Ducks in wintertime

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by hockeygirl56, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. hockeygirl56

    hockeygirl56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2011
    Allenton, MI
    Hi! I am thinking of adding ducks at my house, and I am trying to figure out the housing that I need to set up for them. I currently have chickens, and I plan on adding another run onto the back of the chicken coop/shed for the ducks, and possibly putting a door between the chicken run and duck run so they can have a larger space to all be together if they get along. Anyway...my main question is how to approach housing in the wintertime. I live in Michigan, and it can get pretty cold and snowy (this winter has been down to negative 20s with windchill). I see that a lot of people just have a big run with a doghouse or some sort of little shelter set up in the run. Is that adequate for my area in the wintertime? Do ducks like to be out in the snow, b/c my chickens want nothing to do with it! My other option is to fence off part of the storage part of the shed and make that a house for them, and have a door going from that into the run. It would be nice to not have to give up any of my storage area if I can help it though. What is the best choice for the ducks in winters like we have? Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

  3. hockeygirl56

    hockeygirl56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2011
    Allenton, MI
    This winter, it has gotten down to I think -15 at the lowest according to my car, without windchill. This winter is unseasonably cold, but I want to be prepared in case there are more winters this cold in the future. My chickens are in a lean-to off the shed, and that is insulated (other than the outside door and windows), and it generally maintains about 20 in there, but has gotten down to 15 when it's really cold. So I could keep the temperature like that in the wintertime for the ducks if I keep them inside the shed, but not if they are in the outside run with a little house out there. I'm also concerned about how much snow they can handle, being that this year, we have gotten snow that has been to my knees at times. And if I do have their housing in the shed, are they going to go outside during the winter? If not, I need to look into figuring out a way to make their housing bigger to avoid wintertime boredom I would think.

    Another concern I have is safety - even though my runs are always proofed (wire fencing all the way around and on top, with hardware cloth on the bottom half to stop little arms from reaching through, plus the wire fencing running about 1' around the perimeter of the run below ground to stop from digging under). I still always feel better having the chickens locked up inside at night where I know no one will get in. But from what I read, ducks prefer to stay outside and might not be happy about being locked up.

    Sorry I have so many questions, but I want to make sure I'm prepared before I take on any ducks...I want to make sure they stay happy and healthy with whatever setup I end up going with!
     
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    This is actually my first winter with ducks (muscovy). The lady I got them from is local, and has some regular ducks too. (Appleyard, or Saxony.... DK)

    She keeps her ducks in the same run with the chickens. Her coop is insulated, and she has a box added on to one side of the coop. One wall of the box is the coop, it has a little roof, and then two short walls. So, the big long wall is completely open. It is maybe two feet tall, two feet deep and six feet long. It is the long six foot side that is open.


    Her ducks prefer to sleep in that little box.

    Where we are gets lots and lots of snow 2 to 12 feet, but we don't usually go below 0. In the tens is typical. We get oodles of wind chill though. Last weekend we had gusts up to 100 mph.

    Her place is in a bit of a dip, with good spruce tree cover. I am on a bluff, so the wind hits me hard.

    This winter, as shown on my coop page, i had to lock up my ducks, and they do spend most of their time inside their coop, not out in their very tiny fenced deck area.

    However, the snow doesn't seem to bother them, just my wind.
     
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Generally i prefer a coop/barn, building why? so much easier to pred proof pens are hard... and expensive to do so. Also breed matters with this, i am not new to ducks or winters but have found my mallard derived are more winter hardy than my Muscovy, for instance my calls swim in almost every temperature... brrrr the scovies in brutal cold days i won't even let out.

    It's funny my ducks all reach a point where they will take shelter, i upgraded my call pen recently to have a doghouse because their coop is not attached to the pen... now they even have shelter and are starting to use it too, so while ducks are quite hardy and will remain out in some ugly weather i do feel given choices many will take to it in very extremes ...

    I think this will fall to what works for you, shelter is a MUST but how you go about that is personal, pred proof, well vented and keeping access to clean all important features that all need but beyond that again variable.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2014
  6. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I like your shelf, i have one in the main scovie barn.. mine all just leap up to it.. maybe a bit shorter than yours perhaps. Have to measure.
     
  7. hockeygirl56

    hockeygirl56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2011
    Allenton, MI
    I considered putting them in with the chickens, but I keep hearing about how that's more work because they make such a mess of the water, and sometimes the chickens end up without any water b/c of the ducks. My chickens have a lot of room in their coop, but they still have issues with each other so I'm afraid to take away any space from them. My husband said I can put the wheelbarrow and rototiller in his barn (which I always hear about how my stuff has to stay in my barn), so that'll free up some room to make a little area for the ducks in the shed. My thought is to make an area for them in there, and make the run behind. I think I want them to have separate outside areas so that the ducks can have a decent swimming pool and not have to worry about the chickens drowning. Now, what I could do potentially is cut a little pop door between the chicken area and the ducks, and in the wintertime let them go in between to have more room as long as everyone gets along. If I put a little swimming bowl in the duck side in the wintertime, will they still mess with the chickens water on their side? If not, that would keep the mess on the duck side and allow the chickens to stay clean and dry.
     
  8. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    If you elevate the chicken feed and water, most ducks won't be able to get to it.


    You can always try having them together, and then shift stuff around if you don't like it.
     
  9. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake


    Thanks! :D

    Early fall I had a good sturdy log there, as a step. I kept trying to get them to jump on that log, with treats, but they wouldn't do it. I think it was too tall though.....I rather think that I need to get two logs..... But I had trouble finding two logs of the right height and diameter and then gave up and went on to other things.

    My muscovy have clipped wings..... Maybe that is why they can't jump that heigh?
     
  10. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    7,538
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    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Could be, none of mine are. I checked my shelf it's a good 2ft for sure.. didn't measure to busy trying to clean up the frozen droppings lol
     

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