Pekins surviving a MN winter - Help!!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by SteffieInMN, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. SteffieInMN

    SteffieInMN Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2007
    Hi all - Newbie here, this is my first post. While I don't have chickens, I recently adopted 3 Pekins (2 drakes, 1 hen), saved from the freezer after the county fair. [​IMG]

    All has been going well so far - they have a great life here, free range during the day over my 5 acre yard, great protection at night in my old round mesh corn crib. It's time to think winter, however, and I'm looking for advice on what exactly they will need.

    Can I keep them in the corn crib with a dog house as shelter? Is that not enough? Do I need to move them into a coop-like environment? If so, I'd better get building...

    I'm in southern MN, about 35 miles south of the Twin Cities metro area. It gets really cold here - -20, sometimes well below zero for several days at a stretch.

    I obviously need to get a water heater, but my question is more about what kind of shelter the ducks themselves require. Would they be ok in a doghouse, or do they need a structure?

    Thanks...
     
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Hi, and welcome to the BYC! Im not a duck "expert" but I had several last winter...free range. They just settled down in the snow, by my truck, and did fine. I had a place for them to go into, they just preferred to NOT go in there....clean straw...out of the snow and ice...nope, they seemed to like it. I just made sure there was plenty water...and added LOTS of corn to thier diet for warmth. A dog house would be great for them, if they will use it. Now....on the numbers you have. That poor hen! Come spring...you will have to either put one drake up...or put the female up...for safety. They will mate her to death! You really need to think about getting at least 2 more hens! LOL ( yes, I am an enabler! )
     
  3. SteffieInMN

    SteffieInMN Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2007
    Yes, I totally hear you...I've already observed the teenage behavior from these two boys. They seem to have enough space to chase each other off so no major problems yet.
    When my neighbor dropped off the pair, I thought I was all set, until he came back an hour later with Mr. "Reserve Grand Champion" - how could I say no to a purple ribbon winner? Haa

    So they will really be OK in sub-zero weather, as long as I keep their water unfrozen? I'll take your word for it, as I don't have anything that's completely predator-proof under a cover, unless I start building. Is the predator issue more of a concern than the weather?

    My predators are many - I'm in MN farm country - racoons, possums, fox, coyotes, hawks, eagles, feral cats, possible neighbor dogs, but so far so good on that one.
     
  4. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Ducks do well here in Canada(that chunk of frozen land north of you...EH!) [​IMG]

    Give them a building to shelter in or dog house. Water to drink, good food and they will be fine.
     
  5. billson1

    billson1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2007
    lecenter minnesota
    hi i live by lecenter mn and yes ducks will do fine in the winter as long as trhey have feed and water,you can have a place for them to go into but believe me they would rather lay on a bunch of fresh snow and they love to eat snow also
     
  6. SteffieInMN

    SteffieInMN Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2007
    hey everyone - thanks for replying. I totally appreciate it. I feel much better already, knowing that I don't have to build a fanc-y heated coop this weekend for these friends.

    Maybe I'll build a coop anyway and actually get some chickens! [​IMG]
     
  7. rudysmom

    rudysmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Dexter, MN
    If you decide to get some chickens, the ducks will get along fine with them. I have my 11 ducks trained to go in the coop with the chickens at dark so they can be locked up safely and then let them free-range during the day. They got smart quick when one of them got killed by something during the night. A kiddie pool for swimming is nice too but not in the winter obviously. I bought one of those heated water buckets last year and they loved it. They could still duck their heads a little and clean out their noses but not get in and make a mess in the coop.
     
  8. SandraChick

    SandraChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    To address one of your other concerns....YES predators will be a higher concern than a coop.

    Especially in colder weather...predators will be seeking out the easiest meal, and unprotected flocks of ducks, and chickens are easy.

    I'm a big fan of electric fence if you can.....

    periodically adding a piece of hot dog or other treat on the wire ensures a good zap for any predators nearby...they'll know to stay away. Also, roaming dogs can be even worse than "natural" predators...

    Sandra
     
  9. rudysmom

    rudysmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Dexter, MN
    SandraChick is absolutely right, that's why I trained mine to go into the locked coop with the chickens at night. The entire inside is wrapped in 1/4" wire, the guys that remodeled the barn for me called it "the fortress"! The raccoons, coyotes, and stray dogs are hard on poultry.
     

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