NEW DUCK DADDY AND LOVING IT, what about winter on these two babies?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by jynxster, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. jynxster

    jynxster Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have always loved ducks and chickens (all animals). I now have a place for them. I saw an ad and met this really cool lady who sold me two sibling ducks. They are reportedly cross between Pekin and Cauga. One is black and white stripped and one is grey and white striped. I think they are both females (no names yet). They eat chicken scratch mixed with the all porpouse turkey/duck feed. They LOVE to gut a watermelon in seconds they also love the vegatable greens and peas. They appear happy and healthy. I have built a 12'x 20' by 6' tall chain link pen (It is also covered). Their home is a huge dome shaped Dogloo my german shepard used until he passed last summer. I like the fact that it has no corners and nothing for them to cath their wings on , when I reach in to pet them or to get one to hold, they are a little startled so this house is great, I have a thick layer of straw in there for their bed. The entire rest of the pen is hard pan dirt, under a huge grapefruit tree (shade this summer). I also have a deserted kiddie pool THEY LOVE IT. Im trying to be a good daddy and do everything the right way; when I commit to an animal, it is a lifetime commitment.
    My question is this: I live at 3000 ft altitude in Southern CA at the base of a mountain. The coyotes and bobcats come down at night off the mountain. There are horor stories about small animals being attacked and killed and eaten (Thus the chain link heavy duty cage/pen). We have lowtemperatures to below freezing regularly at night here through the winter month, typically never below 30, I have owned this house for 4 years and have had snow here 4 days never last beyond 2days on the ground. daytime lows in the winter is about 45 to 60. I have read as much as I can about ducks, I love this forum I already have some new ideas. I spoke with a poultry vet yesterday and he said with temps below freezing at night in the winter I need to bring them in the heated garage at night or in the bathtub. I was a little shocked, According to this forum the ducks sound quite hardy. I have them totally enclosed in the pen at one end at night surrounded by plywood and a huge thick canvas top over the top. I have also now put a 250 watt heat lamp about 2 feet above their head level by the dog house. They are obviously sheltered from wind and that bulb does generate a good bit of heat. Am I over reacting? Do they really need the heat lamp at night? They do not appear to lay under it actually they tend to lay away from it a few feet. A bulb is expensive all night and I just need to know; are my California ducks wimps and really need the heat lamp all night? Again, I just wanna be a good duck daddy; already I am looking at a couple of similiar age pekins. I am waiting to sex these two and hopefully we can start a family. Thanks for all your responses in advance.
     
  2. Roxy1989

    Roxy1989 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was the same as you the first winter for my ducks, they were just 6months old then, everything youve done so far sounds great, they are very lucky ducks,u seem to care greatly for them [​IMG]
    I dont know how cold it gets for you,but here in the uk last year was so cold,we had snow for 4months or so [​IMG] but the ducks were fine......i just put extra straw/hay in their house (dog kennel) and they went in there during the day sometimes if they got abit cold,but the weather didnt stop them swimming in their really cold kiddie pool [​IMG]

    i did give them a bucket of warm water....my male loved it,had to top it up like 5 times a day for him

    [​IMG]

    id wait for advice from somebody that lives closer lol that knows what sort of winter your talking about, but i think they'll be fine, they are more hardy than people realise [​IMG]
     
  3. fisharescary

    fisharescary Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, first off congrats on your new ducks! Always glad to see an enthusiastic new duck person.

    Well, I'm no expert, but I would think your ducks would be fine...both the books that I've read and anecdotal accounts from duck-keepers all seem to suggest that a basic draft-free shelter with bedding is enough, especially since your temps only barely, occasionally dip below freezing. Did your vet know about the dogloo? Maybe s/he thought you were just...leaving them outside? Some people do.

    Lemmee see if I understand your set-up right...the dogloo is inside the chain-link fence, and you've further enclosed that end of the fence with plywood, and there is heavy canvas over the top of the whole pen? Just make sure the opening of the dogloo faces toward one of the plywood sides, that way the wind never blows straight in. The heat lamp is outside the dogloo? doesn't seem like it would do much.

    Also you mentioned coyotes and bobcats, but do you have raccoons too? That would be my only concern- they can reach through the standard size chain-link and pull ducks out bite by bite. gristly. add hardware cloth with openings less than one inch large all around the bottom 3 feet of the pen (the level at which the ducks hang out). Also lay it along the ground outside of the pen at least 1 foot wide to stop digging predators from tunneling under. They apparently won't figure out to just back up to dig. Secure the mesh apron with earth staples (cheap at lowes/home depot) or heavy rocks, logs, etc. Some people bury it a few inches below the soil for looks/bare-foot safety. (so, if it's easier, you can get 4-5' wide hardware cloth and just bend it like a backwards L around the outside of the pen for both raccoon and digger-proofing.)
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    And Welcome to Duckdom![​IMG]

    I posted this on your other topic, wanted to reiterate - at two months, I'd coddle them more than if they were fully adult.

    Also, based on my own experience with runner ducks (flock of 9 currently), some of them just aren't as hardy as the book says. Since you clearly love your ducks, just pay close attention to them. Pick them up to check their body condition frequently, give them treats such as peas when you can, make sure their water stays open for drinking and head washing.

