To light or not to light?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ducksielover, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. ducksielover

    ducksielover New Egg

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    Jan 26, 2013
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    We have two beloved Rouen drakes. Here in Michigan the temps have been hovering in the single digits/negatives at night. We have a small enclosed duck house with a caged run. The door between the two is a towel, because they are terrified when we use anything else. The enclosed house where they sleep at night has a 125watt heat lamp that keeps the temperature roughly 40 degrees higher than the outside. Is this too warm? Does it "shock" them and make it more difficult for them to acclimate? When the outdoor temps reach the teens, we let them out during the day, but they stay close, sitting and shivering.
    Thanks in advance for the advice!!!!
     
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    [​IMG]. Yes when people use heat in the coop it does often make it much harder for the ducks to adjust once they leave the coop. Especially when the difference is that much. Is the coop draft free? What bedding are you using?
     
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    40 degrees higher? that is definitely too much of an extreme. How large is this house? i would down size the wattage of the bulb if you don't want to remove it.

    I do understand concerns with the cold, we've been terrible here this past week, one morning was -26C so i just kept all my ducks in they were out today because the temp had finally come 'round to less than double digit negatives.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    My ducks are in an unheated but very well insulated walkout basement. It's probably near 40F in there. That is no problem in regards to temperatures differences when outside temps are 20, 25F or so.

    This week's been near 0F at night, teens during the day, and they have gone out a few times but come in pretty quickly, as in five minutes.

    I always try to temper the good advice about not subjecting ducks to extreme and fast changes in temperatures, with looking at the temps we are talking about. If it's 0F outside, I would not want to keep the duckhouse at -10 to 10 above just so that the comparative temperatures are reasonably close. I would rather keep the ducks indoors at a cool - say, 35 to 40 - for the most part until outdoor temperatures are a little more friendly toward small waterfowl. But then, I have a small flock of small ducks with a roomy shelter.

    If the shelter is rather small, that's not a straightforward decision, since space needs play a part in the decision. I have also thought about the ducks' feathers. They insulate, and so they help mitigate changes in temperature to some extent, I would think.

    Each duck, each flock is unique. Larger breeds to better at lower temperatures, generally speaking. Ducks struggling with a health problem need milder conditions.
     
  5. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm with Amiga. We've been experiencing 25 below actual temps and winds chills in the 29 below or lower range. I don't let my ducks or geese out when it is this cold. I have a 250 watt heat lamp going in their house. This building, well insulated, has 2 rooms, one at 12x8' and the other at 6x12'. This one bulb and their body temperature keeps their water from freezing for the most part. Not having to worry about them getting frostbite is a plus for me. Others may not agree, but here, I would rather err on the side of caution during these extremes.

    Today, I allowed them access to their outside pen, some stayed out for the 4 hours their door was open, others, went back inside after a half hour or so and stayed there. They are smarter than we are and know when they have had enough. Some went in and out. They would go in under the light and then venture right back outside again to enjoy the sunshine. My own opinion, but I think adding a heat source they are able to get away from is a good idea. To each his own.
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I think Haunted55 brings up a good point, which is something I always thought about with brooding ducklings, but didn't - consciously, at least - apply to adult housing. Giving the ducks a warmer spot that they can move away from. Right near the door and under the windows it's cooler than it is several feet away in our winter shelter. Based on the poop patterns I clean up daily (I love my work), some of the ducks hang out by the door and windows, some stay as far away as they can get. A few like to be up higher than the others, and hop up on straw bales, which are near the windows.

    Hmmm.

    I trust Kevin565 and Going Quackers - they are thoughtful and helpful, so I am not trying to contradict them. I just wanted to toss in some ideas to round out the discussion. Duck Forum members are from all over the globe, and I find myself making assumptions before stepping back to ask myself what part of the world the question is coming from. I think even which side of a hill one lives on can affect decisions one makes about flock management. As I have written before, we live in a "holler," or hollow, the lower west side of a small valley. The sun doesn't hit the Day Pen till after 10 a.m. most of the time. So I prefer to let the ducks into the Day Pen on cold (around freezing) sunny days after the sun hits it.
     
  7. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't think your being contradicting Amiga, I do think each person has to evaluate there own situation but if the OP was accurate with a 40 degree difference in outside to the building they are kept that does worry me... I find my Muscovy struggle with temps in the negative double digits BUT being in my part of the world we can honestly be in a light coat in the start of a week and bundled to the max by weeks end, so i have to be careful to balance there comfort with reality.

    Hopefully, OP can chime in, perhaps they mistyped the info... it's a hard balance, no one wants to cause harm to their birds but at the same time they cannot live inside for at least my part of the world for what can become months at a time because they are to accustomed to temps not realistic to the area i am in at the current season.
     
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Thanks, Going Quackers, it can be months where you are. Wow. You are tough. By the way, your post just reminded me to ask this question. 40F or 40C?
     
  9. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Oh I completely love to hear information on the subject from people who have actually experienced it. Here in Texas it rarely gets below 30 during the winter so I've never had to really worry about the birds. The coldest they've ever had to deal with was probably around 15 degrees. I honestly don't know how you guys can deal with this cold. Anything below 40 leaves me absolutely freezing outside [​IMG]
     
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    A little off-topic, but sometimes I wonder about building a shelter where it can get stinkin' hot, having something built into a hillside, half subterranean, with a green roof (planted in sod, for example). Like a Hobbit house. Once again, our walkout basement is really helpful when it is above 95F here. I take the ducks for a timeout mid afternoon if it seems they need it, for a couple of hours to cool off. Do unto ducks as you would have done unto you may actually be my management approach. There are times that just wouldn't work, I am sure.

    But a Hobbit house might really help in winter, too. I think Sepp Holzer has barns set into the hillside at his farm.
     

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