How to properly support laying ducks in winter

cayugaducklady

Chirping
Jul 20, 2015
495
97
94
New England USA
My smallest hen started laying right after Thanksgiving. She gave two eggs the first day, two eggs the second day and one egg a day every day since then. she lays the first egg between 6 and 6:30 every morning. (On the second egg days she laid those around 9am in the forage pen)

She did not lay an egg this morning. I checked both houses and even turned over the bedding in the entire enclosure looking for it.

We had out first truly winter weather overnight. Temps in the twenties but the real feel temp was around 10 degrees. There were salt trucks and plows out more than 6 times over night. They make a lot of noise and my dogs were kind enough to let me know that the were out on the road each time they passed our farm.

This is the first time they've had to deal with the flashing lights and noise from the municipal trucks. We've had plenty of nights in the twenties but none with a real feel that low yet.


They're eating a balanced soy free layer ration and have free choice grit, oyster shell, poultry herb mix (basil, oregano, garlic, calendula etc.) that was an early present from Santa Paws.

They also receive steamed potato and either steamed green beans or chopped kale/ chopped cabbage as part of breakfast and supper each night. I usually offer the greens in the morning.

They get fresh water in the morning and fresh water again at night. They get 30-45 minutes in the duck yard in the morning and 15-30 minutes in the duck yard at night.

I turn their bedding as needed. I added a fresh, thick layer of bedding Sunday because I knew this weather was predicted. I fluffed it up again last night in the dark.

Last night I added some cracked corn to their nightly meal and some cat food because of the low temps and nasty weather predicted. All of the hens were noticeably nervous last night when I fed them supper and let them out in the yard. It was already very obvious that a weather system was blowing in.

What can I do to better support her while she lays in the winter ?

I understand that it is not typical for ducks to lay in the winter. But she is and I want to do the best I can for her.

There is no way I can block out the plow lights or noise. We're set back from the road over 100 feet and we can hear it inside the house and see the flashing lights.
 

pattyhen

Chicks Ducks oh my
13 Years
Apr 20, 2007
3,054
3,247
521
It sounds like your ducks are getting everything they can possibly need. With her being a first time egg layer she will probably not lay each day. My ducks lay in the winter time too. Not as many as they do in the spring but I still get eggs. I wouldn't worry about her she sounds well taken care of.

Patty
 

cayugaducklady

Chirping
Jul 20, 2015
495
97
94
New England USA
Thanks for your reply. You eased my worry wart mind,

She did lay some time today before 8:30am. It was much larger than her normal eggs.

I spent most of the day outside in the weather with them because I'm a nervous nellie
 

pattyhen

Chicks Ducks oh my
13 Years
Apr 20, 2007
3,054
3,247
521
Your very welcome. Just make sure to gather the eggs because you don't want her to go broody in the winter time. You have some very lucky ducks to have the care you give them. Stop worrying and just enjoy them.
big_smile.png



Patty
 

TheTwoRoos

Crowing
Sep 25, 2015
4,363
2,009
316
I my opinion,the only thing ducks need in the winter is,food,water,and water to bath in (a pond or a kitty pool).Ducks swim in freezing waters with no problem,And it so,so very hard for them to get cold.
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
115,709
135,811
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Mountains of Western N.C.
I my opinion,the only thing ducks need in the winter is,food,water,and water to bath in (a pond or a kitty pool).Ducks swim in freezing waters with no problem,And it so,so very hard for them to get cold.
A few years ago we had a member given a duck who decided to sleep in his water bowl over night in below freezing temps. He lost most of his foot from Frost bite.
 

cayugaducklady

Chirping
Jul 20, 2015
495
97
94
New England USA
Thanks for the advice :)

I think I actually got on my hens nerves that day. They were actually ignoring me or walking away from me towards afternoon while I was worrying about them.

They're quickly teaching me that they are perfectly happy on conditions I would be miserable in.
 

MaureenD

In the Brooder
May 5, 2015
76
9
38
South Central Wisconsin
Last night I added some cracked corn to their nightly meal and some cat food because of the low temps and nasty weather predicted. All of the hens were noticeably nervous last night when I fed them supper and let them out in the yard. It was already very obvious that a weather system was blowing in.

What can I do to better support her while she lays in the winter ?

I understand that it is not typical for ducks to lay in the winter. But she is and I want to do the best I can for her.

There is no way I can block out the plow lights or noise. We're set back from the road over 100 feet and we can hear it inside the house and see the flashing lights.
Cat food- I have been giving my girls a scoop or two in the evening (2/3 c with 1/3 of their layer food) when I change water. Just a head's up... I am giving an all kitty general food that is small enough for kittens to eat. Nothing wrong with that, but it makes for loose and messier poop around the eggs in the nest in the morning. Eggs do not seem to stay as clean with my best nest efforts. Just watch their poop for dietary changes when you give them something new.

Sounds like you are doing a great job- I am a super worried new duck mama as well. WI winter has arrived. We were so SPOILED in December! I was able to use my hose most the time!
 

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