    In my case, to avoid running electric to the duck house once I realized I had a couple of ducks who would have preferred Southern California, low altitudes, I just moved them into their own "room" in our walkout basement. Was I glad I did! Last winter, three feet of snow on the ground the second half of winter, reduced my shoveling needs by at least half.

    (It was fun, too!)

    I'm not suggesting you do the same, just pay attention, remember they are still developing internally and that ducks can hide strain or illness very well until they are just about done.

    Have you posted photo's yet?
     
  5. FarmrGirl

    FarmrGirl MooseMistress

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    Quote:Yeah, new DuckDaddy... where are the pics?? [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Welcome to BYC!! [​IMG]
     
  6. 70%cocoa

    70%cocoa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our winters sound similar to yours, maybe a little colder (gets down to 20 some nights). My ducks are usually shut in their house on cold nights (30 or below) but happily sleep outside if I let them. Temps like that don't bother them as long as they can get out of the wind. They don't like wind. Once your ducks are adults they will be fine with the shelter you describe over winter. As Amiga says just keep an eye on them this first winter. Thick straw in their house will help to keep them warm. They'll snuggle into it if they want to.

    Great to hear that you are enjoying your ducks so much!! Sounds like you are looking after them very well.
     
  7. jynxster

    jynxster Chillin' With My Peeps

    To ROXY89 thanks for the kind words of support; as I said temps here rarely drop below 32 but at night does occasionally. Our winter here is NOTHING like the UK. winter as I said is MAYBE 4 days of snow total all winter long. daytime temps in the days 4o's 50's 60s so sounds like yourt ducks must be tough ducks. We get more rain than snow for sure. but your response was greatly appreciated and would love to communicate more; for anyone interested my direct email is: [email protected] its all good to email, Im not real computer savvy so email is great. Sounds like youre a real duck lover great appreciate any input and thanks for your words of encouragement.

    To Amiga sorry no pics yet but no pics yet will post them probably this weekend. The work week has been busy I work in a burn ICU sadly a very busy place.

    To Cocoa thanks for your input as well, does get windy here we have occasionally whats known as "santa anna winds" they are unusual typiccly warm winds up to 50 to 70 MPH that can last a couple days. I will and have placed teh dogloo toward the plywood end of the pen thanks.

    To FISHAREARESCAREY I will use the hardware cloth for sure no racoons or opposums just lost of gophers and and grounds squirrels and the occasional snake. Thanks.
    Photos in the near future. thanks again for all the input folks yall are great.

    Another question:
    Today I held the grey and white stripped one, she calmed down pretty quick and allowed me to pet her without incident, the black and white on the other hand attempted to nip at me both times when I tried to hold him. WOW that hurt HOW DO I DEAL WITH THAT? I LOVE HOLDING THEM AND WANT THEM TO BE SOCIAL, THE LADY I GOT THEM FROM HAD A VARIETY OF ABOUT 10 DUCKS AND 10 CHICKENS ALL IN TEH SAME PEN, SHE SAID SHE WAS GETING RID OF THESE TWO BECAUSE THEY ARE SIBLINGS AND OTHERS WERE PICKING ON THEM. I REALLY REALLY WANT THEM TO BE SOCIAL WITH ME SO HOW DO I STOP THIS BITING BEHAVIOR IN THE BLACK AND WHITE, IT HURT. I HAVE BEEN THINKING THEY ARE TWO MONTHS OLD AND LIKELY HAD VERY LITTLE IF ANY HUMAN HOLDING AND PETTING THEM SO??????????
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  8. chikky

    chikky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Congratulations!

    I second any suggestions to keep predators out. If they can get in, they will.

    As far as the biting, they seem to have different "levels" of how hard. One of mine actually bit my mom's nose and took the skin off of it (that teaches her not to hold the duck up to her face upon their first meeting, ha ha). Anyways, I have tried the suggestion that I read on the forum to hold their bill closed and tell them "NO". It does seem to work for my duck that likes to bite hard. I've also "punished" her by picking her up and handling/petting her - another suggestion on the forum to let them know you are not a duck and you are boss.

    Good luck (and keep your nose away from those bills) [​IMG]
     
  9. 70%cocoa

    70%cocoa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's important not to put them down immediately after they bite. That will teach them that biting gets them freedom. Keep holding them and hold the bill closed and put them down only once they're quiet. Make sure they are not being held tight as this will compress their lungs and will distress them.
     
  10. jynxster

    jynxster Chillin' With My Peeps

    thanks so much I was SHOCKED thinking tomarrow I am home all day and will spend alot of the day out there with them; truth is I understand their hesitation with me, they grew up in a larger flock, suddenly they are pulled away from their flock environment and they are moved to my place, just the two of them and they dont know me yet, sadly I work a lot so my interaction has been going in the pen in the moringing, changin water and feeding them then nothing till I get home after dark and the same routine. Every animal has their own personality and thats fine; just funny how one seems docile and the other so agressive and of course the bigger one is the agressor, still cant tell if they are boys or girls but thinksing of names already; maybe GHANDI and TERMINATOR LOL could it be oner is dominate over the other sibling, still looking for that curled tail fether but so far nothing; thinking they are both girls and thinking theymay get a new pekin brother this weekend too. LOL thanks again I will try the shut their beak and NO after all I have to be the daddy right?
     

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