First Winter with Ducks...I need your knowledge!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by LilDucky85, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. LilDucky85

    LilDucky85 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2009
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    This will be my first Winter with my 6 ducks. I live in Illinois and it usually gets up to a few degrees below zero. I've heard conflicting information on how to weatherproof them so I'm a little confused. I've heard to use a heat lamp in the Winter, but then I've heard not to because it messes up their molting patterns and can cause them to molt their Winter feathers in the middle of Winter. I've heard from one person to use a heated water bowl, but then I've heard someone else say not to.

    I want to know facts, and what to do! Please share every detail you know!

    Here is my duck house....
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    Last edited: Oct 15, 2009
  2. MakNat

    MakNat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great house!! No lamp!! If all those ducks in the pic will be living together, they will keep each other warm. Change the bedding often so there feet don't freeze!! Anything from straw, hay, shavings, whatever is cheap and easy to get. And just don't let there water freeze!! They will play in it at freezing temps when we think there are Nuts!!! Hope this helps! Ducks are pretty easy keepers!!! Extra corn will raise there body temps from the inside!
     
  3. LilDucky85

    LilDucky85 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2009
    Northern, Illinois
    Thank you!

    Yup they will all be living together. Someone told me to use something called the deep layer method? They said dont change the bedding becaues it will be too cold to anyway, but just layer more hay on top of the dirty hay. They also said make sure to get out there and clean it before things start to heat up or it will stink! Is this okay to do because I cant imagine me cleaning duck poo in knee high snow!
     
  4. LilDucky85

    LilDucky85 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, I will be putting a clear tarp or plastic of some sort over the run so that it doesn't get buried with snow.

    I was wondering if they can eat cracked corn? The guy at the feed store said some people only feed that to their ducks but I cant imagine it going down smoothly.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2009
  5. nettie

    nettie Enslaved by Indoor Ducks

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    cracked corn is fine... as long as they have access to water, just like with any other food. as a note, just so you know, it might make your white ducks turn an off white color in their feathers... for some reason corn does this to white colored ducks. lol. my fawn and white runner is more fawn and cream colored. lol

    they will also greatly appreciate thawed frozen corn thrown to them in winter as well. the extra carbs help them stay warm. you have more than en0ugh ducks for them to keep warm. if it gets ridiculously cold, which i know it can (i'm in chicago), you can always try geeting them some disposable hand warmers from walmart. they;re the kind you open up and shake... they stay warm up tp 1o hours... you could throw a couple of those in your bedding, or put some in an old pillow case so they can snuggle up to it if it gets too cold. just don't let them eat/rip open the hand warmers (hence the pillow case).
     
  6. erthymom2

    erthymom2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i love your pond picture . we took down our pool this fall and i wanted to do pond but didn't have any idea how to design it - now i do!!

    BTW . we used a dog igloo house and lots of straw for our ducks last winter. around their pen we stacked two rows of hay to block wind and covered the top of their pen w/ plastic tarp to keep snow & rain out. it worked nicely .those dummy's many times were out walking in the 4 inches of snow digging with thier bills for treats!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2009
  7. ohiofarmgirl

    ohiofarmgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 22, 2009
    here's my $0.02...

    first - they will be fine, all of them snuggled together will be just fine!

    i wouldnt use the "deep litter method" b/c you have a smaller house for them without a dirt floor. this method DOES work - but it didnt work with my ducks b/c they are so wet and it tends to freeze. also b/c the floor of the house isnt dirt it wont compost as is should for really effective "deep litter"-ing. and it will probably start to rot your nice floor.

    MakNat is right - keep them dry dry dry by changing the litter or you can go a couple days with letting it pile up and adding fresh on top.

    corn is a great way to keep them warm. our ducks are mostly free rangers and they get mostly corn and very little bagged food...corn cranks up the heat for animals and helps them deal with the weather. its best to feed "little and often" - to keep them going all day and give them something to do, instead of one big feeding.

    if you have concerns about how warm your lovely duck house is - get some straw bales and stack them on the outside to insulate it even more from the cold and wind. this works GREAT and you'll have a lot of compost/mulch in the spring for your garden. the night we had out -30* we had stacked the wind-facing wall for our hen house and it was warm and toasty...they didnt even notice the cold.

    we are in ohio and have the cold cold cold like you do - our ducks did great last winter.

    good luck!
     
  8. L0rraine

    L0rraine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great little house! They should be fine (with everyone else's suggestions).

    Mine were pretty spoiled last year with an indoor run and heat lamp, but my understanding is that they do great in 'fowl' weather especially when there are sooo many to keep each other warm, so unless one of mine is looking fragile again, I'm hoping that a couple of houses and lots of clean straw will keep them happy. Of course in the Pacific NW things are more wet than they are cold (except last year when you would have thought we lived in the NE here).

    I hadn't realized that the corn was a big help - so thanks for that info 'MakNat'!
     
  9. LilDucky85

    LilDucky85 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northern, Illinois
    Thank you everyone! You've been a huge help!

    I'm glad I helped you with the pond erthymom2! My Dad came up with this design on his own, but there are tons of great ponds online too. My pond is actually like 4 feet deep or more. My friends 8 year old son actually fell in it when taking a picture with his family on the 4th of July. He disappeared...I mean he was there one minute then totally gone the next. He backed up too far and fell over the ledge. We heard a splash then his Mom looked back and pulled him out. We made it deep so that the Raccoons didn't eat the fish, frogs, or turtles. lol Never expected anyone to go swimming in it! The ducks love it because they zoom underwater and across the pond. If only they would use their large pond/small lake!!

    My floor is lined with tile, and its a tray that pulls out. Under there is the actual wood floor. I really dont want to change poop in below zero weather! Any other ideas??
     
  10. smurfboe

    smurfboe Out Of The Brooder

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    It's my first winter as well. But I just have to say it's a darn good thing my four don't see your hous and pen because they may come to live with you.
     

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