First Winter with Ducks

BReeder!

Crossing the Road
Mar 12, 2018
3,685
17,048
812
Plainfield, IL
My Coop
My Coop
We have chickens, turkeys, quail and ducks. I know the chickens and turkeys will hold up fine in the winter here in Illinois. The quail are going to be housed in cages in our heated garage. I have not yet figured out what to do for the ducks over winter. We currently have 5 ducks, 4 Rouens and 1 Pekin. They have a small duck house that is 4'x4' sectioned off in our coop/shed. We could easily slide a door open and give them access to the rest of the coop floor (10'x4') or even into the rest of the shed (10'x12' total). They have a run with a large pond that will mostly freeze over in the winter. I could keep the water circulating to prevent freezing except for the coldest nights, but I would like to save the cost of running the pump all winter if possible. If I give the ducks access to the entire coop they will have to mingle with the chickens (8) and turkeys (4), but they would also gain access to our chicken run, which is over 250 sqft (perhaps over 300 sqft even), but has no pond. I could add a heated dog or horse water bowl large enough for the ducks to dip their heads/bills though. The coop is not heated but stays warmer than outside thanks to the body heat from the birds.

My questions:
Is it OK to leave the ducks in their run and duck house (sectioned off in our coop) with a pond that will freeze over?
If I close off the duck run/pond, and let them have access to the dry run with the chickens and turkeys, is a heated water bowl/pan sufficient for the ducks?
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,533
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
When you say large pond, I have no clue what size that is, an acre? bigger? a 100 gallon pre-fab garden water feature thing?

I'm not sure it matters. Ducks will use swimming water in the winter if they have it, even if it's freezing.

There are people who have had problems with a duck out on a pond and getting frozen in place, but I'm not sure how common this really is.

I give my ducks a bucket of water in the winter, the same bucket they get in the summer. Deep enough to dunk their heads, but not so big that they climb in. I like my 3 gallon bucket (personal preference). Ducks play and dunk in the water so much that they are constantly breaking the surface ice. It rarely freezes solid during the day. I have a second bucket, once a day I *may* swap the frozen bucket in the run for the thawed bucket. Remove the water overnight. It will freeze overnight usually. I live in the mountains where it can freeze any night of the year. We have long harsh winters. I speak from experience when I say the duck water rarely freezes in its entirety (the chicken water freezes often). It's a bigger container (so takes longer to freeze solid) and the ducks are constantly dunking and dabbling in it.

I choose to only give swimming/bathing water on occasion based on weather in winter.
 

chickens really

Crazy Mother of Goats
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 8, 2015
62,662
109,112
1,647
The Funny Farm....Alberta, Canada
I use rubber livestock bowls for water and in winter I water my Ducks twice a day. Mine only swim weather permitting on warmer winter days I'll fill the kiddie pool and let them clean up.
I wrap my Run in vapour barrier plastic to block out wind and on sunny days it holds in heat. My Call Ducks sleep in a dog house and I will run a heat lamp in a corner of the Run that's protected when temps really plunge low..
 

BReeder!

Crossing the Road
Mar 12, 2018
3,685
17,048
812
Plainfield, IL
My Coop
My Coop
When you say large pond, I have no clue what size that is, an acre? bigger? a 100 gallon pre-fab garden water feature thing?

I'm not sure it matters. Ducks will use swimming water in the winter if they have it, even if it's freezing.

There are people who have had problems with a duck out on a pond and getting frozen in place, but I'm not sure how common this really is.

I give my ducks a bucket of water in the winter, the same bucket they get in the summer. Deep enough to dunk their heads, but not so big that they climb in. I like my 3 gallon bucket (personal preference). Ducks play and dunk in the water so much that they are constantly breaking the surface ice. It rarely freezes solid during the day. I have a second bucket, once a day I *may* swap the frozen bucket in the run for the thawed bucket. Remove the water overnight. It will freeze overnight usually. I live in the mountains where it can freeze any night of the year. We have long harsh winters. I speak from experience when I say the duck water rarely freezes in its entirety (the chicken water freezes often). It's a bigger container (so takes longer to freeze solid) and the ducks are constantly dunking and dabbling in it.

I choose to only give swimming/bathing water on occasion based on weather in winter.
1500 gallon pond. Large to me, but certainly doesn't compare to a real natural pond. It's 5'x10' on the surface and 4' deep.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,533
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
hmm... I'd be more worried about properly winterizing it so that nothing is damaged since it's man-made. Maybe partially draining it is in order? I don't really see a problem with the ducks having access to a pond in winter, frozen or not.
 

BReeder!

Crossing the Road
Mar 12, 2018
3,685
17,048
812
Plainfield, IL
My Coop
My Coop
hmm... I'd be more worried about properly winterizing it so that nothing is damaged since it's man-made. Maybe partially draining it is in order? I don't really see a problem with the ducks having access to a pond in winter, frozen or not.
It's not the first winter with the pond, just with the ducks. We built the pond last year as an ornamental fish pond for koi and goldfish and then decided this year to get ducks and turn the pond area into a duck run. I also had a fish pond at our last house. I intend to remove the pump and drop a 12" floating dome with a small heater built in to keep a hole in the ice for air exchange. That's really all it takes. I would really like to cover the whole run in clear plastic like a mocked up greenhouse for the winter, but we don't have the funds this year to do that.
 

lomine

Crowing
5 Years
Aug 7, 2015
2,885
3,039
376
Peyton, CO
My worry with allowing them swimming water all winter is the introduction of moisture to the coop. The biggest factor with frostbite is moisture. Kind of sounds like the duck and chicken area is somewhat connected so it could make the chickens and turkeys more susceptible to frostbite. And yes, ducks can also get frostbite.

If it were me, I would block access or cover the pond. I give my ducks buckets for keeping their eyes and nares clean. Swimming water is provided on warmer winter days in large tubs that can easily be emptied.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom