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Please help with winterization confusion

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by jducour, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. jducour

    jducour Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all! We are starting to head into colder weather where I live -


    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
    Average high in °F: 38 44 53 61 71 82
    Average low in °F: 26 31 38 43 52 61
    Av. precipitation in inch: 1.46 1.5 2.2 2.32 2.09 1.14
    Days with precipitation: 10 9 10 9 8 5
    Hours of sunshine: 137 155 227 269 329 358
    Average snowfall in inch: 11 10 6 3 0 0
    Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Average high in °F: 90 89 78 65 50 40
    Average low in °F: 69 67 58 46 36 27
    Av. precipitation in inch: 0.59 0.71 1.54 1.65 1.77 1.61
    Days with precipitation: 4 6 5 6 7 9
    Hours of sunshine: 377 346 306 249 171 135
    Average snowfall in inch: 0 0 0 0 7 10


    That chart shows the averages, but we have very cold days around zero, with windchill it can feel colder. I haven't done any winterization yet, mainly because I am getting so much conflicting information. Right now, my ducks are housed at night in a solid house that isn't drafty, but has ventilation near the roof. I am afraid it isn't ventilated enough, because since adding two Pekins, most of the wood chips are getting damp through the night, either from moisture on their feathers before they go in at night - or from massive droppings. I provide food and water at night, using a bucket with nipples.

    I know I need to heat the bucket so the nipples won't freeze. There are several options online specifically for 5 gallon buckets, so I was planning on using one of those.

    Supplemental heating - I have heard so many opinions I don't know where to start. I have ducks that range from 2 lbs to 7, so I understand their needs may differ. I have seen ceramic lamp bulbs put in a regular heat lamp, so it provides warmth but not light. I could hang it from the roof, it would hang about 3' above the ducks. I worry about fire danger, so the other option is a ceramic radiant heat pad. They get very hot to the touch, so it would need to be hung from the ceiling.

    Do you have any ideas of heating that doesn't carry the risk of fire? Is it going to be necessary to heat their house at all? I have 8 ducks in a 22 sq foot house, and they cuddle up into 2-3 groups to sleep, leaving most of the space in the house open. They are only in there from dusk to dawn, and it is supplemented with light for a few hours a day.

    I would think that having less than 3 sq feet of space per duck would create a cozy sleeping area that wouldn't need supplemental heat, but I am not sure - and would hate to find out the hard way that they are too cold.

    The stream feeding the pond doesn't freeze over, so they would have access to 8" deep water from dawn to dusk. The pond will freeze over if there are several cold days in a row. THe koi hibernate at this time, so I don't plan on preventing the pond from freezing.

    Here are some pictures of my setup - I am sure most of you have seen them before - but just in case, here they are.

    Here is the inside all put together. The gap at the roof line is only ventilation - there is an identical gap i=on the other side where you can't see. I am considering adding a nesting box on that back wall - it would pop off the back and add two 18"x18" nests with a hinged lid for easier egg access. I could add additional ventilation closer to ground level if you think that would be a good idea

    [​IMG]

    This shows the empty space available - and the height from which I could add heat if necessary.

    [​IMG]

    I don't know why it is so small, but here is the outside of their house. Their stream flows just to the left of the picture, that would be their main water supply during the day.
    [​IMG]

    I appreciate you hanging on through this massive post - and please - ask any questions I haven't thought of adding here. I am going to be out of the country for 8 days in three weeks, so I need to be prepared for anything while my Dad is taking care of the ducks for me. I won't be reachable by phone, so he will be on his own. I can't stand the thought of me not being prepared for the cold, and the ducks suffering in any way.
     
  2. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Colorado Springs, CO
    I believe your ducks should be fine without supplemental heat. I would be more concerned about ventilation than heat. You don't have enough ventilation for the amount of ducks you have in the space, especially if your shavings feel wet. Ducks produce a lot of moisture when they breath so that and their droppings are likely where the moisture is coming from. You also need to be aware of the build up of ammonia in the coop without adequate air flow. It is not good for the ducks to be breathing it in.

    Are those functioning windows on the sides and front? I can't tell from the picture. You could leave those open. I would not add ventilation at ground level, that could expose your ducks to a breeze and you don't want that. Higher up is better. Are your eaves completely closed off? You can also add vents there if they are. They sell vents just for eaves that are long and thin that could be added.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. jducour

    jducour Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I am worried about ventilation too. I think it was fine with 6 ducks, but not 8. Those are functioning windows, we always close them at night though. They aren't covered with metal cloth - only screened, so I don't trust to leave them open to predators. I can certainly add the metal cloth to the windows though, and leave them open. Don't you think that would be too chilly at night though? Or would it be ok since they are both on the same side, so there wouldn't be a cross wind?
     
  4. Carcajou

    Carcajou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ventilation is very important. As long as it is above the the level of their heads it will be okay. I have ventilation on three sides of my coop with awnings over the hardware cloth vents so snow and rain don't blow in. I use no alternative heat and our average Jan and Feb temps can be below 20 degrees F with the high for the day at 20 or less and we can get a few nights at 20 below or colder. Ducks are well insulated for this type of weather. My coop has the 2x4 studs exposed and I secure hay bale sections between them in ( which I will be doing soon) for the winter for added insulation. I don't put food or water in the coop as it becomes messy in a hurry. Since you have an outdoor water source that does not freeze as I do that should be fine for them. Mine do quite well only eating and drinking during the time they are outside during the day.

    I did try the first winter I used the coop I am still using to pipe water from my spring into the coop, into a bucket with an overflow that went back into the pond. I had a screened floor under this. They still made a mess of the house and I had to change a lot of the bedding every 2 or 3 days because they just soaked it.
     
  5. stryker

    stryker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It looks like you are getting ready just fine. I believe that ducks are quite tough as we have wild geese on the river that stay around when it gets -35 to -40 deg F for weeks at a time. I am sure they will be fine just like those before me mention. I would just keep them out of the wind but have ventilation. Those temps that you mentioned are higher than what my chickens are in in the middle to end of winter and I have heat. Good luck.
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    @jducour I have windows in my houses that open from the bottom and top during winter I open the tops up that way they have adequate air flow but no wind blowing right over them.When it gets really cold down into 20's and below I close all the windows facing west and north and only leave the tops of the south and east facing window open.I also have vents around the tops of my houses so hot humid air can escape. We put hardware cloth over all the windows on the outside and removed the screens. [these were windows we took out of our house when we had new windows installed.]
     
  7. jducour

    jducour Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I went to the feed store today and bought hardware cloth for all the windows. I will add it tomorrow, along with the nesting box extension, but I won't add any additional vents yet. Thanks for all of the advice!
     
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    [​IMG] you may not have to if you already have some up top.
     
  9. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Colorado Springs, CO

    I think that's a good plan. You can always add more vents later if you find you still have too much moisture. I forgot to say before, Your coop is very cute. I like the shutters on the windows.
     
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    X2!!
     

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