Overwintering Ducks in Alaska

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ancona_crazy, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. ancona_crazy

    ancona_crazy Out Of The Brooder

    33
    0
    22
    Nov 11, 2011
    This will be my first year overwintering ducks. I was hoping to find out how cold is too cold for me to let them outside or to play in water. The wild ducks around here play in the water all year round in an area that has run off keeping it thawed out. However, this seems too cold.

    Also, If they lay eggs in all that layered composting poo it seems that those eggs should be thrown away or only used for hatching, what are your thoughts on this?
     
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Well, where in Alaska? Just how cold will you get?

    Where I am (rarely -10 for a week) people keep ducks happy with just a three sided shelter and unfrozen drinking water.

    I would take the pond/swimable water away once it is cold enough that everything stays frozen. But, not because of the ducks comfort, but for my ease. I have a big enough problem with ice slicks and ice chunks surrounding my coop, just from emptying out their waterer all winter long, it would drive me batty to add more water to that.
     
  3. ancona_crazy

    ancona_crazy Out Of The Brooder

    33
    0
    22
    Nov 11, 2011
    It gets to -50 below sometimes. I usually let them wander the yard during the day.
     
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Well, then double on my previous water comments.

    As to the eggs....

    In the winter, all the bedding and poop freezes solid my coop. I toss fresh wood chips on top whenever it starts to look scary. So, the eggs wouldn't be that dirty.

    I do have problems with frozen eggs, but they still cook and taste just fine.
     
  5. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,485
    320
    246
    Apr 1, 2011
    Southern Maine
    Ducks fare very well in the cold

    I am in southern Maine and we gets a lot of snow and it gets very cold here.

    If you have a coop for them, use shavings and hay/straw for bedding. I try to keep 6-8 inches of it. That way they have a warm place to snuggle into to keep warm. It also helps keep the eggs from freezing (you may want to collect eggs as early in the morning as you can before they have a chance to freeze).
    I keep the water outside for mine. This helps keep the coops dry and less messy.
    But be sure you can give them fresh water throughout the day. I have a low-to-the-ground sheep trough that holds 100 gallons. I put a water heater in it during the winter and change the water once a week. But add water daily to keep it full.
    Or you can use rubbermaid tubs that way they won't break if the water freezes in them.

    I let mine go out and free range every day as they LOVE the snow and the cold doesn't seem to bother them. I do keep them in though if it's a very windy, cold day or during a blizzard (though they get MAD when I make them stay in!)

    Ducks don't have nerves in their feet or legs which allows them to stay in cold water. But that's why I keep deep bedding in the coops. So they can warm themselves after.

    You may want to put a heat lamp in your coop as well. I do just for the light, but it also helps if you have some wet ducks that need a little extra help drying off and warming up.

    As for the eggs, as long as you wash them before you eat them you should be all set. But I would NOT eat eggs that freeze and crack. That allows bacteria to get into the eggs even though it's frozen. I wouldn't risk it
     
  6. FishiePond

    FishiePond New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Oct 22, 2013
    Thank you both for your response. It means a lot to get advise from experienced duck keepers!
     
  7. ancona_crazy

    ancona_crazy Out Of The Brooder

    33
    0
    22
    Nov 11, 2011
    Sorry, Fishie Pond is my daughter, she must have logged on earlier and forgot to log out. [​IMG]
     
  8. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,485
    320
    246
    Apr 1, 2011
    Southern Maine
    [​IMG]
    Love the name!
     
  9. ancona_crazy

    ancona_crazy Out Of The Brooder

    33
    0
    22
    Nov 11, 2011
    I'll tell her :)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by