i live in northern NH, do my ducks need actual heat?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by quackhouse3, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. quackhouse3

    quackhouse3 New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Sep 17, 2014
    Do my 3 ducks actually need a heater or will they be alright with a well insulated house?? And also, why are they perching outside on their door?? They have even been trying to sleep there, they have always gone inside "to bed" at night, but now they try to sleep on their door?? I have never had ducks?? What should I do?
     
  2. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,323
    46
    171
    Aug 31, 2009
    [​IMG]
    What kind of ducks do you have? I live in Southern Maine and get the same weather you do and mine live in an uninsulated house. You need to be careful with insulating, if the moisture builds up, you can have issues that are worse than cold.

    I would make sure they "go to bed" at night. If the perching is an issue during the day, put something on the door that discourages it. Or clip at least one wing so they cannot fly up. If they are sitting on the door all night, IMO you are just asking for a predator issue.

    I would make sure you have heated water sources though. I use heated dog bowls for drinking and face washing and a birdbath heater for the pool. As long as they have a place to get out of the elements that is dry and protects from wind/rain/snow, they should be fine. I feed some cracked corn during the coldest part of the year. Along with their normal diet of pellets, peas and chopped veggies.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. MommaHenn

    MommaHenn Out Of The Brooder

    28
    4
    25
    Aug 25, 2014
    How old are your ducks that are perching on the door? I am asking because my ducks recently just started to refuse to go in at night as well. This batch is wild - mallards. They prefer to sleep in the protection of the outdoor chicken coop. I think it may be more comfortable now that they are getting their flight/heavier feathers ( 7 weeks old) but I don't think it will last into the harsh northeast winter.
     
  4. quackhouse3

    quackhouse3 New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Sep 17, 2014
    I was told that my ducks are domesticated mallards (but I'm not sure??) and they are 3 months today. I have still been putting them in at night even if they are perched on their door... but they usually do go in? I have a bob house for them.... it has nesting boxes and room for them to "play" on the really cold days that they will be closed in? I just do NOT want them to die over the winter and some have said heat it and others have said not to because they need to acclimate themselves?? I adore them and they really are lil' pets of mine :) I am however waiting for them to lay eggs :) I will be so excited!!
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,984
    1,959
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Something I did when the ducks had an outdoor night house was get an indoor-outdoor thermometer set up so I could monitor the temperature inside where they were. As I have written elsewhere, they were only okay down to about 35˚F or so. With only three, small ducks, I would not trust their body mass to be sufficient in subzero temperatures. There are a number of ways to warm a house - you might be able to use passive solar. Safety is important - we did not have a good setup for using any electricity to heat the house. And fire is a huge risk.
     
  6. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,323
    46
    171
    Aug 31, 2009
    I personally am scared of heat lamps. I know of too many barn fires that were started by heat lamps. And I feel that if they are acclimated, as you mentioned, that they will do alright over the winter. My little mallard was fine last winter and there were extremely cold some nights. I had nine ducks last year, and they all did fine. Now we have ten, so I am hoping at least some of them decide snuggle together. I don't have the ability to bring them in the house, we have dogs and cats in the house, so they have to stay outside year round. Their shed is raised off the ground, the floor is covered with horse stall mats and is bedded down heavily with straw for them to burrow into. I think that the wind chill is the biggest worry of mine, so if it is windy, I leave the shed doors closed and open the little hatch door for them to go in and out at will. They seem to know when they need to get inside and keep out of the biting wind. I leave food and water down 24/7 and while it makes a bit of a mess, I feel is is better that they have the extra nutrition and calories in the cold.
    They do make heated dog houses and heated mats (I use those for the rabbits). If you are very worried about cold, then maybe something like that would work since you only have three. Ducks have down coats and as long as they are healthy and well fed, I believe they will be ok. Of course, if they are sickly, then bringing them inside is necessary and in that case, I have a very small area that I can use as a hospital area, but it sure won't hold ten ducks.
    I think there are people on here who live in even colder areas than we do, maybe they will chime in on how they keep their ducks healthy in the winter.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. quackhouse3

