Do your ducks love to have their water during the spring, summer, and fall?
Do you need to worry about laying the water out for them during the winter?
These questions and more will be answered by the following tips for preparing your ducks for the winter.
The tips include continuing to provide water, providing plenty of food, preparing your water to avoid ice, adding extra straw for the ducks to relax in, giving them protection from the wind, considering using heat lamps, making ventilation in the duck shelter, and providing more water on sunny days.
Continue to provide water
During the spring, summer, and fall ducks love to have water around.
But during the winter months, the same expectations are not in place for ducks.
On the other hand, though, you should continue to provide water for your ducks that isn’t for swimming.
There are a few reasons for this.
Ducks need water for eating
Humans have a little bit of help when they are eating their food.
Our body naturally produces saliva when we eat and that saliva helps the food to go down our throat towards our stomach.
Ducks do not produce saliva as we do.
So they need water to be able to swallow the food they want to eat.
Providing some water in a water feeder should be enough for them to put some water in their mouth and then swallow it.
This will help them eat.
Water is needed for health reasons
According to ThePoultrySite.com:
They rely on water for maintaining their plumage in good condition and keeping their eyes and nostrils clean. They do this by submerging their heads under water, and thus need an open water source for optimal preening conditions.https://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/why-water-access-is-the-secret-to-duck-health
So the water helps the ducks to maintain the health of their bodies.
We as humans can use our hands to clear out our eyes and some kleenexes to clear out our nostrils.
Ducks don’t have the same ability, so they use water to do it.
So make sure to provide them with water.
You don’t have to provide it in a pool like you normally would, but a water feeder or some kind of trough would be just fine.
But also remember during the winter that depending on the type of weather you get in your area, you might have to replace the water a few times a day.
If you live in a cold-weather area, then the ice might freeze over on a regular basis.
This means that the duck won’t have access to the water.
So check the water multiple times a day to a) make sure it isn’t frozen over and b) there is plenty for all the ducks.
Provide plenty of food
During the winter, our bodies need more food, and more sustainable food, so our bodies can produce more heat to keep us warm.
The same is true for most animals, and that includes ducks as well.
So during the winter season, make sure you are providing even more food than normal for your ducks.
This way, they can continue to produce more heat to keep themselves warm during the winter season.
Also, before the sun goes down, give them some scratch grain.
This will provide them with some more energy to produce the heat they need for the cold winter night.
Prepare your water to avoid ice
As we mentioned before, ducks love their water.
And this can sometimes mean they will splash around in any water that they have.
That includes the drinking water.
They could dunk their head in the water and then get it all on the ground.
This means that there could be a buildup of water and ice on the ground.
The ice isn’t going to be good for your ducks or any other animals in your animal area.
There are a few things you can do to avoid this.
The first is to place some hay or straw at the base of the water feeder.
Instead of going onto the ground, the hay or straw is going to catch the water.
That means it won’t go onto the ground to create ice.
You might have to replace the hay or straw every few days since they will eventually get too much water or ice on them to be of any use.
The other option you have is to throw down some blocks of wood near the water feeder.
The blocks will catch most of the water and leave the ducks with a nice clean area that they can walk around in.
Add extra straw for the ducks to relax in
Most people in the United States prefer a nice warm bed to sleep on during the cold winter months.
And ducks are much the same way.
They want to have something nice and warm to sit on while they are trying to rest or sleep.
The best thing you can provide for your ducks is some nice straw for them to sit on.
During the spring, summer, and fall months, you would most likely take out the old straw every few weeks and replace it with brand new straw.
This is typical because the ducks will poop in the straw and you’ll want to get rid of the waste every once in a while.
In the winter it is a little bit different.
Instead of clearing out the old straw, you will want to pile the new straw on top of it.
What this does is it gives the ducks a nice compacted bed of straw for them to rest on.
The compacted straw is going to keep heat in really well and keep the ducks nice and warm.
