After much trial and lots of error (don’t ask me about hoses and subfreezing temps–I’ll weep), it’s clear that winter may be the cruelest season when it comes to providing waterfowl with the wet stuff.  Ducks don’t like anything but liquid water–they won’t break ice, don’t care for slush and only nip at snow.  Unless it’s a balmy 32 F or above, our babies need supplemental (read: brought outside from a protected faucet) water that may need to be replenished several times a day when it dips into the ‘teens.  Since we don’t have a barn and our garage is not connected to the backyard, giving them access to a covered, above-freezing space is not an option.*  Here was the game plan:**

1: Be home all day.  Then when either a) water bowl turns into large muddy ice cube or  b) tips over during boisterous bathing, you can refill/replace with fresh supply.  Because you have nothing better to do all day.

2: If above option not available, try larger containers that take longer to freeze until…

3: Even larger containers freeze.  Go back to #1 or…

4: Carry water in buckets from unfrozen but still mighty nippy garage through gate down path to frosty yard.  BTW, you may want to acquire one of those nifty farmer yoke things if you’re sufficiently sturdy.  Otherwise, carry H-two-O in small buckets until you either a) fill up bowls or b) collapse.

5: Dream of finding time to deal with long-ago purchased heated base for poultry waterer.  Worry about combination of ducks, water and electricity for several months as temps descend below freezing point.  Then, after weeks of water-hauling and related cleaning/ice-breaking chores, finally find spare five minutes to rip open box, read fine print and discover heater must only be used…INDOORS!

6: Suppress expletives.  Repeat above as needed until spring.


What mud?

Mud? What mud?


*Should have married a farmer?
**Learn from my mistakes!

Copyright 2013, Lori Fontanes