Winter questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by stargazingmommy, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. stargazingmommy

    stargazingmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2011
    Spokane
    I'm a little slow preparing for the winter.
    My current duck pen set up is 5 ft wide and 14 ft long. The left 1/4 is river rock and their little pool. The far right side is dirt with their house, an insulated dogloo dog house(plenty big enough for the two of them, but currently only being used for the female to lay in, usually), which is filled with pine shavings currently. The center part was such nice grass with stepping stones and poultry netting over it...not anymore, its mud.
    The side with their house I have covered now. I also put a temporary "wall" on the north facing side, the south side is wood fence. The east side is open to the pen, the west is poultry netting fence. I plan on picking up some hay or straw or something like that to cover the ground in that area, the covered house area.

    stupid question of the day....How important is it for ducks to have a pool or pond available all the time. They have a separate thing of drinking water.
    Normally i empty and fill the pool daily, which i did yesterday, this morning it's got a nice layer of ice on it, which I could break and refill, except the hose is frozen. I'm considering ignoring the pool for the winter and bringing them in the house every other day or even 2 for a nice warm swim. acceptable or not?

    My white duck is dirty. like filthy, muddy, dirty. from her feet to her head, and this was before their pool froze when I cleaned it nearly every day. The brown duck may be also, but he's brown, I can't see it so it doesn't bother me.
    She looks like a poor little homeless stray that no one loves and cares for anymore. And I feel guilty she looks so ratty and dirty...It seriously doesn't seem to bother her, it's just me. Anyone else have dirty white ducks that can share so I don't feel so guilty? Before it started getting cold I brought her in the house and used some dawn to try to clean her. Thats how bad she was.

    I'm going to guess the little morons will go in their house if they get cold...but...they are morons, so who knows. Do I need to rig a door and force them in there at night? Do they possess enough brain power to go in if its cold? Should I let them have free reign of the yard all winter so they can find their own place to get out of the cold(hubby is convinced if I do this we will get up one morning to find they have taken up residence in the hot tub, 104 degrees year round).

    Should I put a heat lamp, or even just a regular 100 watt bulb in the covered area?

    Should I just tell myself dang look at how fat they are that layer of blubber will warm them up nicely and ignore them(outside of the normal chores).

    Eggs- if she continues to lay, will they still be ok if they freeze, the eggs i mean, not the duck?

    I've managed to keep them healthy and alive from easter until now, I don't want winter to ruin my track record.

    Also, we have an unfinished basement I won't hesitate to dump them in if it does get to ridiculously cold.

    and, for taking the time to read my paranoid ramblings...some pictures of my dirty duck(can't see how dirty she is in theres)

    [​IMG]

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    Here is the temporary shelter, I plan on working on it this weekend when I'm off if the weather cooperates. I plan on filling the area around their house with hay or straw, and river rock outside it

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  2. Hunter0704

    Hunter0704 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 8, 2011
    Wentzville, MO
    I hope my answers to your questions will help....I'm fairly new to having ducks mysel...all I have learned is due to all the great BYCers with their helpful ideas that are proven.

    Should I put a heat lamp, or even just a regular 100 watt bulb in the covered area?

    If the covered area is a dog house, no! Your ducks probably don't need the heat, but if they have a house there should not be any drafts in their house. Also, it needs to be ventilated towards the top of the house during the
    winter for moisture to evaporate.

    Eggs- if she continues to lay, will they still be ok if they freeze, the eggs i mean, not the duck?

    You should check for eggs early each day, several times if necessary until you figure out when they are laying them...get them before they freeze.

    Also, we have an unfinished basement I won't hesitate to dump them in if it does get to ridiculously cold.

    No need to put them in the basement if they have a duck house and are already used to being out in the cold. Putting them in heat and then outside in the cold isn't good for them.

    Do I need to rig a door and force them in there at night? Do they possess enough brain power to go in if its cold?

    If you can lock them up at night to protect them from predators, that would be great. However, ducks usually like to be outside, so just because it gets cold doesn't mean they will think about going inside. However, if they are
    in a protected area, they should be fine, but I bet they go inside.

    Should I let them have free reign of the yard all winter so they can find their own place to get out of the cold(hubby is convinced if I do this we will get up one morning to find they have taken up residence in the hot tub, 104 degrees year round).

    Due to predators, a duck house should be provided and a run should be enclosed not only on the sides, but also across the top to keep out predators.

    How important is it for ducks to have a pool or pond available all the time? I'm considering ignoring the pool for the winter and bringing them in the house every other day or even 2 for a nice warm swim. acceptable or not?

    A pool or pond is not necessary.....they can survive without swimming. If the weather is cold, I wouldn't suggest bringing them inside for baths...the weather temp fluxuations from the house temp to the outside temp may not
    be healthy for them.

    For their waterer, as you have undoubtedly seen others say on BYC, dig a hole, lay small hole fencing over it, place a fairly large waterer on that....when they drink the mess goes in to the hole and not around the waterer where
    mud puddles form and your ducks get dirty. Ducks need to be able to submerge their heads in water to clean their mouths and noses.

    Here is the temporary shelter, I plan on working on it this weekend when I'm off if the weather cooperates. I plan on filling the area around their house with hay or straw, and river rock outside it.

    River rock can cut their feet, so you don't want to use that. The preferable is sand or pea gravel in the run. Also, I'm thinking the fencing shown in the pic on the ground is it made of rubber or material and not of metal, which
    can also cut their feet. Using straw is a great idea...the best part of using straw is that it doesn't have seeds that will eventually cause weeds to grow where it is placed. I use straw to keep from having that problem in my run.
    The ducks will appreciate large fluffy nests full of straw that will keep them warm when it gets cold outside.

    Good luck with your ducks and getting your duck house finished. It takes lots of time to get it all set up, but when it's all done, it is sooooooo worth it!
     
  3. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Overrun With Chickens

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    My ducks aren't dirty, but I have a filthy white leghorn and midget white turkey, if that makes you feel any better. [​IMG]
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    I have 3 solid white muscovy hens that have been playing in the mud all day and it's raining now and dark or i would take a pic. They don't care.
     
  5. stargazingmommy

    stargazingmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2011
    Spokane
    Glad I'm not the only one with muddy ratty looking ducks. My kids keep telling me to get over my OCD.

    Predators aren't something I'm really to worried about. The worst I have to deal with is sparrows eating the duck food. .even squirrels avoid our yard because of the two dogs that chase them out. The dogs even freak if they run across the power lines over the duck pen. My cats stalk the ducks, but won't go close enough to even swat at them after a couple close encounters where they were duck attacked.
    I wish I had video of the male duck chasing the dog last week and a chicken standing there laughing.
     
  6. crazybarnlady

    crazybarnlady Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 5, 2010
    langley, BC, Canada
    Quote:I agree, all good advise! Remember, they are wearing their own down jackets and prefer to be outside most of the time. [​IMG]
     

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