Mallards(?) 1st Utah winter.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by whatheduck, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. whatheduck

    whatheduck New Egg

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    Nov 3, 2013
    First I'll say I know almost nothing about ducks. I'm not even sure I have mallards. The father of my ducks is a green head, and the mother is a beautiful mocha color. I have 2 male ducks that look similar to their green head father, but their heads are jet black, and their bodies are bigger. Anyway, I am not an animal lover, but I gave in to my kids and husband and allowed ducks thinking, and hoping they wouldn't last long. Jokes on me because I LOVE them so much more than any other animal we have ever had. I am the primary caregiver, and I enjoy every minute of it. It is now November and getting pretty chilly, it's actually lightly snowing right now. I have penned them for the last 2 nights to keep them from quacking and bothering the neighbors, but other than that they have free range in the 1/3 acre yard. They have a swimming pool, and a large pet porter (big enough for 2 full grown German Shorthairs with room to spare) with straw and food and water in the pet porter. The pet porter is positioned between a tool shed, and wood fence to help block the wind, and also wrapped in insulation. Even in harsh weather they don't go in their shelter. I don't know if I should force them in, or if they will just go in on their own when they need. Right now as it's snowing they are in their pool so I feel like I am worrying for nothing. Any advice would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Iain Utah

    Iain Utah Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to the forum and the wonderful world of ducks. I am in the PC area. Ducks cannot walk through deep heavy snow well and can actually get stuck, so we have to make pathways. They can also get frostbite, so need a warm, dry place in extreme winter weather. You may have to train them that their duck house is the warm, dry, safe place to bed down by herding them in at night. But once they get into the routine, they will figure it out and put themselves up. On bad snow days, my ducks won't even leave their coop in the day, despite the door being opened for them.
     
  3. whatheduck

    whatheduck New Egg

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    Thank you, that's good to know. I'm surprised how smart they are. I herded them into their shelter for the first time a couple nights ago and since then they go in with very little coaxing. Do you use a heat source for you ducks, or is straw usually enough? My ducks drink out of one of those things with a container for the water, and the tops that twists on then you turn upside down. But it has to be refilled several times a day. Out of convenience I would like to use something that holds more water, but not big enough for them to get in it. Do you have any suggestions? Do you provide a water source like a pool, or pond for your ducks in the winter?

    With all my questions you are probably wishing you hadn't replied to my post. But if you don't mind sharing your duck knowledge I can definitely use it:)
     
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Main thing is predator proof! cannot stress that enough, night time brings forth the meal seekers. As for housing, sounds to me like they have the concept, ducks are not like chickens and most don't come home to roost so to speak, the need coaxing. Mine all return to an area we have fenced around their duck barn but the majority need a nudge to get inside even on the coldest of nights.

    As for water, there are heated buckets, heated poultry waterers, you can get tank heaters for troughs and so forth. My biggest flock i am going to heat a 50GAL trough and cover most of it with plywood to keep them out of it. I do own heated buckets but too many this winter for only one or two of those lol

    My calls? plan for now on a heated dog bowl, probably need the bigger size so will gerry rig some wood on top to keep them from swimming in it.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. whatheduck

    whatheduck New Egg

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    Ok, I will get them a heated water bucket. I wasn't sure if they needed the drip system, or if they could just drink from a bowl/bucket. As far as predators go I used to be concerned about the cats in the neighborhood when they were ducklings, but now they are bigger than any cat I've seen. What other predators should I be worried about?
     
  6. Iain Utah

    Iain Utah Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG] It's ok. I don't mind answering your questions. I don't know if I'd call my ducks smart, but they have good survival instincts and excellent memories. They are quite fun to have around and are very easy to care for. Straw and/or pine shavings are enough for our ducks. Our coop is far from insulated, but does have a raised wood floor. We use an assortment of buckets, ranging from 1-5 gallons and regularly break ice from them. Our kiddy pools get put up in the winter, unless we have a good stretch of above freezing temps, but we also have a year-round running stream that goes through our property.... so they are pretty spoiled.
     
  7. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Some will depend on where you are, here? lol well, coons, skunks, hawks, owls, bears, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, possum, foxes, dogs, cats and so on. The smaller the bird the greater the risk, if they can fly it helps. I don't free range my calls, they are penned and then put in secure housing at night.

    Unfortunately, one thing with preds is until you have something they want you may not know they are actually around, give them some options and it's unreal what can be in your area regardless of how urban.
     
  8. whatheduck

    whatheduck New Egg

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    Thanks everyone for the tips, and advice. I just really want them to make it through the winter. [​IMG]
     

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