Winter time swimming options???

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Ranchgirl2, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. Ranchgirl2

    Ranchgirl2 Hatching

    Nov 9, 2010
    So I became a mother to 4 adorable ducklings back in May. I was suppose to get 2 hens and 2 drakes, but ended up with 3 drakes and 1 hen. There are 2 Rouen's & 2 Cayuga's. All summer long and up until a few weeks ago they have had a small man made pond to swim in and enjoyed it everyday. I had to take it down due to our very cold temperatures as winter approaches and it was freezing everyday. I keep 2 small (10 in.) plastic tubs in their run that I fill with warm water in the a.m. But the ducks get in it and try to take a bath so to speak and swim. I want them to still be able to go for a swim if they like during the winter months. Any advice for cheap options of containers for them? Need something that can be easily cleaned and have water hosed into it.

    Little off topic, but is it a big deal that I have only the 1 hen with 3 drakes? Should I get more hens this Spring? What is a proper ratio?

  2. K4zn4v3

    K4zn4v3 Chirping

    Oct 16, 2010
    The easiest soultution for the swimming in the winter is a water tank heater. They are made for cattle water troughs to keep them from freezing. I just saw one at tractor supply the other day for like $20. They make ones that float and ones that sink, I would recomend a sinking heater so it doesnt get in the ducks way or anything. As for the drake to hen ratio, you are deffinetly going to need to get more hens. You want at least 3 hens per drake to prevent the drakes from fighting and to prevent the hens from being overbred. I Here is a link to a water tank heater.
  3. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    1500 watts that will be a nice little electricity bill. I would also get one the has a cover on it for extra safety.
    We already have freezing temps up here in the mountains. The kiddie pool is still in use, but we break up the ice first thing in the morning. They don't mind going in with ice floating in it. They also manage to keep it defrosted for the day. Eventually we will have to take the kiddie pool away. At that point it will be concrete mixing tubs with warm water. They will be fine, and don't even need swimming water.

    The drake hen ratio you have is a big problem. The drakes can drown the hen if they decide to mount here simultaneously, which is not uncommon at all. They can also break her legs, if they decide to do so on land. The normal flock ratio is 1 drake for 3-9 hens. The larger the flock the less drakes you want. I have reduced my drakes to one drake with eight hens. I'm surprised yours haven't had any fights yet. Aren't they overbreeding her? Missing feathers and bare spots are the big sign. It will happens eventually, but it could be really happening in spring. Hard to tell when they go into their heavy breeding phase.
  4. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Songster

    Nov 13, 2009
    Boonsboro MD
    I use a giant rubber feed bowl (~20" diameter and maybe 14" deep) with a floating de-icer in it, which ran me around $30 from TSC. I think they are used as pond de-icers too. No heating element is exposed and it is pretty cool to the touch. I can't remember the wattage, but it wasn't enough to notice a difference in my electric bill. When it's really cold, there will be ice chunks floating around, but not enough to keep the ducks from getting in and floating around. Because the rubber bowl is flexible, it is easier to break up ice if I'm not using the de-icer. I only use the de-icer for hard freezes. I put a cement block beside the bowl for my little duck to be able to climb in more easily.

    See how your drakes and ducks act. I have 2 Pekin drakes (well the little one is probably part call duck) and one female Pekin and the boys have always been total gentlemen around her. I got really lucky there. But they are ruthless cads when they have had access to my Muscovy girl, with the big guy trying to get on top and the little guy hanging off the side. I keep them separated, but the girl keeps flirting with the boys through the fence.

    It's possible that since your ducks were raised together since they were little that there might not be a big problem. But definitely keep an eye out and keep your options open-better safe than sorry. Duck mating looks sooo ruthless.
  5. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Songster

    Nov 13, 2009
    Boonsboro MD
    I just checked the de-icer I think I have and it is 1250 watts, so it is a lot. But it has a feature where it only comes on when the temperative dips below a certain level. If it's cold enough where you are already to have hard freezes, it sounds like you'll need a little help anyway to keep unfrozen water no matter what you use, be it bucket or "pool." Otherwise you'll be breaking up ice yourself umpteen times a day since ducks always need access to enough water to at least dunk their bills in.

    My ducks were completely unphased by the thing floating around in their "pool" and I never had a problem with it getting knocked out either.
  6. Ranchgirl2

    Ranchgirl2 Hatching

    Nov 9, 2010
    Thanks all for the reply. I will check into all those options and figure out the best way to provide them with a little more "play" water.

    As for my drakes & hen....I have seen 0% mating behavior in them. The drakes are very good with the hen and have never tried anything with her. Alot of the time the drakes will hang out and the hen will explore on her own. I know this will probably become more of a problem this spring. I will keep a close eye on them. Can't wait to have this conversation, "honey I think I need more ducks!" [​IMG]
  7. Hattiegun

    Hattiegun Songster

    Quote:from what I learned from everyone here ther is NO such thing as 0% behavior in those goofie boy ducks... LOL I am a newbie and my babies are now 8 months old, and I was HORRIFIED when I first saw "it" goin on.... ahhhhhhhhhhh its sooooo aweful and i dont think Ill ever get used to it ---ugggghhhh ... their first spring tho was minimal BUT I am getting more girls next spring I have 2boys and 2 girl call ducks right now but I will NOT take any chance of my girls being overbred!!!! It would break your heart to know all those boys were hitting on the one little girl.. If you cant get more girls you need to rehome the one you have. Good Luck with the DH.. [​IMG]

  8. BlackBrookPoultry

    BlackBrookPoultry Crowing

    Jun 15, 2010
    Western Wisconsin
    My mother had more drakes than hens and when spring came around it wasn't good. One of her buff hens actually got her leg broke from the males all trying to jump her at the same time on land. It's amazing that none of the other hens were drowned. I think the geese hog the pool, so they didn't have the chance. I would get at least 3 more hens or sell one of the drakes.
  9. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Crowing

    Apr 19, 2009
    They don't need to be able to swim all the time. The easiest and most economical resolution I've found is to just dump their kiddie pool at the end of the day (or halfway through when it's really cold and it freezes faster) and fill it back up in the morning. I don't fill it everyday, a couple of times per week is fine. And then just provide a deep basin (I use a bucket) of water for bill dipping.
  10. maggiemmm

    maggiemmm In the Brooder

    Jul 26, 2010
    Kewadin area
    I got a large electric bowl for dog's water, then put an ice cream bucket into the bowl - filled them both up so the ice cream bucket was sitting in water - never had a problem with the water freezing, easy to clean and fill and even tho they could not swim - they could fit their whole head into the ice cream bucket and make a mess [​IMG]

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