getting ready for winter


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 25, 2009
I have 2 call ducks and 5 chickens,

I know what I need to do for the chickens (Thanks to this forum) now I need to know what to do for our ducks...

what about swimming water, do you just not have it during the winter
(we live in MI-up north) so we will have snow...

they share a coop with the chickens...

Thank you Donna B
Bird bath heaters work great for duck pools, just make sure to get the kind that doesn't get too hot for them to touch. The heaters for horse buckets generally get too hot to be safe.
Heated dog bowls work great for their water dish, we put ours in a larger rubber feed bowl.
I also have heated coop bowls for the rabbits in winter because the balls on the tube waters freeze up immediately.
I've been fretting about this, also.

If you use the heated dog water dish, don't they try to sit in it and splash all the water out? Then it'd be an ice skating rink. Or do you just offer them this little "bath" in the bigger rubber fedder/dish and then take it away and dump it before it freezes?

I have a horse water bucket on the ground that they seem to like to drink out of (when passing thru the aisle of the barn. I was going to see about using a heated one for them for the winter. They can get their bill and head in but it's too tall to climb into so they wouldn't splash so much.

In Jan/Feb even the pony poop and pee is frozen solid most days (Wisconsin). Any water on the ground around the duck pen will just turn into a small glacier.

Anyone have any other ideas? Is it okay to just offer them a small dunk tank of water once or twice a week for a full bath, or do they not even need this (as long as they can dip their bill and head into clean water for drinking/preening)?
Heated dog bowls work great for their water dish, we put ours in a larger rubber feed bowl.

Ooh, I like this idea, THANKS! We used the heated dog bowls last year but still water all over the floor. I have a few of the large rubber bowls already so will try this out.​
Question: I know they need drinking water but do they really need swimming water?
I live in Michigan and have to deal with long periods of freezing temps as well.
Call Ducks being small might need extra protection from extreme temps but even they have ducky down jackets and they do benefit from being able to get into water and bathe a few times a week.
You might not even need to provide them with heated water but you should ask some people experienced with Call Ducks about that.
To avoid the heated water situation you could consider just offering them a container of cold water to bathe in while you're doing chores as an example, then just take it away when you're done or later in the day if you can go out again.
They don't need bathing water in front of them constantly.
My white Sebastopol Geese stay sparkling clean all winter by bathing just a few times a week.
They love going in the water even when its freezing cold out but they do have shelter to warm up in as needed.
Also worth mentioning is providing plenty of food to help them stay warm.
Add some cracked corn or scratch feed to their regular feed during the winter months for extra energy but not too much since waterfowl can get fat which leads to fertility problems if you feed them too much corn.
They should also be allowed out on balmy winter days
to sun themselves.
My chickens don't like to go out much during the winter, but ducks and geese don't like being cooped up and like going out.
I shovel out the snow to provide them an area to go out in.
You might want to read my raising waterfowl tip page
on my website.
Happy Winter! (ugh!)

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