HELP!!! Freezing Ducks in the Colorado Weather - Literally!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by tylerhearn, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. tylerhearn

    tylerhearn Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all in the Duck world! My name is Tyler and I actually own chickens, but I browse this forum often as my friend owns ducks. We are both pretty new to the "poultry" world and he ran into a very scary problem this morning when checking on his ducks. It seems that one of their beaks was frozen shut from the very cold evening after getting out of the water. Also, all of them appeared skinny without fluffy feathers. Could they have gotten wet just before freezing and then couldn't dry off?!

    He is on his way to get a heater for his duck pool and is now wanting to get a heat lamp or some kind of heater for his hatch/house for them. When he got the ducks he was told that he wouldn't need to get any kind of heater for them at all, but now he is second guessing that based on this morning. It got down to about 15* last night after a blizzard yesterday morning of heavy wet snow.

    Any recommendations? Heat or no heat in the hatch? Also, is this common for ducks to "freeze"?

    Thanks for any advice, I know that my chicken knowledge doesn't help with these water fowl!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. GoldDogsMom

    GoldDogsMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    how old are the ducks and have they always been outside?
     
  3. tylerhearn

    tylerhearn Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 2, 2011
    Quote:Thanks for the reply! They are roughly 20 weeks and have all their adult feathers. They have always been outside, but he is now considering putting them in the garage on nights that it will get below freezing.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  4. GoldDogsMom

    GoldDogsMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last winter I had pekin ducks who had access to a small covered area with straw but they only went inside to eat. I dropped a stock tank heater into our small pond to keep an area thawed for them http://www.tractorsupply.com/livest...-floating-stock-tank-deicer-1250-watt-2170819 Cold didn't seem to bother them, loved seeing the prints in the snow! Unfortunately predators got them so I have built a duck house for new ducks to close them in at night.

    Back to your friend, I would recommend someplace for them to shelter from the cold as they need...and maybe consider shelter for safety from predators.
     
  5. tylerhearn

    tylerhearn Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 2, 2011
    Quote:The weird thing is that he has a little duck shelter built for them to go in with an open door so they can freely move in and out. Now with my chickens, they go into there hen house at night, I shut the door, and let them out in the morning. Is this something you'd recommend for the ducks as well, shutting them in at night when it is going to get below freezing, or do the ducks need access to water 24 hours?

    And thanks again for all the help! [​IMG]
     
  6. GoldDogsMom

    GoldDogsMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ducks will need trained to go in a "house" at night...and if your friend plans to put food in thier house they will need water as well. No food in house and they would be fine overnight with no water.
     
  7. tylerhearn

    tylerhearn Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 2, 2011
    Quote:Thanks again GoldDogsMom! I know that this information will help him very much!
     
  8. QuackerJackFarms

    QuackerJackFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would suggest shutting them in regardless of the temps. But I'm taking into consideration I don't know exactly what the enclosure looks like.
    They don't need water at night as long as there is no food in with them.

    Poor little ducky mouth!
     
  9. FarmrGirl

    FarmrGirl MooseMistress

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    Quote:2x. Food & Water isn't necessary for the ducks overnight and I would recommend that he doesn't keep the duck barn too warm at night, otherwise they'll have trouble adjusting to the cold during the day.

    Poor ducky with his beak frozen shut!! That's just so sad... [​IMG]

    I do composting-in-place for their bedding starting in the fall so that by the first really frozen days of winter the straw on the bottom has begun to compost a bit (I add a new layer of straw every few days until spring). The small amount of heat released from the composting action coupled with the warm bodies in the duckbarn help it to stay above freezing inside overnight. We don't have nearly as many below zero nights here in Maryland as you will in Colorado, but we certainly do get plenty. I don't provide any heating in the winter, just a few fans in the summer.

    I lock all the poultry inside overnight and make sure that while they have a healthy per-sq-foot space per bird that they don't have to try to keep too much barn warm with their bodies. The roof is only 4 feet high in the duck barn and the vents are at the very top so that they're not sitting in the breeze overnight.

    In the winter I do provide food and water inside the duck barn but that's because I have them locked up from about 7pm - 5am and I feel that giving them some grain with a bit of cracked corn mixed in will give them extra energy to keep their metabolism up for warmth. I ensure the waterer is not something they'll be able to bathe in... it's just for drinking. I make "waterer-unfreezers" out of cookie tins and a 40W light bulb then set the waterer on top of that. Doesn't keep it warm but keeps it above freezing.

    ETA: Here's what the DIY heater looks like in action:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  10. tylerhearn

    tylerhearn Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 2, 2011
    Quote:Yes, poor Duck! Thanks for the info. Good to know that they should be shut in to keep them warm just like chickens!

    Very much appreciate the advice!

    [​IMG]
     

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