Hatching ducks in the winter

Titantherooster

Chirping
Jul 9, 2020
78
59
91
This past spring was my first experience with chicks as we bought day old chicks and ducklings from TS and we raised inside he ducks for 4 weeks and the chicks for 6. The ducks went outside mid April and we had in an unheated “hut” with pine shavings and they thrived, still giving me eggs. Chicks also did well going out basically first of May.

What I’d like to know is what others experience is hatching their own ducklings/chicks and how soon they feel it is safe to put them outside in regards to temps? I would be willing to use a heat source of some kind, not a fan of the bulbs due to fire risk. Ducks are super messy so don’t want to have them inside more than 4 weeks but I think shielded from elements and possibly a bear source would this be something alone has experience with? I’d like to get as many hatchings in as possible. I welcome all feedback!
 

Duckee

Crowing
6 Years
Jun 11, 2014
845
1,050
251
Southern Illinois
I hatched ducklings in the winter once. I put in BUNCH of eggs because they had been frozen ( from my duck that liked to hide her eggs), because i wanted to test thawed eggs for viability. I really didnt think any would survive. The hatch rate was super high. Only a couple eggs failed. I had like 27 ducklings with about 75% of hatch was males! I was so shocked and overwhelmed.
I dont remember what age i put them outside, but i do remember the mess, odor, and saying " I will NEVER hatch ducklings in the winter again!" LOL
I couldnt find anyone interested in rehoming them until spring!
 

Titantherooster

Chirping
Jul 9, 2020
78
59
91
I hatched ducklings in the winter once. I put in BUNCH of eggs because they had been frozen ( from my duck that liked to hide her eggs), because i wanted to test thawed eggs for viability. I really didnt think any would survive. The hatch rate was super high. Only a couple eggs failed. I had like 27 ducklings with about 75% of hatch was males! I was so shocked and overwhelmed.
I dont remember what age i put them outside, but i do remember the mess, odor, and saying " I will NEVER hatch ducklings in the winter again!" LOL
I couldnt find anyone interested in rehoming them until spring!
Glad to hear hear of the success! I plan on really building out my flock with all different breeds. I’ll harvest most of the males and those whose temperament isn’t a great fit. Hoping I can get away with them being out around week 4 in early March.
 

MissMonty

Songster
5 Years
Sep 12, 2015
497
986
186
Dayton, OH
I think it really depends on where you are and your set up. Hatching in the winter in the south isn't really a big deal where as hatching in the winter here in Ohio would just be a pain in the neck. Generally you want to acclimate them to the cold out of the brooder pretty slowly even in the warmer months.

It'll be a lot longer than 4 weeks before you could have them out without a heat source. So by the time I'd even feel comfortable having them in a secure wind proof pin outside it'd be way longer than that. I'd probably wait to start hatching until late jan at the earliest. Then you'll have temps coming back up as they are getting to the age of being able to go out. For me I'd wait even longer
 

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