Ducks - Pool Time in the Winter

Crystal K

In the Brooder
Dec 1, 2020
17
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Hi!

(Note I live in Massachusetts - the past couple of days have been in the low 30s and in the 20’s at night))

My ducks absolutely LOVE their pool. I am able to keep it from freezing with a heater at night when needed BUT never during the day to keep them safe). I read this article that says do not provide them with a pool in the winter time because they love swimming but do not know enough to get out. When they do get out it’s too cold for them to dry off. The water is in between their many layers of feathers and freeze a bit. There is risk of them getting too cold and they will get a chill and get sick and possibly die.

Here’s the article: https://simplelivingcountrygal.com/winter-duck-care-checklist/

I think I am going to take it out and only bring it out on warmers days. I’ll provide them with a rubber deeper bucket for them to dunk their heads in. The other problem is they play in the pool so much that water spills out everywhere. They dig huge holes right by the pool and the holes fill up with water and then there’s deep muddy holes that they LOVE! Then those freeze. I think they are getting too much water then I have frozen ice everywhere.

Please read the article. What do you think? Any advice would be wonderful.

Thank you,
CK
 

Gkundern

In the Brooder
Jul 12, 2020
60
43
46
This is a hard question to get an answer to. I still have my pool out, but it's been mostly above 30f during the day. I still don't know when I will cut out the swimming. I had one person say 0f but most people say they don't need to swim.

I know they don't "need" to swim. But I know they are happiest when they can swim so I want to let them as long as I can.
 
Nov 20, 2018
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Our ducks get a pool almost every day in the winter and we are in northern Maine. Its an old turtle sandbox that I bring in the cellar every day when they go in for the night, its big enough for 4 or 5 at a time and like yours they love it. Single degree (F) days they will keep the pool open several hours before I bang out the ice and bring it in. We keep an area of woodchips on the ground so they can get off the ice and they are in and out of their coop all day. Done it this way for years and have not had any frostbite issues.
 

Gkundern

In the Brooder
Jul 12, 2020
60
43
46
Our ducks get a pool almost every day in the winter and we are in northern Maine. Its an old turtle sandbox that I bring in the cellar every day when they go in for the night, its big enough for 4 or 5 at a time and like yours they love it. Single degree (F) days they will keep the pool open several hours before I bang out the ice and bring it in. We keep an area of woodchips on the ground so they can get off the ice and they are in and out of their coop all day. Done it this way for years and have not had any frostbite issues.

How cold does it get there?
 
Nov 20, 2018
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It will usually hit -30 or so a couple times a year but I have a picture from 10 yrs ago of -45. I dont let the ducks outside until its close to -5 so a lot of mornings i have to slip some food and water into their house and they dont get much outside time on days like those. As long as temps are 5 above i give em a pool and they get 3 or 4 hours use out of it before i have to bring it in. Our property slopes away so ice buildup isnt a problem but by the end of winter i do have to raise the fence in their run area where i dont shovel.
 

Gkundern

In the Brooder
Jul 12, 2020
60
43
46
It will usually hit -30 or so a couple times a year but I have a picture from 10 yrs ago of -45. I dont let the ducks outside until its close to -5 so a lot of mornings i have to slip some food and water into their house and they dont get much outside time on days like those. As long as temps are 5 above i give em a pool and they get 3 or 4 hours use out of it before i have to bring it in. Our property slopes away so ice buildup isnt a problem but by the end of winter i do have to raise the fence in their run area where i dont shovel.

Thank you for the info! It gets that cold here at times too, so it is very helpful. I have a covered run with straw on the ground, and a 60 gallon stock tank with a deicer. It's been really warm here lately, 30-35f so I've not worried about it much yet. I do plan on getting some plywood I can toss over the tank if it gets too cold.

I hadn't considered that it might get too cold to even let them outside 😬
 
May 13, 2018
1,065
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Vermont
I’m in northern Vermont, and this is my preferred winter “pool”. It’s a cement mixing bowl from Lowe’s, and it’s easy to fill using a bucket and easy to dump.

061DD76B-ED4A-4762-97F6-D58D8C52AE71.jpeg


My ducks are a bit wimpier than some of the others on here, maybe because two are Muscovies who naturally live in warmer climates. Anyways, there are days that they prefer to stay in the barn, but I make sure that they bathe at least several times per week if not daily to keep them healthy and happy. My white Muscovy, in particular, needs to bathe as often as possible through the winter to keep her feathers water proof.

Edited to add: it often gets to -18 degrees Fahrenheit or so in Januaryand February. I don’t allow them to bathe when it is this cold. However, they have made the “poor life decision” to bathe in their drinking water when it has been close to that temperature and ended up ok, although the Muscovies had to preen the icicles off of themselves!🥶
 
Last edited:

Gkundern

In the Brooder
Jul 12, 2020
60
43
46
Thanks!
I’m in northern Vermont, and this is my preferred winter “pool”. It’s a cement mixing bowl from Lowe’s, and it’s easy to fill using a bucket and easy to dump.

View attachment 2442021

My ducks are a bit wimpier than some of the others on here, maybe because two are Muscovies who naturally live in warmer climates. Anyways, there are days that they prefer to stay in the barn, but I make sure that they bathe at least several times per week if not daily to keep them healthy and happy. My white Muscovy, in particular, needs to bathe as often as possible through the winter to keep her feathers water proof.

Edited to add: it often gets to -18 degrees Fahrenheit or so in Januaryand February. I don’t allow them to bathe when it is this cold. However, they have made the “poor life decision” to bathe in their drinking water when it has been close to that temperature and ended up ok, although the Muscovies had to preen the icicles off of themselves!🥶

Thanks! Whats the coldest you do let them swim?
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jul 26, 2008
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1,462
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
My Coop
I have had ducks freeze themselves to the ground.

They splashed the water out of their pool, which then made a thick ice sheet around the pool... and then their feet froze to the ice.

I know of other people up here who have had similar issues. One lady, her duck got out of the pool, and the water froze on the feathers.

Anyway... so I started only having bathing water out at 20F or warmer.

The rest of the time they get a deep narrow topped pot so that they can NOT climb in, but can dunk their heads.
 
May 13, 2018
1,065
3,437
436
Vermont
Thanks!


Thanks! Whats the coldest you do let them swim?

I want to say about 15 degrees or so? It does vary though. If it is really windy, I won’t encourage it, and if there is a long string of horrible days with a brief reprieve (that is still really cold, but better than it was), then I will likely let them have a bath.
 

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