Preventing frostbite on ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by PuddleSplash, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. PuddleSplash

    PuddleSplash Out Of The Brooder

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    Our ducks were out walking around in the snow ALL day - How do you make sure they don't get frostbite? What should we be looking for?
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

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    We haven't had frostbite, I am not sure what it looks like but I would think discoloration would be a symptom, and limping.

    To prevent it, I put down straw or shavings over most of the area where they will be. The Day Pen has a base of compost and I top it with fresh straw regularly. The Tea Garden, where they spend a little time especially first thing in the morning, will get some shavings sprinkled on it.

    When it snows, one of my tasks is to spread straw and-or shavings over where they will be. If I am on the ball, I cover the Day Pen and then the snow is on top and I just sweep that off, leaving the straw bedding in the pen. If I am not, then I have to rake out what I can and put fresh bedding on top.

    They also have an area that is under roof with solid walls on two sides so they can go in there, but do they? Hardly ever.

    I am nearby most of the time, so I can bring them in to the night shelter that stays above 40F if I get concerned. If I had to leave them for a longer time during the day, I would be sure they have access to a more serious shelter where they can get out of the wind and into some deep dry bedding.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Dry, draft free housing helps a lot. Usually, though they will be fine. I have more trouble here due to the facial fleshing on my Muscovy, so i will drag 'em down and put Vaseline on the flesh, some argue it does nothing, well i didn't one year and my biggest drake got a tad on his knob, they have to dunk their heads in water so that exposes that flesh to wetness often, thankfully, it was surface, healed and the next year i used my Vaseline i had no problem! i have also heard of using bag balm.

    Not had any foot issues, the circulation of the leg/feet is different to that of a human, for an example it was 18F the other day, my call ducks were swimming. Not a single issue with frost bite and they have the smallest little legs/feet like an eraser lol
     
  4. Butterflyhigh

    Butterflyhigh Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been worried about this as well.

    My ducks and one goose refuse to go to their very nice, cozy, straw-filled enclosure. Instead they sleep huddled together in the pond or right at the pond's edge. It was in the low 20's (F) a day ago and they were walking around the property with frozen droplets of water on their backs and wings! Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks states that ducks are very cold adaptable. Unlike chickens they need only a windbreak. I still am really worried about them, but they have access to three barns and their own enclosure should they choose to go in. So far I've seen them seeking shelter from the winds by nestling together against the house and in one barn, but other than that they've been happily swimming in the pond and napping in the snow.
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

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    I would be concerned about predators if they are sleeping by the pond.
     
  6. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    As would I, there is a guy around here we drive often by his farm to get to the other town, he leaves his ducks out a lot around a small pond, i recall one night seeing a fox run by... like going towards his pond! scary stuff. A sitting duck is likely to become a dead one.
     
  7. Butterflyhigh

    Butterflyhigh Out Of The Brooder

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    This pond side of my property has a large fencing running around it.

    On a side note...my grandparents lived in this home for 49 years and had about a dozen ducks and several geese at any given time. These were mostly mallards who would stop by, realize that she threw corn out to them once daily, and so never left. They would sleep in the pond and at the pond's edge. Occasionally she would loose one to a snapping turtle or fox....but this is a farm in a rural agriculture community. Loosing the occasional duck or chicken to a fox or eagle is part of life here. Life and death is a normal part of life on a farm. They were not her babies, they were her ducks. The same principals apply now to this same farm with me running it. The only difference is these are muscovy's, I have a predator proof coop that they refuse to use, and there is a fence up on that side.
     
  8. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    And why would you assume i know nothing about this? simply because i take precautions to ensure the safety of my livestock does not mean, that i think of them as my children nor that i am unaware of the life and ever present death that is exists on a farm.
     
  9. Butterflyhigh

    Butterflyhigh Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow. I never said, implied, or even assumed that you personally don't understand farm life. I was simple making a statement because that is how it is in MY life. And I made the comment about my grandmother not thinking of her ducks as children...not you. Please, don't take that so personally. I came here to make a comment about frostbite concerns and then later to defend the fact that my ducks are not in their predator proof coop...not to get into a spat.
     
  10. learycow

    learycow Overrun With Chickens

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    In response to the original question:
    I have had ducks for over 6 years and only had 1 case of "frostbite", though I don't think it got quite that far.
    I had an ancona hen that started limping one day. She didn't want to be caught so I simply didn't think much of it. I figured she had hurt herself as they free range and things do happen now and then.
    But a few ays after I noticed it, I found her outside in the snow. It was dark (I had come home late from work) and the rest of the ducks had put themselves to bed in the coop. She was the only one outside.
    When I picked her up, both feet (and part of her legs) were FROZEN. They were SO SO cold, and she couldn't move them.
    I brought her in the house and put her in a pen in my basement with a heat lamp and hay for bedding. The nest morning she could stand, but her legs didn't work properly.
    After a week in the house, she was back to normal. Each day she had a little more use of her legs than the day before. Now she is perfectly fine (this happened last winter).

    I never did figure out why it happened, and why to her and none of the others. She must have poorer circulation or something.
    But my coops are all bedding with 4-5 inches of shavings and a layer of hay/straw. This way they can nestle in it at night and warm themselves. But they INSIST on being outside during the day even in the snow. Though I do keep them in if its severe cold and windy.
    And they do seem to love snow and rain no matter what the temp is outside. They do not have nerves in their feet and legs which is what allows them to swim in cold water. So I think they may not necessarily know when they are too cold. So it is up to us, as their caretakers, to ensure they are in a warm place when it gets too cold out. Better safe than sorry!
     

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