Ducks in winter temps not grooming

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by goodenoughmama, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. goodenoughmama

    goodenoughmama New Egg

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    Hi, All! So so happy to have a place to go with duck issues. I have an elderly and mixed flock of Indian Runners and others. The temps here have been very cold. Food and water freezing, etc. My ducks are in a modestly insulated low-roofed coop with a light on a timer. They have fresh food and water twice a day at least. They also get used or loose hay from the goat and sheep bales for bedding. Just in the past two days they have become very dirty and seem to not be grooming. Their feathers look wet and/or dirty. One of them has what looks like a gunky eye. Could this have to do with the cold? Any chance they can get through this on their own? Any advice? I am hoping to avoid having to bring all 6 of them into the house for a bath and blow dry!
    Thanks,
    Michelle
     
  2. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Winter can make them not be their best, that said the gunky eye i would treat probably hay/dust/debris/ ...

    How cold is cold? you can get them some quick bathing water if it's not super cold.. if they are using it early in the day and then removed later on before night falls it'll reduce icing up and chill.

    Now you also mention elderly, how old? i think reduced grooming/preening as they age is not unreasonable.

    Why do they have a light?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  3. goodenoughmama

    goodenoughmama New Egg

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    Thanks so much for replying! To answer your questions:

    They do have light.

    The oldest is perhaps 8 and still laying, the youngest maybe 3 and still laying.

    Cold is very cold...which is why we haven't given them any bathing water. It has been in the single digits in the day and down to minus 12 at night. Today it warmed up to 20 but tonight and tomorrow it will be 11 and 0 at night and colder the next day. Perhaps warming dramatically to upper 30's on Sunday, but who knows??

    How would you treat the eye? I use a mild solution of warm water and Johnson's Baby Shampoo for my goats and it works really really well.

    Thanks again - so glad to have duck pals!

    MM
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I would put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per gallon of warm (80 degree F) water in a bucket and let them wash and splash in that.

    You might put a tarp and some sawdust down, put the bucket on that, then an hour later remove their washing station.

    I have a watering station in the night pen for my 5 year old Runners and Buffs. Works very well.

    This time of year, the first bucket of water in the morning is their bath water. It is their idea, not mine. So I let them bathe - sawdust pellets absorb loads of water - and then I replace the water again for drinking.
     
  5. goodenoughmama

    goodenoughmama New Egg

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    Excellent idea!!! Thank you so much...I will try that and let you know how it goes. Many many thanks!
     
  6. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    goodenoughmamma-we have the same temps here in Maine. It really does help to give them some very warm water in shallow bowls to wash faces, bathe, etc. They we dump them before they freeze. The black flexible feed pans work best, you can really stomp on them or bang them is ice does get in them.
    We use a birdbath heater in their swimming pool in the cold months. Some will use that and some just like to use the flat pans.
     
  7. goodenoughmama

    goodenoughmama New Egg

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    Another set of great ideas...I am eager to try this. It is so very cold here and windy that the thought of doing anything with water feels unbearable to this featherless humanoid, but I know ducks are waaaayyyy toughter!

    MM
     
  8. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I keep heated buckets here to ensure the big ducks can clean their nares and eyes, only if it's warmer like -10C or better do i put out bathing water otherwise i end up with an iced up duck in my house, i had a scovie lady by my electric fireplace the other night because she flew into my heated water trough for the ewes.

    It's a tough balance THOUGH i will say those mallard derived are something else most days i put water out for my calls to bathe in... they maybe small but boy they are tough little buggers.

    For the eye, i like polysporin ... the eye variety, it works on ducks.. and sheep lol er.. plus humans if that matters at all.
     

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