Winters in New England with ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by duckchix, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. duckchix

    duckchix In the Brooder

    Jul 7, 2013
    Hi! I am a new duck owner and am thinking ahead to planning for winter. I live in CT where we do get blizzards. I am wondering how your ducks manage? Thank you!
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    A good building for them to get out of wind and blowing snow will help, this building should have great ventilation also here is a link that explains it all and also heated buckets for fresh water are really nice to have. TSC carries them.
    Other than that they should be fine and no extra heat as they have down underneath their feathers. Even on really cold windy days with snow my flock prefers to be out side, I have made places for them where they can get out of the wind and they do great even though their houses are open for them to go in if they like.
  3. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Songster

    Feb 15, 2012
    Central Maine
    I'm in Maine and let's face it, last winter in the NE was miserable. Between the sub zero temps, winds and then the snow, it just wasn't a lot of fun for anyone, the ducks and geese included.

    Mine have a fully insulated human sized building with windows and a door that is locked at night. A couple of things I learned last year, yes, the insulation is great as is the heat lamp when it's 30 below with the wind screaming. More ventilation is needed. I thought that with the 2' x 4' water porch built into the floor of their housing and the cracks around the SW facing door, there would be enough air exchange. Nope, there wasn't and even with another opening cut into what will be a second door, it still wasn't enough. Back to the drawing board...there will be 3 rooms to the duck and goose house by this Fall. A new water and feed area will be built as well, this new one being 4' x 6'. There will be 5 new vents put in as well. One in the ceiling of the feeding room, that will exit through the eaves and the rest in the eaves of the other 2 rooms. The largest of these being in the feed room. Because I really insulated those buildings, I will have to go back and drop the ceiling and take the insulation out of one of the runs between the rafters so that air flows freely through it. Open up the outside of the ends and cover with hardware cloth and screening. On the inside I will use hot air floor vents that can be opened or closed to control how much heat is lost along with the moist air. My goal isn't to keep their building at 70 degrees, rather to keep it above freezing so no electricity is needed for their water. I just don't trust them, lol. Having a heat lamp out there during the coldest parts of the Winter kept the building between 35 and 40 degrees, depending on outside temps. No frozen water at all. Moisture was an issue though and needs be fixed before snow fly.

    My ducks and geese refused to be out once they found out just how cold it was out there. The door was kept open for airing while I took care of their feed, water and bedding. A couple of brave souls went out and tried it and found 5 mins. was just long enough, thank-you very much, lol. When the days got long enough to give us some temps above freezing they were allowed out if they chose and given bathing water in their pools. Most took advantage of it but didn't favor the snow and ice under their feet. Even putting down hay didn't help much.

    With the ocean, you have some moderation of temps that I don't see here. But growing up on the South Shore of Mass, I am familiar with what you see down there. You haven't said how large a building you are thinking of so it's hard to know what you are looking for. I insulated and now have to modify it. I still recommend the insulation, just make sure you provide a way to get a flow going over their heads. This will carry out moisture as well as ammonia.
  4. toadbriar

    toadbriar Songster

    Jan 28, 2010
    central massacheezits
    I have a roofed pen, and some mesh-topped add-on areas with some 3-sided shelters inside. I do not have an actual coop or building. If it's going to really pile up feet of snow, I can hook up a tarp to block the drift, but my major concerns are a dry bedding, fresh water, and ample food. My pen is right beside my house, which acts as a wind break to some degree. But I've had ducks and geese here since 2010 and no one has suffered from the cold. They've got a kiddie pool with a de-icer when our pond is frozen. Bathing keeps their feathers clean and oiled and waterproof. They have a bucket for drinking from, for overnight, and they free-feed. Even the turkeys did fine - I was worried about their bald heads, but no frostbite. We are right on the MA-NH border, and it gets plenty cold.

    Edited to add, I do deep litter straw bedding, which may offer some composting heat, I'm not sure.

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  5. BladeDuck

    BladeDuck In the Brooder

    Dec 10, 2011
    I don't live in the East and my winters in Utah are not nearly as bad BUT I think the main components of a winter set-up is free choice feed, a water container with floating de-icer, a soft dry place to sleep, and somewhere they can go to be protected from the wind and weather. Unless you have young ducks, I don't think you need insulation or heat lamps. Again, I'm not in the East and my winters are rarely in the negative and our snow is dry.
  6. learycow

    learycow Crowing

    Apr 1, 2011
    Southern Maine
    I am also in Maine and ducks do EXTREMELY well in cold weather.

    I let mine free range together all winter (don't need to be separated for breeding). They have a large shed, non-insulated, that they go into at night.
    Here's what I do:
    6 am, open coop. I fill the feeders (I don't let mine eat 24/7. I feed them morning and night only). I have a large tub outside with a heater in it. I make sure it is full of clean water for them.
    They tend to hang out during the day. They prefer to be outside unless its really cold and windy. I only kept them cooped last winter for the 2 worst days (cold, windy, snowing) and they were NOT HAPPY about it! But I was afraid some would blow away in the crazy wind, haha.
    Then about 1 hour before I put them in for the night, I feed them again. This is when I count to make sure everyone is where they belong and to make sure everyone comes back to the coop for the night.
    If I put them to bed before it's dark I have to make them go in. But if I wait for it to get dark first, they go in on their own.

    I have a small bucket (2 or 3) that I fill with water and keep in the coop for the night. They have straw/hay mixed bedding that I keep clean and dry.

    Other than that, as long as they are fed and watered daily, they do really well. I have NEVER lost one to the cold. My muscovies I keep cooped if its really cold but that's because they are a breed that's more prone to frostbite. But the rest, if given the choice, prefer to "swim" in the snow and go out for the day.
  7. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Songster

    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan
    I'm in MI, Zone 5, and my ducks did just fine last winter. They were outdoors by choice most of the time. I do lock them inside the big barn during blizzards and really any severe weather advisory. I also have an open roofed pen, because I lack the proper supports that would be necessary for snow load. One final thing, last yr I bought I think 25 old bales of hay and those I staked round the pen to provide windbreaks.
  8. duckchix

    duckchix In the Brooder

    Jul 7, 2013
    Wow! Thank you all so very much! Our coop is very well ventilated (over 2sqft) and their run area is in the back corner of our yard wedged between our 6ft privacy fence and our barb so they do have good protection from the wind on 3 sides. Thank you a bunch, it is nice to hear everyone's experiences!
  9. new2ducks

    new2ducks Songster

    Jun 20, 2012
    My ducks did great in the winter! I was the one who lost sleep...I was up on and off during the night to check on them and they were outside and covered in snow and just loving it!
    II just made sure that they had dry places to have their feet on so I got a bale of straw and layered it really thick by their dog house and inside too. When the snow would cover the straw I just raked some back to leave the dry underneath. I did give them a higher protein feed during the winter and corn. (kept them fat and sassy) lol
  10. duckchix

    duckchix In the Brooder

    Jul 7, 2013
    That should read barn*

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