How often do ducks need water to swim in?

Viking84

Chirping
Mar 18, 2019
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We are getting ducks and geese later this spring, and although they will have access to drinking water, I do not have a pool in the coop/run they will be sharing with the chickens. We usually let the chickens out every afternoon when I get home from work to free range for a few hours before dark. I can have a swimming pool for the ducks outside the coop/run for them to swim in at that time. But is that long enough? And if they do not get let out for a couple days straight, and only have access to drinking water, will that be a problem?
 

Viking84

Chirping
Mar 18, 2019
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They need to have enough water in a bucket or whatever you've got to dunk their whole head in so you should be ok.
They wont be able to dunk their head in the drinking water container I have for the chickens. If I just put a regular bucket of water inside the coop, , will that be okay if they are able to get outside into the pool 4-5 times each week for a few hours each time?
 

DuckyDonna

Free Ranging
Aug 26, 2018
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Dallas, Georgia
They wont be able to dunk their head in the drinking water container I have for the chickens. If I just put a regular bucket of water inside the coop, , will that be okay if they are able to get outside into the pool 4-5 times each week for a few hours each time?
I just use laundry soap buckets and replace the water every day and they get their whole heads and necks in them. They are all runners and have real long necks too. I swear sometimes they stick so much of their heads and necks in I think I'm going to see their little legs sticking straight up in the air!
 

Viking84

Chirping
Mar 18, 2019
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Can you not put a smallish kiddie pool in the run with the chickens? How many ducks are you getting? Also, what is your location?

I know nothing about geese but @Miss Lydia does and she knows all about ducks, chickens and geese all together!
Getting 2-3 geese and 3-4 ducks. Live in South Georgia where it was 72 degrees today. Coop/run is too small for any size pool. But since they will be let out for a few hours 4-5 times a week, I am digging a small pond, about 10x10 feet that will have fresh water running into it for about 30 minutes every day. (I have a water hose on a timer) Want to try to keep the coop/run clean and dry for chickens,turkeys,ducks,geese etc.. to eat and sleep and have nesting boxes. Dont want to have to wade thru muddy water to clean out the coop. May eventually try to run a fence around the pond and connect it to the coop, which would solve everything. But just concerned for the short term of next 6 months with not having 24/7 access to swimming water.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Premium member
Mar 11, 2017
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Any time they have food they need water deep enough they can dunk their heads. This has to do more with the way they eat than it has to do with bathing/swimming. If your chicken water container does not allow this, they will need another container. A bucket works just fine.

They do not need to swim every day. The do not actually need to swim, though they love it and their feathers will be in much better condition if they can. I switched my setup last summer so the pool is not in their main run and things stay so much cleaner longer and don't get as swampy. I find this works well for me.

It's hit or miss whether or not all different type of fowl will get along, you'll have to see how it goes and introduce each species slowly. Have backup plans in place, a gander or a tom can outweigh a chicken or small duck by a lot and can certainly cause injury.
 

DuckyDonna

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Aug 26, 2018
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My run is a total mud pit right now. It's not stopped raining for a long time but at least it's been warm out and the ducks don't seem to mind. Tonight it dips into the 20's and the same tomorrow. One of these days it will stop and everything will dry out.
 

johntfs

Songster
Dec 1, 2019
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Jackson, Tennessee
We are getting ducks and geese later this spring, and although they will have access to drinking water, I do not have a pool in the coop/run they will be sharing with the chickens. We usually let the chickens out every afternoon when I get home from work to free range for a few hours before dark. I can have a swimming pool for the ducks outside the coop/run for them to swim in at that time. But is that long enough? And if they do not get let out for a couple days straight, and only have access to drinking water, will that be a problem?
Like others have stated, ducks don't really "need" to swim. They enjoy it greatly, but don't physically need it. They really just "need" enough water to drink and to be able to periodically dunk their heads in to clean out their eyes and nostrils. In fact, especially young ducklings (call it a week old or less) probably shouldn't swim at all because they can so easily lose heat and die if not carefully warmed and dried afterward and they're just kind of fragile anyway. Even after the week, brooder-raised ducklings still need careful supervision/drying/warming up to maybe four weeks or so because they don't have access to the water-proofing oils of mother ducks.

Now, granted that none of the above is from my first-hand experience, but I've read/heard enough of it from enough different, reliable sources - including many here on this forum, to be willing to take it is truth.
 
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