And then when the winter is over, you can then clear out all the old straw and put in a brand new layer of straw.
Give them protection from the wind
Like most animals, one of the best things you can do for your ducks is to give them a place where they are protected from the wind.
For the most part, ducks can do pretty well in the cold on their own.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a windbreak.
The windbreak helps to keep them from getting chilled during the day and out of the cold during the night.
The windbreak can be a shelter that only has one wall or it can be a coop with 4 walls that they can hang out in during the night.
If just one wall, make sure that the one wall is the one that faces towards the wind.
If a coop, try shutting the door at night to keep them protected from any wind that might try to pass through.
Combine the extra straw you are giving them in the previous tip and the windbreak in this tip, and your chickens will be pretty comfortable.
Consider using heat lamps (they don’t need it)
There are a lot of ups and downs to having a heat lamp where your ducks are resting.
The best reason for having it is to keep your ducks warm during the day and night.
It would also keep any other animals you have in their shelter warm as well (including chickens).
But, you have to take into account whether it is worth the risk of having a heat lamp in there.
Heat lamps can get pretty hot and this means that they can catch on fire.
If a heat lamp catches on fire, you might lose your ducks and also the shelter they are staying in.
As well as any other animals are buildings you might have around the shelter.
If you decide to have a heat lamp in the duck shelter, do all you can to make sure the heat lamp won’t catch the shelter on fire.
For example, we had our heat lamp catch on fire late at night and luckily my wife was up and able to put it out.
We later found out this was because the cord was in a place where it could catch water, which then led the water to the light.
The water hitting the light caused the light to burst and catch everything on fire.
So that was bad placement on our part.
Our current heat lamp has the cord in a place where it is off the ground and the heat lamp is elevated higher than the cord.
This means that if the cord were to catch water, it wouldn’t go to the light and cause it to burst.
So if you can make sure that the heat lamp is in the right place, then you can get one in your shelter.
But you should also take into account that your duck might not even need the extra heat.
With the shelter and the straw, your duck should be in a pretty warm place, so you might want to forego the heat lamp altogether.
Make ventilation in the duck shelter
You’ll also want to clear out any of the smells in the duck shelter.
Since you are laying straw on top of the straw, there is going to be a little bit of a smell in the duck shelter.
And if you can provide some ventilation for the shelter, this should do quite a bit for helping with the smell.
Keep in mind that there is a big difference between ventilation and drafts.
Drafts in a shelter typically come from holes or cracks or holes in the walls of the shelter.
A draft will allow the cold air to pass through the shelter and go directly onto your ducks.
And you definitely don’t want this.
The direct cold air will make the ducks colder.
So if your duck shelter has any drafts, get those taken care of.
Ventilation, on the other hand, is holes at the top of the shelter that brings air into the shelter and take it out without the cold air passing directly onto the ducks.
So if you don’t have ventilation holes in the duck shelter, make the holes at the very top.
And then you should be all set.
Provide more water on sunny days
The last thing you can do for your ducks is to provide them with some extra water on those sunny days in the winter.
Since they won’t have the luxury of playing with water every day like they usually want to, take advantage of those sunnier days.
This doesn’t mean you need to pull out a kiddie pool (not an inflatable one please), but you could pull out a larger watering trough or the pool and fill it up with water.
Then the duck can play around in it during the day.
But before nightfall comes, make sure to dump the water out (in a place that won’t cause ice for the animals) and put it away for the night.
Otherwise, you will wake up with a frozen-over pool in the morning.
And that will be much harder to empty out and put away.
Then, you can pull it out again on another sunny day.
But always remember to put it away before the sun goes down.
Ducks are pretty sturdy animals and they can go through quite a lot during the winter days.
Because of their feathers, they can keep the cold water off of themselves pretty well.
Other than that, if you provide them with enough straw, a shelter, enough water to drink, avoid the ice, and make sure their shelter is without drafts and has ventilation, your ducks should be pretty happy.
And a happy duck leads to a happy home.