Last year one of our ducks died on our Suburban Homestead. When the weather was really cold. He was older, but very much loved. I was so worried that he had gotten to cold and started to do some research. What I found out was very interesting. Ducks love the cold. They are actually made with the ability to withstand freezing cold temperatures in the water.
There are a few ways to protect your ducks in extremely cold temperatures, but for the most part they are winter resilient.
Cold Weather Accommodations for Ducks
Building a duck house on a suburban homestead for ducks to use at night is necessary. Predators lurk everywhere, even in the suburbs as we have found. Securing the duck house with fencing on the inside so that nothing can dig or crawl to get to the ducks is a good idea. We installed a layer of chicken fence around everywhere on the floor, and then built the floor.
We use straw to keep them warm. The duck house is not as big as our chicken house so they are closer together and this creates warmth. Ducks maintain warmth by standing on one foot. This helps them to generate heat. They also tuck their bills into their feathers to warm them up
This creates warmer air for them to breath. In addition to the smaller space in the duck house, straw and fencing we built the house several inches off the ground. Hoping this will also keep them warm in the winter.
Duck House Care in the Winter
Protection from the wind is the most important part of the duck house on a suburban homestead. The wind can blow very cold in the winter, especially in a snow storm. without walls that protect the ducks won’t be able to generate heat. We do not fill up our pond as much in the winter either. This is our first winter with Khaki Campbell breed. The Pekin ducks are durable in the winter without the pond. On warmer days we do fill it halfway.
Another reason that we do not fill up our pond is the probability of ice. Ice can break a ducks leg. If this happens, then they have to be put down. Our yard gets pretty icy at times due to the snow getting packed down by our kids. When extreme freezing temperatures hit, the ducks stay safe and warm in their house.
To make sure they have enough drinking water and food, on the side of our duck yard is a platform. We built this to raise their food and water off the ground. Seven ducks can go through some water, and I was worried it would become an icy area.
Adding Heat to the Duck House on a Suburban Homestead
We use the deep litter method. This is where straw is added to the duck house over top the existing straw. Duck droppings keep the ducks warm in the winter. Our duck house gets cleaned out in the spring and summer, but in the cooler months we let it go.
Ducks do not need a heat lamp. It is a fire hazard, and not necessary. Insulating the duck house with straw is the best idea. Ducks are capable of keeping themselves warm. Wild ducks sleep in freezing temperatures, but our domestic ducks have it a little easier with access to a duck house.
Ducks are a lot of fun, the eggs are great and they are both easy maintenance. Winter conditions can be harsh, but using some of these tips can help to keep backyard birds from freezing.
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