Wow, it’s amazing but, apparently, the biggest question in America right now is something I might actually be able to answer:
How cold is too cold for ducks?
Right, so maybe not the biggest biggest question in the US of A but, still, a real query that has risen to the top of the What the Ducks! search stats for the past few (freezing) weeks.
“How cold is too cold for young ducks?” the worried waterfowl aficionados repeatedly type. “When is it too cold for ducks?” goes another variant. “Can ducks get too cold…” Well, you get the, er, snowdrift.
Now, I may not be as experienced as Dave Holderread, Cherie Langlois or Carol Deppe but I’ve learned a coupla things about a coupla ducks over two cold-weather seasons. So, here’s my take on ducks and cold weather— it all depends.
It depends on the size of the breed.
It depends on the health of the duck.
It depends on whether you live closer to the equator or the Arctic Circle.
And, perhaps most importantly, it depends on whether you can be described as relatively carefree about poultry or whether you’re better characterized as a full-blown Helicopter Duck Parent.
I cop to the latter.
Therefore, as a card-carrying member of the HDP Club and based on two New York area winters with four-five ducks of three different breeds, my basic system goes like this:
Above freezing: I don’t worry.
Between 21-32° F (daytime): I have to keep water bowls on the sunny side of yard and check for ice forming, especially if it’s not sunny. (Ducks always need drinking water.)
Between 10-20° F (overnight): I put the ducks in the coop instead of the straw bale-enclosed pen.
Under 10° F and/or in very high winds: ducks go into the garage in a temporary shelter consisting of a kiddie pool filled with pine shavings, surrounded with plastic garden fencing, several packing boxes and an MP3 device playing lullabies. OK, maybe not that last one.
And that’s it. I realize it’s not totally comprehensive coverage of the popular Duck vs. Cold conversation but I do hope that anyone who randomly discovers this post may find its humble contents useful.
Oh, and one other thing.
No matter how chilly it gets, please resist letting the ducks stay in the guest bedroom. I mean, once they figure out how cozy it is where you live, they just might never leave.
but wouldn’t they be cute on a bed inside? 🙂
Absolutely! Not sure what the cats would think of it, tho… 😉
I would snuggle with them and keep them warm if I was there. 🙂 Great information my friend. XOXO – Bacon
I think they would *love* that!!!
I can totally relate to the MP3. It always helps! 🙂
Let’s start a winter playlist!!!
I don’t know about domestic ducks, but the wild ones seem to love the cold, as long as there is some open water for them.
Yup–the key is definitely water! And it’s possible our domestic ducks may be just a tad too pampered. A tad. 😉
If it were to get cold enough, the guest room would sound just perfect. 😉
They’d probably *never* get out of the bathroom, tho!
I just noticed this post, I have been behind in my reading this month! They are just too darn cute:-) I would spoil them all the time, so it is good I do not have ducks—I would be the one to let them live in the spare bedroom-lol You are a good mother to your ducks!
Those are awesome looking ducks, in the photo!
Why thank you kindly!
Thank you for liking my Mallard in my other blog!
Me too!!! 🙂
Useful information 🙂
Thanks! I’m working on an update this week! 🙂
Beautiful photo, great blog!
Aw, thanks! 🙂 !!!
You’re such a good mama. I would totally be a HDP if I had ducks. My sister isn’t exactly a HCP, but her chicken did move into the basement during a cold snap. I have a pic of The Chicken (her name) watching TV 😉
Hilarious!!! Do you remember what show was on? 😀
I didn’t recognize it. It looked like a bad drama.
“a full-blown Helicopter Duck Parent”: I love this monicker!
And I haven’t gotten any less so since I posted that! 😉
I will confess…we brought our ducks inside the last two nights. The first night they were noisy but would hush when I told them too, last night, they were quiet, warm and happy lol…we don’t usually have cold weather in Louisiana, not like this anyway, I’ve never seen it be this cold for this long-started in September and still going on LOL.anyway, my concern is my female is laying eggs, naturally we’re worried about her eggs.
You were a good duck mama! Eggs will freeze in the cold…