Muscovy winter housing in Canada

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Mama Maya, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Mama Maya

    Mama Maya Out Of The Brooder

    We live in Atlantic Canada and the winters are not so harsh as far as temps go in our area because of tidal currents over the Bay of Fundy but winds can be bad. Last winter lowest temp was 5F but the daytimes warm up. This was our first winter here and chuckled at our neighbor cutting his grass 2nd week of Dec. Only got snow about 4 times and had melted away within 3 days. Our ducks are in a pen beside the house. It has a wire 4' fence and inside the perimeter has firewood stacked 5-6ft high. So they are enclosed with a wood wall all around and the house forms the other walls. They have a pool in there and two houses for shelter my husband made. Hay on the ground but sourcing straw for winter. They never use the houses. Prefer to sit out in the pouring rain than go in them. They have been freshly wing clipped so do not fly out. Anymore.lol

    We wonder if they are okay this winter or should we bring them into the barn. A huge Flemish Giant rabbit buck lives there too so would miss them. We don't want frostbitten ducks, but also know the firewood will go down during the winter but can use the heat pump as well so would not burn it all. Its about 50 yards to the barn and much easier to keep tabs by looking out the window. The turkeys are happy in the barn.

    The barn has enclosures but they like where they are. Any thoughts.Here's a pic
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  2. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Muscovy ducks are prone to frostbite as they have more exposed skin than other ducks (the caruncles on their faces). So they will need shelter to protect them from the elements.
    I live in southern Maine and it gets VERY cold and we get a ton of snow.
    Mine free range during the day. They only time I don't let them out is if we are having a blizzard, or if its bitterly cold and windy. Otherwise, they LOVE to be outside in the cold and snow. The only times they would go back in seemed like windy days.

    With your setup, I would suggest one of two things. Pick the one that works best/easiest for you and your situation.

    1. If you want to keep them where they are, give them a dog house (one large one or a few small ones) so they have a place to get in out of the elements. Keep deep straw/hay as bedding so they can nestle to keep warm. The only problem may be the mess. If they are kept in a fairly small enclosure (if the pen is bigger than what we can see in the pic then you might be all set) then the snow and rain, mixed with freezing and thawing will create a HUGE mud hole and it will be hard to keep the birds clean.

    2. Keep them in the barn. If you can build a pen (if you don't want to free range them) and let them out during the day, that will help keep them clean and exercised. But you know they will be safe inside. Even if it's not insulated and there's no heat in the barn, they will be fine as long as there are no drafts or places for snow to blow in
     
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Honestly ducks don't know what's best for them. high winds and temps in the single digits could cause frost bite on carnuckles. Plus what about hungry predators that will be able to climb over the firewood wall? I'd really be concerned about that. Start training them to go into either their house that you can lock up or the barn. you may have to herd them but ducks herd easy. It's a nice set up you have but isn't safe for them at night. [​IMG] forgot to say your Scovy's are beautiful.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree with past comments, Also Canadian(hi!) but i get colder than that. I lock mine up in buildings and a mini barn at night. They make good meals and with an open top and clipped wings they are truly sitting ducks.

    Mine free range and are all full flight, they come into a penned area and stay in that till i herd them in for nightfall. I do have to apply Vaseline to the drakes faces, those do tend to frostbite looks to me like you've only got ducks though? no drakes? They tend to not have as much of a problem, depends though they vary with the quantity.

    Nice looking ducks, welcome to BYC and scovies!
     
  5. Mama Maya

    Mama Maya Out Of The Brooder

    We have 3 converted stalls in the barn we can use but free range is out they have never been either outside the barn or that enclosure. To late in the season to experiment now. They do herd quite easily if we made a larger box for them. A dog house/kennel would be too small. There is a drake, the white one behind the pool with black on his head. He is huge compared to the ducks. We have coyotes nearby in the woods, but nothing has come close to the house. Mink at the barn was our only problem this year. Killed all our laying hens (10) early Sept, but my husband shot it while it was rifling through a nest box. None since.The barn being some 50 yards from the house does not help. Our dog keeps everything he see's off the property. Acre and half. Just may have to build a box with door to lock them up at night. We are retired and nearly always home so little activity around here escapes the dog or him. A rifle at the door is always handy[​IMG]

    What size box for 5 muscovies would work?
     
  6. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Couldn't tell lol There obviously all quite young still. Sounds like your barn has some issues... yikes, that is terrible. We have coyotes and wolves and the whole thing here too, truly depends on each situation. I am fortunate i can do so here.(free range)

    Now, how big is this pen? if this will be permanent it will need to be quite roomy for that many, i have a 1/3 of an acre penned around my duck barn and mini coop for my flock of 20(2 are buff ducks, rest are scovies) this has all their pools and feed too. It maintains a large of area of grass and trees so this number and space seems to work.

    Do you have Storey's guide to ducks? it lists sq footage... it says for ducks housed only night at medium to large breeds(scovies are large) 2.5- 6 sq ft. for housing only, it does have listing for pens, but i have not taken note of that since i free range mainly.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    A rifle is very handy but as you know mink and most preds are very quiet and with Scovy's being on the quiet side you could have dead birds before you even knew what was going on, One BYC member had a mink kill one of her geese, they are a really bad pred. So sorry one got your hens. If you decide with building them a secure building make sure to put in plenty of ventilation because Ammonia build up can cause serious respiratory issues. Use hardware cloth to cover all openings. I'll get you a link and you and your dh can look and see if any will meet your interest. I'd make at least an 8X10 building, unless you don't plan on any ducklings, LOL even 10X10 with head room so you can walk in to clean. Maybe you can find pallets or free scrap lumber even windows sometimes are offered for free, I have gotten some free and also paid about 3.00 a piece for some. It doesn't have to be fancy just safe.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/newsearch?search=Duck+house+plans+and+runs&=Search

    [​IMG]Shhh took this from the goose thread. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013

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