Winter Runners!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by sarahc63, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. sarahc63

    sarahc63 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2016
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    Hi all!

    I have two Indian Runners that are almost 5 months old. They are my first ducks and this will be their first winter. All my research says ducks are extremely cold hardy, but I have read that runners might not stand up to the cold as well because they are smaller and more upright than most other breeds. My runners are definitely on the small side (a little over 3lbs) so I'm a bit worried about how they will hold up out there.

    I live in southwestern Ohio near Cincinnati, so our winters aren't terrible (given I'm originally from north of Toronto, Canada). It will get down to about 20F at night and 40F in the day. I have been giving the ducks some cracked corn in addition to their other snacks in hope of fattening them up for winter. Their coop seals up well to prevent drafts (except for ventilation holes) and I have lots of straw inside.

    My DH seems to think we will be torturing our poor birds if we don't provide them with a heat source. What do you guys do to keep your ducks warm in winter? Do you recommend heating the coop given these temps?

    Thanks!!

    Bonus picture of my runners
    [​IMG]
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    New Jersey
    Keep their coop dry and draft free and they will be fine without supplemental heating. A heated water source or watering several times a day may be necessary.
     
  3. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Your Runners will be fine.....Put clear plastic around the run to block out wind...Straw bales are great for warmth......Heat for Ducks is not needed......A heated pail for water works great.......Mine live in an insulated Dog house and a Dog Run as a pen.....

    They do great.....

    Cheers!
     
  4. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your duckies are super cute!

    I've got five Runners, and I live in northern Montana. Mine spent all of last winter in their outside run. They had a nice snug coop to go into, with a deep layer of pine shavings to snuggle into, but they rarely used it. They loved the cold! Hopefully you get some snow and ice, mine thought that was the greatest treat ever. It was funny because all around the run was cleared out of snow as far as their necks could reach. I'd toss a snowball in their run for them to dabble in, they loved it!
    [​IMG]
     
    2 people like this.
  5. sarahc63

    sarahc63 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2016
    Ohio
    Thanks for the reassurance all! I picked up a large heated water bowl so my ducks are all set for winter.

    @Adalida Love your flock, your ducks are adorable (and so is the sneaky chicken in the corner)! I hope we get some snow so I can see how mine will react to it!
     
  6. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last year was my first winter with our duckies. We have runners too. Ours range from 3.8lb-5 lbs. They did just fine. Only on the coldest days ( when it dropped into the negatives), did they want to stay in their house and I would close them in. They spent the majority of their winter with one of two doors open on the house open to the secure run area day and night. During the day the secure run would be open and they could "free range" in a much bigger fenced area. I was constantly worried about them, being my first winter with them, but they just laughed at me. Though, they don't like cold feet, so I did put straw down on top of the snow in their night run and in parts of the larger day time area. They pretty much stuck to the straw areas. If their feet are cold you will see them lay down suddenly on their feet in the snow. I wish mine were like the commenter from Montana, eating all the snow around their enclosure.....how funny!

    Oh and heated water bowls is a must for us up here, not sure if your water would freeze over night down there or not but a good idea to have one just incase.

    Good luck. Let us all know how it goes. Your ducklets are super cute by the way!
     
  7. DuckMD

    DuckMD Just Hatched

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    Aug 27, 2016
    Beautiful Runners, Sarah
     
  8. sarahc63

    sarahc63 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2016
    Ohio
    Thanks @duckitup and @DuckMD !

    Just curious, do your ducks usually lay all winter long? One of my ducks started laying about 2 weeks ago even though the daylight hours were already getting shorter. She's had an egg a day since!
     
  9. DuckMD

    DuckMD Just Hatched

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    I have read so many varying accounts of the effects of darkness I decided to just wait and see what they do in February when they reach the point of laying. Some people get few or no eggs during winter, others report only a small reduction in egg production. Sorry I'm not more help.
     
  10. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ours were too young to lay winter so I have no idea. We did get a 3 yr old just before winter. And her first egg was in dec. The rest started laying in March
     

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