runner ducks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by fleascratcher, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. fleascratcher

    fleascratcher In the Brooder

    Nov 29, 2011
    Hey, does anyone here have any runner ducks, we have 4 and are concerned about the winter effect on them. We live in northern Wis. They seem to have plenty of warm feeling down and they have adequate housing of course, but we are concerned with frostbite etc. hoping for some veteran winter advice. Thanks

  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I have a flock of Khaki Campbells, but a friend has runners. Both groups are absolutely fine in the winter. They are locked up at night, but free-range throughout the day regardless of the weather. I always say that "Chickens are tough, but ducks make them look like amateurs."

    Last winter my ducks decided they were going to go off their feed in the dead of winter. The feed sat right in front of them, but they refused to eat it. I have no idea what they were thinking. The weather was terrible- several snow storms, howling winds, temps well below 20 degrees for over a month- and my ducks refused to eat. I was worried that they were going to die from exposure or starvation or both. They went 26 days without eating a mouthful of feed. They couldn't be finding much in the forest to eat, either, because everything was buried under massive amounts of snow. I did not lose a single duck. And to this day I have no idea why they shut down like that. They would leave the house, by-pass the food dishes, park themselves in a snowbank in a line, hunker down and let the wind blow over the top of them. They would eat snow to stay hydrated because they also stayed away from their watering troughs as well. After the dead of winter passed, suddenly one day they hit the food dishes like they starving to death (they probably were). No more problems for the rest of the winter.

    My ducks have never gotten frostbite or frozen feet. They swim for most of the winter if they can find an unfrozen body of water. They love the wretched weather (snow, sleet, freezing rain) more than any creature ought to. They "swim" across the surface of the snow, and I have even caught them "sledding" down hills on their bellies. Honestly, the only thing I really worry about with them is the increased risk of predation in winter.

    I hope this helps. Good luck.

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