tub instead of real pond ok? and what about in Canadian winters?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by patandchickens, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Probably these have been discussed to death so if you can point me to existing threads that's just fine -- but searching or browsing back a few pages' worth did not really help, so I am wasting bandwidth actually asking this here because I am seriously considering some Cayugas for next spring.

    1) we are on low wet ground but have no pond and b/c the well is centrally located and shallow-dug, I am not constructing a real pond, either. Nor am I going to blow through large quantities of water refilling and dumping a several-hundred-gallon manmade pond all the time. Do you feel that ducks can be reasonably happy with just a shallow tub, maybe the sort of shallow 2x3' thing used for feeding small livestock, or smaller? Or would they be miserable without something to really swim in?

    2) we are in southern Canada but still north enough that I have to run heated water buckets for the horses for 4-5 months of the year. Nowhere to bring ducks indoors overwinter (except chicken bldg, but do not want to humidify it that much), so they would have only a smallish unheated shed. Would bringing them a fortex pan of thawed water a couple times a day be sufficient, or not? If not, is it *safe* to give them heated-to-not-freeze water when it is like -25 F out? (I have read you shouldn't do that with birdbaths for wild birds up here, as they get iced beaks/eyeballs and frostbite, but maybe ducks are different since they are after all waterfowl?) What do people in real cold winter areas do?

    Thanks for any suggestions, opinions, or pointers to good threads,


  2. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    I can't answer your winter question, but I can answer the tub--yes, they'll be fine. As long as they can submerge their entire head to clear their nostrils, they don't have to have a full-fledged pond. Many folks on here use kiddie pools, which are large enough for them to get into and paddle around but small enough to be easy & cheap to dump and refill. They *will* get *into* (all the way into) any water they can reach, so prepare to clean the tub every day at least, because it will get filthy.

    Good luck!
  3. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    I have call duck mixes. Our winters dip to -15 at times usually in January but last December we had a -11 night (surprise!). Our ducks live outdoors, no built shelter – they do have dog houses and dog igloos to snuggle in if wished and I spread hay on the ground or after a new snow fall.

    My waters are cat pans and kiddie swimming pools. In winter, I bust the ice on their water, use a pitch fork to remove the ice (helps keep the water from freezing back up as fast) – I do this a couple times during the day. During the warm part of the day, I change their water – coldest part of the year I change the kiddie pools every other day. Our ducks jump in to the pool as soon as I clear the ice – often their backs frost up – but they do not seem to care.

    I fill all my water containers with the garden hose – draining after use so it does not freeze. We also are on a well - I like to watch the "steam" rise when I fill the pools in the winter. One thing I do have to watch for – my oldest duck (she Henry is 9 years) has trouble getting out of the water once the edge ices up – so I check before I go to bed to be sure she has not taken a bath before bed.
  4. toletiquesbysam

    toletiquesbysam Songster

    Sep 19, 2008
    I had a kiddie pool for my geese/ducks to use this summer but Oct was colder and didn't want to continue draining it over the winter so moved it to the barn to store. I have a smaller feeder pan, I purchased at TSC, I have a few of them and use one under the waterer in the coop so the water area doesn't get too messy.

    I fill this with water daily and the ducks/geese can submerge their heads/bills in it to cleanse and occasionally one will hop in but otherwise that will be the only "pool/pond" they will have this winter.

    If you read this from Holderread they do not need water to cleanse themselves, alot of people have ducks with no pond or pools for them!


  5. Shadowhills Farm

    Shadowhills Farm Songster

    Nov 14, 2009
    Crystal River, Fl
    We have a kiddie pool we bought from Wal-Mart for about 15 bucks. All of our ducks hop into it, and when it gets dirty enough, we siphon the water out with a hose and then scrub the algae and whatnot, rinse, then refill. Very easy to clean and pick up and flip over.
  6. sianara

    sianara Songster

    Apr 27, 2007
    Central MA
    During the winter months, they get one black rubber pan of water like toletiquesbysam shows. Every day, I fill it with warm water so it doesn't freeze too quickly. It's just enough for all 3 ducks to preen themselves and that's all they get. I've been doing this for 6 winters now and they have been fine. Of course, the more ducks you have the more area you will need.
  7. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    I have muscovies who don't really swim around and spend all day on the water like other waterfowl do. Mine take dips in the water now and then and over winter I've seen them hopping into the horse "tank" (its a large rubber container, not sure how many gallons but its about as big as the horse herself)
    I have a floating de-icer in that during the winter months, and it doesn't seem to bother the ducks, it keeps the water just above freezing.

    My ducks share the coop with the chickens, they're locked up every night.

    Edit to add: One of my muscovy males almost froze last year, it seems he went swimming and then got out, wasn't oily enough I don't think and his feathers got wet, poor boy was frozen stiff when I found him, brought him in the house for a quick dip in a cold bath tub, defrosted him, dried him off and put him back out as fast as I could, so he wouldn't get too used to the warm house. He was fine after that.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009

  8. taraann81

    taraann81 Songster

    Apr 9, 2009
    Hey there. I'm in south western ontario about an hr from Windsor! Our ducks are fine in an unheated shed in the winter. We just bring them out water twice a day and make sure its in a dish deep enough that they can get there whole heads in(at least up to their nostrils). Our ducks come out on all but the very coldest days of the year. The cold just doesn't seem to bother them as much as the chickens.

    You'll love ducks!

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