Indian Runners & their daily water needs...... in winter

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by blenderbender, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. blenderbender

    blenderbender Out Of The Brooder

    34
    0
    22
    Jul 9, 2014
    Western Pennsylvania
    Hi... I'm relatively new with ducks and have a pair of runners who I thought I had all fixed up for winter here in western Pennsylvania. They have a wonderfully insulated doghouse which I don't think I've ever seen them in, they seem to prefer just huddling up in the cold. They get shut in a predator proof wire enclosure for the night and have quite a large fenced garden to peruse all day. I went to a fair amount of work and expense when I purchased a set of solar panels, batteries, charge controller, etc. and built what I thought was a bullet proof solar heated water container for the winter. It's a 4 gallon container with plenty of depth for them to fully immerse their heads should they want to. The solar heater functioned well through the first freezing night. But then something happened to it, which I haven't been able to troubleshoot yet, and I've been hauling out water morning and night for them. We got a relatively hard cold snap the last couple nights and the container is freezing up pretty quickly. I know when it's mild outside they are into the water pretty regularly so my question is..... how much, or how often, do they require open water? Is it imperative that they have ice free water all day and night? Obviously I'm going to have to figure out something here because running power (110v) is going to be a problem. I do chip away the ice every chance I get but that is going to get very old very quick. Thanks for any input!

    Gary
     
  2. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,223
    83
    136
    Oct 18, 2014
    Missouri
    That stinks that your set up broke :(

    Ducks do need water all day while they are eating and going about business. At night? nope, as long as you don't feed them at night. Mine eat and drink a day, and don't at night. No problems. They will definitely use it at night if you let them, but it wastes too much bedding for me cause they are messy.
     
  3. blenderbender

    blenderbender Out Of The Brooder

    34
    0
    22
    Jul 9, 2014
    Western Pennsylvania
    Thanks Cityfarmer..... perhaps a dumb question, but I don't imagine they can utilize snow to any degree? There's plenty of that about just now. My dog (Corgi) gobbles snow like it's ice cream and has to pee every 10 minutes for an hour afterwards.

    Gary
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    23,016
    2,007
    491
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    My Runners eat snow, but only after the first few storms and they seem to recall what it is. Each flock, each duck is different.
     
  5. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,223
    83
    136
    Oct 18, 2014
    Missouri
    I agree with amiga...

    They usually don't eat enough to replace actual water.

    Lol :) My dog does that too. Its so funny to see him bouncing around in the snow. We had deep snow a couple times, and my ducks would make pathways through the snow, and then would suddenly pop their heads up to see whats going on...it was really funny :)
     
  6. jbugw

    jbugw Out Of The Brooder

    61
    0
    39
    Aug 8, 2014
    Michigan
    I've seen mine grooming themselves with the snow. We're having water issues too. I go out several times during the day to break it up. Its getting old real quick. Mine don't get water overnight but as we're getting ready to get into days with only 6 hours of daylight I think they are going to need to have access. We do have a set up for winter that keeps their water separate from bedding but still no way to keep it from freezing. I can only hope it will stay thawed long enough to keep them at their normal routine of 8-10 hours without water. Maybe I am worrying too much.
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    23,016
    2,007
    491
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I prefer to panic early and go from there [​IMG]
     
  8. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,223
    83
    136
    Oct 18, 2014
    Missouri
    wow! 6 hours of daylight. Thats not much. Even in winter, we get about 9 or 10 hours. I can see how you would want to give them some water during the night. :) Ducks are pretty tough in winter without heated water. I used to keep their ponds broken up so they could drink, but i finally just splurged and got them a heated water bowl.
     
  9. blenderbender

    blenderbender Out Of The Brooder

    34
    0
    22
    Jul 9, 2014
    Western Pennsylvania
    Thanks all..... I've been looking at heated buckets and pet bowls. Largest heated pet bowl that I can find is 1.5 gal, little less than 5 inches deep. There's a 2 gallon heated bucket reasonably priced also and I'm thinking this might be better as it's deeper. They are 110v. but I think I can run an inverter off my solar panels & batteries. Any thoughts on most appropriate size (depth)?

    Gary
     
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,300
    6,136
    721
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    I use the 1.5 gal buckets for my ducks/chickens. My geese get the 5 gal heated buckets. These buckets are so nice and only work when temps drop below 35*I also use heated bowls for the fermented feed I serve them all.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by