Winter checklist?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Cherib603, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. Cherib603

    Cherib603 Chirping

    May 23, 2016
    New Hampshire
    It's almost Aug 1st here in New Hampshire, which means only 2 more months til temps plummet.
    We are new to ducks, having received our babies in May, and we have not yet gone thru a winter.
    Very nervous about this as we usually have snow on the ground from late October to end of April.
    And Dec, Jan, Feb can be -20 with 8 feet of snow!

    Our Duck house/pen is only 10 feet from our back steps, but having nightmares about keeping a path shovelled, being able to swing the door open, keeping ducks sheltered and keeping a water dish unfrozen.

    How do you folks in cold climates deal with all of that?

  2. LovesAGoodYolk

    LovesAGoodYolk Chirping

    Sep 4, 2015
    Iroquois Cnty IL
    Use a submersible water heater. Two if necessary. I put mine in a large rubber pan. Get both from the farm store.
  3. Simple....Heated Dog Dish or Pail?
    Straw for bedding in coop. Ducks are tough...As long as they are out of the wind, they can with stand extreme temps, like -40. I live in Canada and only have an insulated Dog house I put straw bales around it, Plastic on the windy sides a tarp on the top and straw in the pen so they do not get cold feet. I run a heat lamp for my Chickens all winter but nothing for the Ducks.
  4. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chirping

    Jul 20, 2015
    New England USA
    I feel your pain and anxiety. Last year was my first year of ducks and I live around your corners of the woods, just a bit more south.

    Last year was crazy mild for a winter for us. But even with that there were days that I had to carry water filled in the bath tub down to the duck pen which is about hundred feet or so from the house.

    Number one need: WARM waterproof gloves and boots. You'll need them for the normal duck care.

    We don't have electricity down by the ducks yet so last year I used solar heated pet waterers for drinking. This year we're going to use a solar recharged marine battery to heat the water.

    We also dont have frost free taps outside yet so if you don't have them you'll want to get some faucet insulators to keep your taps from freezing until it gets ridiculously cold.

    Make a plan for what you'll do with their stock tanks if you aren't going to heat them for the season. And how you'll provide bathing water if you aren't going to heat them for the winter.

    I had plan for moving the ducks inside if we got one of the crazy 2 ft of snow storms but we never actually had one last year.

    I used hay/straw bales to block the wind around the perimeters of my pen last year. We had 3 days of -25 wind chills. I put tarps up on the pen to block that wind.

    Last year I used straw to cover the snow in the pen and in their foraging pens. This year I'm going to use hay because my local supplier of straw on ly has super stemmy straw that affordable for the non-horse keepers. I put down a section of straw so the hens would have a place to sit that wasn't directly on the snow.

    I have Cayugas and I swear they spent most of the winter weather outside. I only ever saw them inside the dog house or dogloo when they were laying eggs or take shelter from the -25 windchill for a few hours of sleep. I have oodles of pictures of them with frost on them, snow on them, etc. that I took while I was freezing my butt off caring for them.

    I fed my girls about a lot more calories over the winter.. hi fat, high protein dog food and lots of cooked root veggies.

    THe biggest hurdle for me was greens for the winter. My girls really really missed having fresh greens available to them. If you think you want to use hay or pellets or cubes, you may want to decide now so you can practice. My girls were OK about eating them but they really weren't their favorites.

    My girls started laying in December and they laid all winter long. I had to get the eggs before they froze but luckily most days every had their eggs in the shared nest by 6 am.

    I'd use your worst winter in recent history to make your plans. The only contingency I didn't have plan for was an extended power outage. We're on a well so if the power is out no water! But luckily we didn't have to deal with snowmageddon or early fall blizzards while the trees still had their leaves.

    If you have predators in your area, triple check your pen for security. Once they get hungry they can become more willing to test your pens.

    What I'm doing differently this year:

    Solar recharged battery powered water heaters
    Sprouts/fodder system to feed greens
    waste hay for snow bedding
    clear plastic covering the side of the pen
    installing frost free taps if we can work it in after all the other renovations we have planned/need to do before winter.

    what i still need a better plan for:
    how yo give the girls outside access during the week after work... my girls really miss that even when they have nothing to forage on. I dont make it home until after dark until the time changes back. Black ducks + herding dark = not my idea of a fun time :D (even though they're good girls and very herdable). Last year i just sat with them in their pen for about a half hour every night.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Just a tip about greens they miss.....Kale, Romain lettuce..Peas, Broccoli , Colslaw bags..Brussel sprouts....
    They love it all...Also Alfalfa cubes in apple juice.....Yummy!!!!.
  6. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chirping

    Jul 20, 2015
    New England USA
    I ended up buying cabbage and kale in bulk for my girls last year. It was expensive but they were happy
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016

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