Keeping ducks warm in winter

26 Feb

Keeping ducks warm in winter might not seem to be a big issue in the UK where our winter temperatures rarely drop too far below zero degrees Centigrade.

Ducks in snowHowever, as most of us keep our ducks in small houses or huts, often on exposed land, it’s worth remembering to give ducks a bit more protection if there’s an icy blast forecast.

Ducks obviously come with their own insulation and overcoat in the form of body fat and feathers. Who doesn’t remember a nice cozy eiderdown duvet or jacket?

The advice we got – and still stick to – when we first got our ducks was to make sure that we added extra bedding if the weather is hitting -10° C.

This advice has stood us in good stead so far and given that ducks survive in much harsher conditions, on Canadian lakes, for example, we haven’t ever resorted to any other measures.

Ducks are likely to huddle together in their duck house overnight, and the house itself gives protection from the wind, so they are likely to be perfectly happy. In  fact, in general, we are more worried about our ducks overheating at night in the summer, as there is no way they can throw off their duck feather duvet in the night!

But back to cold weather.

Our priority has been to keep ducks dry in winter. Now obviously, we don’t mean to keep them away from water as they would absolutely hate that and it certainly wouldn’t be good for them.

But keeping the bedding in their house dry in winter seems to us to be a priority as wet bedding will be a much less effective insulator from the cold ground than dry bedding.

That said, ducks are pretty well insulated from the ground by their own feathers. If you want to prove that to yourself. Go out and touch the ground where they have been sitting for a while and you will feel it’s still cold.

So in summary, during cold weather (under -10° C) we ensure the ducks have extra, dry bedding and protection from the wind.

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