    quackhouse3 New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Sep 17, 2014
    How big is their house? Mine is off the ground as well but it is like 5ft wide, 6ft tall and depth of maybe 3ft?? They also have a box inside that they can stay warm in as well ( big nesting area). I am going to look for heated bowls or a bird bath heater tomorrow. Do you prefer hay over wood chips?? I found the wood chips were easier to clean throughout the spring and summer. We had hay to start but it seemed as if it stayed wet with urine or water and I thought that would hold moisture more?? The chips just shovel right up and out? Also, when should I be expecting to look for eggs?? I put fake eggs in the nesting box last week and have been looking around the yard (free ranging all day) but nothing yet?? I "THINK" I have 2 females and a male?? Thank you for all your help everyone!!
     
  8. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,323
    46
    171
    Aug 31, 2009
    If they have an outside area, your house is plenty big for overnight. We use straw in the house for winter. Straw is a much better insulator, it is hollow and traps air, so it insulates better and does not hold moisture and pack like hay does. I use hay in the warmer months. We have horses, so I take the less desirable bales for the ducks (meaning the more coarse ones). In winter, I pick through the straw daily and remove the wet and dirty stuff, stir and add more. Then occasionally I just remove it all and start over. Kind of a modified deep litter method I guess. We also found sitting the water bowl in a larger bowl on top of a top from a larger rubbermaid storage container keeps the wetness factor down A LOT. Also, laying a narrow board across the top so all they can get in is their head helps too, mine were swimming in their bowl over night and that was very messy. Amiga has a great set up for hers too, she's posted pics of it.

    I would make sure the type of wood chips that you are using are safe for ducks. I know pine shavings are ok, I just cannot use them because our rabbits are on the other side of the shed and the oil in the pine is not good for them to be breathing in. Wood stove pellets, or the compressed wood pellets they sell for horse stalls are another option, but for those of us in the northeast, they are a bit more difficult when it gets really cold because they have to be wet to break down.

    About the eggs, mine are actually slowing down their laying a bit. I have several in molt who are not laying at all right now. I think they start laying around 6 mos, someone will correct that if I am mistaken. I leave my ducks confined until around 9 am, I found that it is easier to find eggs when they are not free ranging. Mine normally lay in the early am. They are REALLY good at hiding their nests so if I let them out too early, they will hide and sometimes I find the eggs, more times I don't. And I worry they will attract predators if there are eggs around the property.
     
  9. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    7,550
    354
    311
    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    I don't heat, i get cold i am not the coldest part of my country but we already had frost and it snowed into May this past year...

    Keys are good venting and sizing appropriate... most ducks do fine with that and good food. Ducks don't like to go inside and most when they get older won't if given an option to not too. I force and have trained most of mine, some still won't lol but it's about your set-up more than anything else.

    Heat lamps bother me, why? one the obvious fire risk.. so many have lost their whole flocks, even their entire barns. Next getting birds accustomed to unrealistic temperatures if your loose that heat source they birds are in trouble BIG.

    I keep calls, so wee teeny things man they are winter hardy! no seriously they swim in the coldest temps and are tough as nails, i do keep some of mine in housing but i also have some in raised pen so they can choose to take shelter or not, guess what they do 99% of the time? you guessed it sit outside. If birds are allowed to grow accustomed to the temps of the region, given proper food and shelter options they will usually do fine.

    I've never lost a bird to winter.... i even had babies last year in March, my March is anything but 'spring' lol
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. quackhouse3

    quackhouse3 New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Sep 17, 2014
    You have all been so very helpful :) Thank you so much!!! I am still trying to find heated bowls and a bird bath heater. What is everyone feeding their ducks for the winter?? I saw one post that said something about peas?? I have mine on cracked corn and Stage 2 (tractor supply) duck grain? Next, about a month or so, they will go on layer pellets ( according to Tractor Supply)???
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by