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Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Jea918, Jun 6, 2016.
Any feedback would be great!
Do you mean adult ducks or ducklings? Adult ducks with good feathers are fine in cold weather. I've read they are fine down to -40 but I don't know if that is true. Mine were fine is below zero temps. They have no trouble with snow or even almost freezing pond water. The thing to remember is that you should provide a spot where they can get out of the wind and you'll need to come up with a way to provide water in freezing temperatures. A covered run is nice so they don't have to be in the snow all the time.
Ducklings require supplemental heat until they get adult feathers. That's normally at 6-8 weeks depending. I personally wou;dn't want to rraise ducklings in winter but it might be different for those in warmer climates.
I meant ducks. This is my first time with a duck...I've read a few things, but I always have more questions. We have a great shelter that we made for our chickens for the winter...so I think she'll be fine.
Oh yeah I know what you mean. Sometimes it seems like the more you learn the more questions you think of. it never ends.
Hah! Isn't that the truth!
I'll toss in my two cents here - - -
When it comes to "ducks in winter" there are some variables that we don't always include in our answers.
Number of ducks
Their infrastructure - do they have constant access to a 40F barn? Are they in an unheated shed? How deep is the bedding?
A few of my Runners did not read the book that said they were fine even at 20F, and they started shivering, stopped laying, and were on the verge of miserable. Took a couple to the vet, who proclaimed them not so good at winter.
Moved the flock into the walkout basement that stays above 40F, and within 4 days, everyone was laying again, they were relaxed and content.
I asked someone who said their ducks were fine at 15F or so, and discovered that their shelter never got below 40F, and they could go into it any time - which they did.
My duck is mixed in with my hens....she will eventually sleep in the coop at night with them...what do you provide for your ducks for night?
The ducks are in a part of the walkout basement, it stays above 40F in there. I have a watering station so that the bedding stays pretty dry. I am working on some kind of feeding station, as well, since they now enjoy moistened feed from Country Life Organic. The bedding is pine shavings for the most part, with sawdust pellets in areas that get moist, like the entrance to the watering stations.
Good point Amiga about differences in breeds. For comparison, I have three Welsh Harlequin. I have a raised coop, it is insulated but not heated. The flooring is widely spaced boards with hardware cloth to cover gaps. (Did this to improve air flow.) The bedding is pine shavings. I know it gets below freezing in there because the water froze. My run is mostly covered and I cover part of the sides with clear tarps. The part under the roof and behind the tarps is noticeably warmer than outside that space. That being said the ducks only spent more time in that area when the rest was completely covered in deep snow. They never went back into their coop during the day. I never noticed any signs they were cold.
It might be harder for a single duck in winter. She won't really have anyone to huddle up with since the chickens would be roosting.
Last winter was my first with ducks. We only had 3 days of windchill up to -50 this year. A couple of winters ago we had weeks of it and crotch deep snow.
My hens only stayed in their shelters those 3 days of super cold temps. They slept outside in the snow, during the snow, foraged in the snow. And if couldn't make it outside early enough they'd break the ice on the bathing/drinking bowl before i got out there at 5:30 am.
They laid every day that winter except those three coldest days and the days directly after our bobcat/lynx attack.
I had four hens at the time and one insulated dogloo big enough for all of them and one XXL wooden shed type doghouse big enough for all of them to have their own nests. On the coldest days I lined the inside with foam insulators from a produce shipment and covered the outside with unfolded cardboard boxes because that was the house that was being used for laying. I actually made it too hot for them and the switched over to the dogloo.
The biggest thing for winter is to make sure they have enough calories to support their activities: laying/staying warm/etc. I was feeding almost 3x as much in the winter because they started laying in December and laid through the winter. I've read most hens stop laying over the winter and start again as soon as the daylight hours start increasing.
I also made sure i had dry, bedding covered areas so they could get off the snow/cold.
I also used straw bales to make a windbreak around their pen. The straw bales were almost taller than the ducks when their necks were fully stretched out. Blocking the wind seemed to help the most.
The best thing to do is make your best plan and also learn how your ducks look when they're not comfortable. If you see hunched shoulders or puffed feathers they might be cold. If you see them laying down or covering feet it might mean that the windchill is uncomfortable on their exposed skin.
Have a backup plan ready in case you get crazy cold temps or a 100 year blizzard. I was prepared to bring my ducks inside the basement/garage or keep them in the bathroom that they brooded in.
For you you'll probably want to invest in warm, WATERPROOF gloves for winter, a frost free hose, faucet insulator covers or frost free faucets, heated water buckets or solar powered heated bowls. The warm waterproof gloves were the biggest challenge for me. I tried many pairs before i found the right one for me.