Protecting Ducks in Snowy Weather

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by downeastthunderfarm, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. downeastthunderfarm

    downeastthunderfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 24, 2011
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    Thankfully, we only got a few inches of wet snow out of this October storm to hit the East coast. I clearly wasn't ready for it. We're entering our first winter with ducks. I keep their duck play area covered with netting as a precaution given our resident hawk.

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    A few inches of slushy snow today destroyed the netting. Once I cleared away the debris of the snow-laden, torn netting I let the ducks out of their covered enclosure into their play area. Surprisingly (to duck novice me) they didn't seem to mind the snow.

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    Nor did they mind swimming in slushy, icy water.

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    Now that my protective netting is no more, I'm wondering what to do. Do I really need to worry about the hawk? Am I too over protective? Do I get new netting and roll it out on sunny days and let the ducks out then? Then roll it back up when we're expecting precipitation?

    Short of building a cover over their play area, what do other folks do?
     
  2. evansacres

    evansacres Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 29, 2011
    The ducks definitely don't mind the snow [​IMG] Last winter mine spent the majority of the time outside -even in blowing snow - I think only in the freezing rain did they go back into their duck house!! As for your resident Hawk...not sure what to tell you on that one. I have a red tailed hawk around, however it doesn't seem to be the least bit concerned about the ducks (who free range all day long from 7:00 a.m. until 5:30-6:00 pm.) I don't have a cover over my run either, but the fencing is 4 feet tall and the area would make it difficult for the hawk to get into and out of with a duck in tow...not that it can't happen [​IMG] The ducks keep a keen eye on the hawk when it is in the area and I have seen them move to a more protected area if it gets too close for comfort!! Great pics by the way - so glad we don't have the snow yet though [​IMG]
     
  3. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 30, 2009
    Goshen, OH
    Are the posts of the run sturdy enough to bend PVC pipe over to make a "tunnel" looking roof frame to attach a sturdier wire to? Do you have the same netting on the sides too? It'll get brittle if it's the plastic stuff too when it starts getting really cold.

    The ducks will be just fine. They have 3 times as many feathers as chickens plus the oil coating to waterproof themselves. They're very well insulated.

    Do you have enough inside space for them for when you get really deep snow? Or will you shovel out the run to make sure they can get out?

    The hawk looks more like a vulture.. has that kind of shape. Or an eagle. Seems way too big to be a hawk. Maybe it's one of the harmless birds that only eats dead stuff. If it isn't though... it looks big enough to take a grown duck. We have those that circle all day but never come down unless there's roadkill. Then we have smaller red tail hawks and falcons that will sit in the trees and watch the chickens/ducks and terrorize the local squirrels and doves/pigeons.
     
  4. RunnerWhisperer

    RunnerWhisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a hawk that has made it's presence known the last few months. I know he's around or close because I hear the crows squaking at it trying to drive it away. I have to say I am very glad we have a lot of crows that nest in the tree's around where I live. They constantly harass the poor hawk until it fly's away. Not far I'm sure. It is a red tailed hawk for sure but a small one so I'm not sure he would go for my ducks and dogs. Maybe my cat!? I can't wait to see my ducks in their first snow this year. So far they don't seem to mind the cold weather and rain at all. It's been around 35 to 40 in the AM and typically between 50-60 during the day, they seem to be just fine! I do notice that their eggs are nice and chilled when I go out and collect thim in the mornings now. I have yet to put a good roof on their pen but it is my next project. Right now I have a huge folded tarp which collects water and drips inside and creates some wet areas. I use a lot of straw right now to help give them some dryness besides just thier dog house. It has been getting pretty smelly now that I have been using straw. I pile it on top of old straw and then on the weekend rake it out and put down fresh straw. It's pretty stinky at the end of the week!
     
  5. pekinsRus

    pekinsRus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2011
    The crows go crazy cawing & our Pekins tilt their heads & look up & scurry closer to the house.
     
  6. bayyjayy

    bayyjayy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 5, 2011
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    Last year was our first year with ducks, and I was SO nervous........I thought for SURE they were gonna freeze to death. Every morning I would go out and break the ice on their pond, use a shovel to get the pieces of floating ice out, and man oh man were those ducks excited to get in that water!!!! FROZEN ice on top, and they were LOVING getting in. They slept on our pond when they could. I am still surprised how much they like the cold...COMPLETE opposite of me!
     
  7. downeastthunderfarm

    downeastthunderfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 24, 2011
    Maine
    Thanks for all of your replies. I'm feeling a little less worried than I was. To follow up on a couple of your questions...

    They are pretty wary of the hawk. You'll notice in that picture they are in their pen, under cover.

    Since the hawk picture, their house has had a bit of a makeover. This was adapted from a chicken run. The house now looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    We've got the materials to raise the roof on the pen part at a similar slant so the snow will fall slide off and give them a bit more headroom. Next weekend's project. It wasn't supposed to snow quite so soon!

    The sides of their play area have a mix of metal poles and fiberglass. The sides a heavy plastic mesh. I like the idea of the PVC "tunnel." Something to think about for the future. Thanks for the idea.
     
  8. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    I hate to say it but, I wasn't planning on doing anything for mine. My goose stays out in it all winter and it doesn't to affect him so I am sure the ducks will adjust
     
  9. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    NEWS FLASH !!!!!! Ducks and Geese love the cold weather, snow, ice, sub zero, blowing white out's, the more the better they love it. What will hurt them is protecting them from the elements, they won't develop their under down feathers and needed oils, so they will struggle in the cold if you pamper them like pet's and deny them the cold everyday.
     
  10. DUCKGIRL89

    DUCKGIRL89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    TN
    Do you all think that is big/warm enough for three adult ducks?

    [​IMG]
    If its not please let me know! They get fresh straw every three to four days!
     

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