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wintering with ducks .... How???

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Shalva, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Shalva

    Shalva In the Brooder

    Mar 19, 2012
    New Hampshire
    Hi Everyone
    I am a relatively new duck person, this will be our first winter together.

    I am in Northern New England where the winters are rough; we get a lot of snow and the temperatures can be rough.

    I am trying to make sure that everyone is set for winter and I am curious as to how you all in cold climates deal with your ducks in winter, specifically the water issue.

    I have two pekin ducks that are living with 16 chickens are doing great. They do have their own duck house but honestly prefer to be in with the chickens which is fine as it will be warmer and the chicken coop is better insulated etc. I also do have light in the bigger chicken coop but it is not a heat lamp.

    I am mostly concerned about water. Right now with the warmer weather here in NH I fill baby pools and buckets of water. We do have chicken waterers and feeders but I find that the ducks seem to prefer plain old buckets of water and a dog dish of food and the chickens are fine with that they don't care. Those are outside the coop in the fenced area ...Inside the coop I have a hanging feeder of grain but I do not have water inside the coop as the ducks make such a mess.... and I don't want the interior of the coop to be wet...

    My chickens are allowed outside all winter and they do come outside... I think there were only one or two days in all of last winter (even with the polar vortex and single degree days) that I left the chickens in the coop, usually just on high wind days but the coop is very sheltered.

    I am concerned about buckets of water in the coop turning to ice (coop is not heated)

    I do not like heated things in the coop so typically I change the chicken waterers once or twice a day throughout the winter so there is fresh water in the coop for a while before it freezes. However like I said having water splashed and frozen all over the inside of the coop is of concern to me... and we know how ducks are ....

    would it be ok to just continue what I am doing and keep the buckets of water outside the coop??? and not have water in the coop... even on cold and snowy days???

    how do you all manage this.... I am less concerned about food but would love to hear your water solutions. I am not planning for them to have the pools to swim in for the water, they will not be happy but I can't have frozen hoses and that is the only way for me to currently fill the pools.

    thoughts and advice would be helpful and I can see what will work for me here

    thank you
  2. Trent Hardy

    Trent Hardy In the Brooder

    Jul 30, 2014
    Newfoundland, Ca

    I'm pretty much in the same boat as you. This is our first year with our ducks and I'm trying to figure out the best way to deal with freezing water. Friends of ours who have raised muscovies for a long time have an old bathtub in the yard that they keep filled with water and have a submersible heater placed in it. This manages to keep the water a few degrees above freezing. They claim that it doesn't burn too much electricity.

    I'm actually debating constructing some kind of a greenhouse for our ducks water supply, but I really don't know if it will work. I'm also considering just leaving a steady trickle of water (although I recognize that is incredibly wasteful), as we don't get a water bill as such where I live.

    Another option I'm considering is an air pump or a water pump. Anything at all to keep water moving. Any thoughts?
  3. smonkeySK

    smonkeySK Chirping

    Dec 20, 2013
    wigan uk
    I'll be playing by ear this winter - I started removing food and water from the coops this year but don't like the idea of them being without water for 12 or more hours a day during winter.

    You have to be careful with air and water pumps as most manufacturers recommend that they are switched off in the coldest months - I managed to get a pond pump that is rated down to -20C but it was expensive...

    There are some cheap floating pond heaters that will just keep a section of water clear of ice, they don't cost much to run but knowing what ducks are like I would imagine you'll have to secure it from them.
    Or they'll just drag it out of the water and either burn themselves or start an electrical fire!

    That's the the problem with many solutions- running electricity outside
  4. Shalva

    Shalva In the Brooder

    Mar 19, 2012
    New Hampshire
    I do worry about a fire with electric but also we don't have water out near the coop and run hose from the house spicket out to the chicken yard which is about a hundred feet .... any hose that is not drained will freeze and burst and leaving it to a trickle will create a skating rink so I can't even fathom being able to fill pools with or without a heater in the winter. Perhaps next year I will talk to a plumber and see if we can get water out to the chicken yard but that is not happening this year.

    the water issue just for drinking and soaking food is of concern to me... especially living in New Hampshire where once it gets cold it is likely to stay cold for months...

    I really don't want the chickens in a damp environment and putting water in the coop with the ducks who will splash around will totally do that
  5. Trent Hardy

    Trent Hardy In the Brooder

    Jul 30, 2014
    Newfoundland, Ca
    Yeah, the distance thing was a bit of a problem for us as well. To get around it I built a second "winter pen" close to our house so it wouldn't be so hard to get water etc. to them.

    Depending on how much you're willing to spend, you may be able to install some 3" piping (on a slant) to run from your house to their buckets/pond. You can then use a water hose stored inside to replenish their water supply without having to lug buckets all the time. The size of it combined with not having water in it all the time will prevent freezing of the pipes, and installation of a heater will prevent pond water freezing. That being said, there is nothing cheap about this solution. I just priced 3" PVC pipe at ~$17 per 10 foot length. Still, might be an idea for you to consider... Hope this helps.
  6. Trent Hardy

    Trent Hardy In the Brooder

    Jul 30, 2014
    Newfoundland, Ca
    You could also consider purchasing a heated pet bowl (like they use for horses?), although honestly I'm not sure how well these would hold up if exposed to the elements....
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member 8 Years

    all my heated buckets are kept outside in winter months and hold up very well and it get very cold here. I don't keep water inside at all and my chickens do fine without water inside. I don't use heat either chickens and ducks do fine with out supplemental heat as long as they have a house and are out of drafts. But whatever you keep them in needs to have really good ventilation for their health.
  8. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    I run heated buckets for the ducks, i also like those livestock rubber bowls, they are great for hammering ice out and refilling.

    Ducks will eat snow but they do have to have water with food which is where the difficulty comes into play.
  9. Shally

    Shally In the Brooder

    Sep 22, 2014
    Birmingham UK
    Hi all

    I'm not so concerned about the water freezing etc in the winter as I will deal with that as required and my ducks don't have food or water when they got to bed at night due to them being so messy! ...and they free range from dawn to dusk daily. My concern is whether they are going to be warm enough in the duck house at night now that the temperature is dropping. The floor of their house has tarpaulin lining for easy cleaning and straw for them to lie on. Is there anything else I can do to make sure they stay warm or just put extra straw in?
  10. hennible

    hennible Crowing

    Just extra straw, they will fatten up and feather out to keep warm. :) you may notice them eating more to keep warm too.

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