Winter's coming and I have questions


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 10, 2009
Phillipston, MA
I'm starting early because I need lots of ideas from those of you who live in cold climates.

How do you make sure your ducks have water at all times? I'm hoping for ideas that do not require electricity. Batteries or solar power are fine I just don't have an outdoor outlet. I keep reading about these heaters for ponds, but would a duck leave it alone? I'd love some links if you have them of products.

Do you give your ducks bathing water? If so, how often in the winter? Do you limit their time to ensure they don't get too cold? Do you determine by the temp outside?

How often to you do pooh patrol? Right now I clean it twice a day in the outer part of the pen and stir the straw in their house once a day with full removal each week.

We plan on adding plastic to at least two sides of the pen as a wind/snow break and to the outside of the house to cut drafts. Any other suggestions?

Do you have any other tips and tricks?

Sorry for so many questions. First winter with my babies so I figured I'd ask the experts.


11 Years
May 14, 2008
NE Wisconsin
In the winter I use a 3 gallon black rubber bowl for water. The ducks sometimes swim in it, but mostly just use it for water.

In the winter, I fill a bucket with warm water in the house and carry it out to the duck pen. Then I flip over the rubber bowl, kick it til the ice falls out, then fill it with the warm water. The black rubber keeps the water from freezing for a long time. Unless it's very cold, I only have to fill it once a day.

I don't worry about the ducks getting cold. They have feathers, down, and a thick layer of fat. They are very tolerant of the cold. Last winter my ducks would sleep outside on snowbanks. Sometimes it would snow on them, they looked like little snow covered mounds with bills.

Last winter I did the deep litter method in the coop. This year I may clean it out once a week. It's a bit difficult once the poo freezes, but it's manageable.


11 Years
Jan 22, 2009
keep them out of the wind and make sure they have somewhere DRY to get too..that was our mistake last winter and they got chilled once.

i give warm water twice a day and load up on the feed and a little corn to keep them warm. we never had to use electric like i do with the hens. also straw bales make excellent perches and wind blocks. we had a -30 nite and we stacked bales up on the outside of their coop to insulate it as much as possible

good luck!


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Jun 29, 2007
Kansas~50+ yrs of chickens
I carry water out to them at least twice a day and I also use those 3 gallon black feed pans.

They have a dog house for shelter which they very rarely go into preferring to stay outside.

If we have a warm spell where I can use a hose I'll fill a bigger container with water so they can take a swim.


11 Years
Nov 24, 2008
I use straw for the ground, the cage is tarped off for wind protection..I take the pool out and use waterers that I fill up inside and carry out because the hose outside freezes up..They are fine the have nice coats on...


10 Years
Jun 8, 2009
I would think you could use a small aquarium heater in a water bucket (get a shaterproof aquarium heater). I have a 275 gallon pond with waterfall in my duck pen and I plan on leaving the pump run all winter to keep the pond from freezing... not sure if it will work out that way but for now it's the plan.


Positively Ducky
11 Years
Oct 2, 2008
I left my pond pump on all winter. It was just enough to keep it from freezing.

I also give my ducks water at night. I used an old drink cooler and filled it with warm water. A few days it was slush by morning but it didn't freeze over. It looks something like this...


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