Wintering My ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by September, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. September

    September Out Of The Brooder

    39
    1
    26
    Sep 25, 2013
    I am hoping someone else who has cold winters might be able to help me out. I live in colorado and it can get really cold at night during the winter. I was wondering if I should consider a heat lamp, or something else for them at night?? I've had chickens on and off for years and we've mostly figured out what they need over the winter, but I'm new to ducks.

    How cold would it have to be for it to be necessary for me to do something to keep my ducks (and goose) warm? They have a dog house that they go into at night, but as they wanted to eat the insulation when we first got it, it is no longer insulated (not because they ate it, but because we took it out).

    There are three ducks (2 cambells and 2 Cayugas) and one Buff Goose.

    Any advise would be wonderful. :)
     
  2. AmandaVirus

    AmandaVirus Chillin' With My Peeps

    172
    12
    106
    Mar 16, 2013
    Humboldt County, CA
    Ducks and geese are very cold hardy (think about a down blanket, they're covered in one 24/7), as long as they have a nice dry spot away from wind and snow, they'll be fine. But they will probably prefer being out in the snow, I've heard a lot of ducks love it (I live on the coast of California, so no snow for us).

    I've actually heard heat lamps can make them intolerant of cold weather, like if a power outage happened and they didn't have the heat they were used to, they could get too cold.
     
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    7,538
    345
    311
    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Well i know winter, I'm Canadian lol

    Basically key's are good well vented, non drafty housing and access to proper feeds. Heat lamps are tricky, as they do accustomed birds to a temperature that isn't what is genuine and in the risk of hydro outages does bring forth a level of concern that they may freeze, plus it would likely effect there own weather proofing in other words not building enough down for winter.

    My horses winter up, they are already if i starting putting them in a heated barn that would reduce and lower their level of tolerance. Same as us we get used to a temp, a rapid drop sends us running for fuzzy boots.

    I say play it by ear, i have had to use a heat lamp for my ducks but it was basically due to my set-up, too big a barn and not enough ducks to help insulate and provide heat, after i increased my ducks i didn't have that issue, no extra was required. Again, it's about finding the proper balance between giving adequate shelter, not overcrowding nor overbuilding and having to few to possibly heat the building up, make sense?

    Hope that helps, the first winter is always a bit of a worry, but evaluate your set-up have things on hand in case it doesn't go as planned and best tip? watch your birds they'll let you know if their okay, watching some of my females bathe told me i was on the right track lol
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,983
    1,953
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    It is a matter of watching and being ready to make adjustments. My runners - several of them - are not as cold-hardy as the book says. I knew this by watching them. I moved them to the walkout basement that stays above 40F. Egg laying, body condition, and behavior improved.

    I found an indoor-outdoor thermometer to be very helpful as I set it up to be able to read the temperature inside the duck house. Insulation and ventilation, dry deep bedding, and sometimes a safe (SAFE!!!!) heat source. If you have just a few ducks, it is easier to make special accommodations. We have had days and days of subfreezing temperatures here, probably much milder than where you are, and I keep the ducks inside much more to avoid frostbite. But they are in a dry well ventilated place with some natural light from windows.
     
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    7,538
    345
    311
    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Yes, Amiga raised a good point i keep thermometers in my barns/coops so i know exactly what i am dealing with, plus breeds do vary for cold tolerances. I have 20 birds in my main flock now, basically all Muscovy with the exception of two buffs so i cannot do some of what could be done for smaller flocks, my quad of calls for instance i can take more serious steps with if i have a cold intolerance... i am NOT bringing 20 ducks in my house [​IMG]
     
  6. September

    September Out Of The Brooder

    39
    1
    26
    Sep 25, 2013
    Thank you so much for the suggestions!

    Right now I have straw bedding for them and a friend of mine has some spare demetrius earth that I'm thinking of sprinkling in for the winter. The thermometer is a great idea! It'll give me some peace of mind. Does anyone know what temps I should be looking for??

    Also, my ducks dont go in by them selves at night. Should I keep herding them in, or will they go in if they really need to? The are in a covered yard, so I'm not very worried about predators getting in, just the cold.

    Thanks again! You are all soooo helpful!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by