New duck owners

mandijo

In the Brooder
Jul 19, 2016
9
0
14
Hi! We are very new duck owners and love them! They are about 4 months old and we have lots of questions. I don't even know what sex they are yet. My primary concern is we live in Oklahoma and winter can get very cold with ice storms & snow. How do they do outside? They have a small 2 level coup (picture below) but they won't go up and down the ramp (scared of it?), so they won't get upstairs to the hay filled enclosed shelter. Its hot now so they only go inside it to eat right now. Also, we don't have a pond but use a kiddie pool for their wading/bathing water. Do they need this in the winter too? I'm sure it will freeze. Any help/guidance is appreciated. We sure love them and want to keep them around, we're just very new to this. Thanks in advance!
 

TheMauveDuck

In the Brooder
Apr 22, 2016
115
12
46
Welcome to BYC and the world of ducks! Looks like your Pekins are pretty developed, If you post a picture of them where I can see their bodies clearly then I could sex them for you. You can usually tell by their voice. The females are very loud and the males are quiet and raspy. Looks like you've done your best to make them accommodated, in time they'll definitely find their way up the ramp. In the winter try to beak the pool as much a you can but there's not much you can do. As long as they have a bowl tall enough to dip their faces in they'll be OK. Pekins are a very cold hardy breed. They don't go outside much in the winter anyways so we close their hatch and keep them in the coop when it's to cold for them. You can also put a heat lamp in their coop in the winter. As well as straw on the snow, ping pong balls in the water and plenty of corn and scratch grain. We had no problems with our Pekins last winter besides a common eye infection in one of our females which was easily fixed with a trip to the bathtub! I own four Pekins and two 3/4 month old ducklings.
 

mandijo

In the Brooder
Jul 19, 2016
9
0
14
Thanks so much for the reply! We sure do love them. What picture angle of them would be most beneficial for you and I can do that this evening. Do you think this little house/coop is sufficient for them for the winter? They were quite smaller when we picked this one. I sure hope they'll find they're way up the ramp! :)
 

lomine

Crowing
5 Years
Aug 7, 2015
2,857
2,949
356
Peyton, CO
I think I see the ramp in the background of your picture. That is way too steep for ducks. Looks like it is designed for chickens. Ducks need a very gradual ramp and even then they don't like ramps much. What you can do in winter in wrap the bottom part of your run in tarp (leave some gaps for air flow) to keep wind and snow out and give them a place to get out of the weather if they want.

My ducks don't go in their coop at all during the day, even on the coldest days. I wrap part of my run in tarp to keep out snow and that is more than enough for them. Usually it was only deep snow that kept them in the run for free range time. And if I shoveled them a path they came out. I would highly advise against using a heat lamp in your coop. They don't need it and there would be a very high fire danger.

I also have a kiddie pool for my ducks. It goes away in winter. For water I use a heated dog bowl. It's deep enough for them to dunk their heads in. On the warmer days I filled up a concrete mixing tub. It allowed them to clean themselves but is easy to empty and put away at night.
 

TheMauveDuck

In the Brooder
Apr 22, 2016
115
12
46
A profile picture probably or something like my profile picture so that their whole body is shown. The coop should be fine in the winter though I can't really see it. As long as you hold off on getting anymore ducks it should suffice. Do the two layers connect from the inside? Depending on how cold your winters are they may not want to go outside much but as someone else said you can get tarp or thick plastic to wrap around their run to protect them from the majority of the snow and wind. We had a hatch that is at least 2 feet tall and when it was open in the winter it would make their coop freezing and they'd end up bundled in the corner so we just kept it shut on really cold days. Their new run now is much more accommodated for them and doesn't need a ramp as well as it being protected by a few layers of trees.
 

mandijo

In the Brooder
Jul 19, 2016
9
0
14
OK here are two pics. In the first one, the one in front and in the second picture the one on the left are the same duck. This one is the "leader" and is very loud, it really honks more than quacks. Hope this helps! Thanks!!

 

gal5150

Songster
Mar 30, 2016
364
163
131
California
Looks like 2 hens to me! Neither appears to have a drake feather, a super cute curled feather on the tail...though it's possible for a duck to lose that feather for a myriad of reasons. At any point did your quieter one have a very distinctly curled feather on its tail? As pictured, you've got two really lovely ladies. Do you have names for them?

Yes, that coop does appear to be geared towards chickens. It's possible to modify the ramp to make it a graduated climb instead of a steep incline, though they still make balk at using it. Can you handle them easily? If so, assuming the coop is large enough for them (3-5 sq ft per bird) to comfortably use indefinitely, you may have to place them in it each night come winter.

Welcome! They're gorgeous!
 

TLWR

Crowing
10 Years
Jul 10, 2010
2,892
302
286
southern AL
At 4 months, they might not have a drake feather yet. Your best bet will be voice sexing.
Quacking - female
raspy laryngitis sounding attempt at quacking - male
 

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