How can you tell when ducks are cold?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by needlessjunk, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. needlessjunk

    needlessjunk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I'm starting to wonder what are the signs of a cold duck? I don't think mine are cold in the least and they are sleeping in their pool right now. But I have no idea what to be on the lookout for this winter. It is suppose to hit freezing tonight and the next night so I'm sure they are fine but if this winter was like last we will be seeing lots of 20's for the low maybe a few teens. My ducks have yet to ever go in their house before nightfall.
     
  2. Onlyducks

    Onlyducks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do have my muscovies in a greenhouse right now, but it's −2F right now (-15 to −25F over night) and there have been wind chill warnings. As soon as the temperature goes above 15 degrees or so, they will go back to their pen. I have to add some wind protection yet and they should be fine. When we had ducks in Iowa, they never had heat. The only problem we had was the mallard hen would sit in the water dish until it froze and we would have to pour warm water on the dish to get her out. (She never learned not to repeat the action.) The reason I herded mine into the greenhouse was (1) the temperature went from being 60F to 15F in about 5 hours or less. The weather had been unseasonably warm and they had not been able to adjust and (2) they seemed to have very cold feet, limping and falling down when I tried to herd them into the greenhouse. My hubby had to come home and help me herd them as they did not want to go in.

    A coworker of my husband has geese and they are out wondering around and ignoring their house happy as be! It was −25F last night.
     
  3. TracyLovesDucks

    TracyLovesDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Same situation here, Onlyducks. The cold came sweeping in within hours. My little runners were not prepared at all after the unusually warm fall we've had. Dropped from 60 to 20-something degrees F in a few hours. Then down to zero that night. Now it's been below 15 degrees F for a few days.

    You can definitely tell when they are cold. You will notice them trying very hard to keep their feet warm, so they'll only stand for a few seconds at a time, and plop down on their bellies as much as possible to tuck their legs and feet under their wings. It makes it hard for them to walk. My theory is they are torn between walking to get around and laying down to stay warm, so they stumble. In addition to stumbling/limping, my ducks are actually shivering.

    Also, you can tell by feed consumption. It takes a lot of feed to keep them warm enough in very cold weather.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
  4. Onlyducks

    Onlyducks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tracy: I didn't realize the plopping down and huddling was due to cold, though now that you explained it, it makes sense. Mine did not want to herded, so I guess I took the sitting as being stubborn. How wrong I was! Mine seem okay inside the greenhouse and their food consumption is about normal.

    (I see you're in northern Colorado. I'm in central Wyoming.)
     
  5. needlessjunk

    needlessjunk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Round Rock, TX
    Mine have really picked up in their food intake and we went from a low of 60 on Monday to a low of 33 last night. Dang cold fronts we get them all the way down in TX but they aren't nearly as bad as y'all in the north. They have been talking up a storm but that's about it that's different. Good to know about them sitting.
     
  6. TracyLovesDucks

    TracyLovesDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wyoming and Texas, both beautiful states :)

    I always take talking as a good sign... so much more comforting than silence to a concerned duck parent.

    33 sure does sound nice right now, haha! We're expecting -10F tonight. Hope my ducks can hang in there. I do have a heat lamp on them because it got so cold so fast, but it's really only helping a little. I'm actually considering putting another one in there. I know it's a no-no and can prevent acclimation to cold weather and is a fire hazard if the set up is not perfect and so on and so on, but my ducks are definitely in need of it right now no doubt about that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
  7. Onlyducks

    Onlyducks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tracy—If you are home much of the time, it shouldn't be a problem. The one reason I have avoided adding heat is that if the power goes out, the ducks are in real trouble. We do have frequent power outages here, especially when it's really cold. Usually it's in the late evening when I really don't want to trapse out to the ducks and figure out how to get them warm. However, if your ducks are cold, you have do something. It was a brutal change. I'm lucky that I have the greenhouse, where it's dry and windless, otherwise I don't know what I would have done.
     
  8. TracyLovesDucks

    TracyLovesDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, I totally understand. But that's practically what Mother Nature did the last couple of days. So I'm just trying to lessen the damage that her power outage has caused. I was planning to use absolutely no heat all winter because I have the same concerns as you. The heat lamp is really just a temporary thing (I hope!). And it's still super cold with the lamp, so I don't think it's going to effect their ability to acclimate... it's just helping them transition a little bit (and giving me some peace of mind). It seems that runners can be more sensitive to cold than other breeds, too. I've noticed one of my drakes has really dropped some weight, and with all the shivering I decided some extra heat is the way I'll go until the weather turns around in a few days. This cold front was just real nasty, and came on all of a sudden.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
  9. DuckPan

    DuckPan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm getting really worried about my ducks they are just sitting in their pond and it is 18F I can't put a heat lamp because the pen is to far away from a outlet. I don't have a house for the ducks it is just wood blocks stacked up and held down with a table it can fit most of the ducks but they have never gone into it. What do I do?
     
  10. Onlyducks

    Onlyducks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I totally agree with you. My ducks will come out of the greenhouse in about three days when it's forecast to get into the upper thirties. The greenhouse is below freezing (they have a heated dog dish for water and I hadn't plugged it in Monday morning and it had ice), so they are getting acclimated. Sometimes we do have to step in and add heat or lose the ducks. I actually saw a rancher in Montana on the news last night who took a newborn calf in the house because it was so cold. I would bet few us are philosophical enough to "let mother nature take its course" when things get really bad. I don't want to have to replace my ducks, which is why I am trying to winter them over. So if they stay in the greenhouse a week, so be it. If they need heat occasionally, so be it.
     

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