Winter Ducks

Not? long ago, Janet emailed and asked how the ducks were fairing this winter – that I hadn’t mentioned them lately.

Well, Janet, winter is definitely not their favorite season, but our eight duckies are doing well. We got the ducks for eggs (although they’re not laying now), but the truth is, we simply enjoy them. However, during the winter they require a bit more work. Hauling water to them a couple of times a day is no joy. They’re messy little things too. Not just the poo detail, but they can’t take a drink without splashing water around their run. Lately Paul has had to resort to whacking the water buckets free with a sledge hammer so we can break the ice free and fill them with fresh water.

The ducks are now divided into two groups. The girls (Hera, Quackers, Dilly, Oscar, and Peep) and their drake, Squeak, have the large house. During the day, they have the run of the yard and we tuck them in at night. When the snow is deep we (well, Hannah) shovels out space for them so they can stretch their legs.

When there is no greenery to explore and nibble on, they sleep much of the day away under the fir tree by the pond. On the bitterly cold days we’ve had, they often choose to stay inside. We try to treat them with a little fruit and greenery a few times a week. They are particularly fond of lettuce and pumpkin puree.

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Puddles and Gabby (above), our trouble making drake duo, have been relegated to their own little bachelor pad and run. They seem to enjoy being outdoors regardless of the weather. On the coldest days they’ll snooze outside with their bills tucked under their wings.

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We’re having our second January thaw and that means muddy, dirty ducks. When the rain covered the pond ice with a few inches of water, I encouraged the ducks to go in splash around. They wouldn’t have it, so I plucked up Dilly and set her in the water at the far end of the pond to show the other ducks that it wasn’t all frozen and they could splash. Dilly turned her back to me and waddled straight across the pond to climb out, her little feet slapping through the water as if I’d done something unforgivable.

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So, we resort to the mortar box. Every few days we haul jugs of water out and fill the mortar box so the ducks can bathe. Today was one of the rare days the garden hose wasn’t frozen solid – they got their bath with much less work.

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There was some seriously happy quacking going on – a much different sound than their complaining quacks we so often hear.

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How many ducks can you fit in a mortar box you ask? As many ducks as you have.

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So, Janet, the duckies are doing great (thanks for asking), but I suspect they’re looking forward to spring.

They’re not the only ones!

Past Ducky Posts:
22 June 2013: Introducing the Ducklings
14 June 2013: Adventure to the Big Pond
21 May 2013: Wandering Ducks
20 May 2013: An Unexpected Dip
18 May 2013: Meet Peep and Squeak!
12 May 2013: A Ducky Mother’s Day
22 April 2013: Dilly in the Lillie’s
15 April 2013: Two Drakes Is One Too Many
28 March 2013: Ducks in a Row
20 November 2012: For the Love of Ducks8 November 2012: First Snow of the Year
27 September 2012: Duck Tails
16 August 2012: Our Pond Runeth Over
29 July 2012: Slug Patrol
And more ducky posts

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3 Responses to Winter Ducks

  1. Helen says:

    They certainly are pretty ducks and you take wonderful care of them!

  2. Lisa Taylor says:

    Love that you have ducks! We have four Indian Runners, 2 hens, 2 drakes. They’re spending the winter in our greenhouse. We moved it close to our house and built a small outside run for them, as you said, to get out and stretch their legs. We moved their “duck house” into the greenhouse and we still stuck them in at night to keep them safe from coyotes and fox and other predators. I have a recommendation: a heated water bucket. We got it at a Tractor Supply store nearby. I think it’s intended for horses, but it has been a blessing this cold winter! They cost a bit ($16), but not having to break ice out of regular buckets is worth every penny, and the ducks always have water to drink when they need it. We just ran a heavy, outside extension cord out to the pen.

    • sjbennett says:

      We have electricity run the chicken coop. Paul built a warmer to go under the girls’ their waterer and that works great – until the light bulb burns out! For the ducks we don’t have a good shot for an extension cord and a way for the connection to stay dry right now. We’ve talked about running the power from the hen house across the drive to the duck coop. It’s just a matter of time and money, but I love the idea of the plugin bucket! That’s definitely on my wish list for next year.

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