she has a nice covered pen and can probably answer most of your questions if you PM her.I will say it does get pretty cold here minus at times and deep litter works great, I just go in daily and scoop off the top poo stir up the bedding and add new shavings as needed.
  3. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    Bet I'm not going to have 6 acres of pine trees for free bedding any more!
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Welcome to the north country!

    My runners are not cold hardy below 35˚F. So their night shelter stays at 40˚F or above. I know it does not work for most, but we built them a "room" in the walkout basement. Very convenient for me, I do not have to shovel three feet of snow to get to them.

    When I kept them in their outdoor house in spring, summer and fall, I used deep litter - shavings - spot picked, and stirred daily, added a small bucket of dry peat moss to the shavings to prevent ammonia forming. Worked very very well.

    Having the used shavings as mulch has been a blessing to my perennial and even annual garden beds.

    If you need a separate house for them, they may well need heat. And there are safe ways to do that, but they can be a little pricey. I just would hate the thought of a fire.

    There are water dish heaters designed to work with metal water dishes. The directions say don't use it with an extension cord. There are swim pan heaters, too, the directions say you need a GFCI outlet or risk electrocution. In the deep of winter, the runners take splash baths in their water bucket in the morning, and I change the water twice - first fresh water they will bathe in, then an hour later I change it again for drinking the rest of the day. Yes, I dote on these animals. They are still healthy, still with us.

    There are some passive solar and passive geothermal things you can do - if you build, remember the coldest winds will likely be coming from the north. If you are in a special place, maybe a valley, you may have different prevailing winds than we do. Also up here, nor'easters can be ripping storms, so you want to be able to shield them from those north and northeast winds.

    I fenced across the top of the day pen due to concern about foxes.

    Yes, electric fence can get buried by snow. Either have some kind of overhang, or add that to the list of winter chores.
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    For winter cleaning, i take out what i can and add, sometimes it's so frozen you simply cannot remove it's the best you can do, any break in the weather sends me running to clean er chip out mess lol

    For water i love small heated buckets, of coarse that is only doable if you have electric otherwise.. the other things i do.. livestock rubber bowls, you can hammer the heck out of those to get out ice and this little blog find, it kept water open till -10C which helps..

    Beyond that my housing is well vented and well bedding, i don't heat, don't insulate. I don't have runners so Amiga will likely be the better source for their individual care. Good luck with the move!
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: