Friday, February 20, 2015

Winter weather

We are in the middle of a winter storm. While our little flock is mostly climatetized and have an open door house with 2 thermostated heat lamps, when the temps drop to 20 and below we close them up inside the house to keep them warm and safe.  

Our 4 hand raised feathered loves go in with very little encouragement, but the 6 adopted girls require much more.  

Overnight everyone is happy to be warm but after a few days of staying inside the 4'x8' duck house because of bitter cold and winter precipitation, they are getting tired of it and in desperate need of baths.  

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They are given small "buckets" of water to wash faces and drink, several times a day.  (yes we recycle coffee tubs as small buckets). The small buckets prevent them from trying to climb inside the buckets, which happens with the larger buckets and results in big splashes and tip overs.  In these temps and in the small enclosed space this is a big mess we try very hard to avoid. 

You can see here the 6 girls unhappily wondering why in the world I am inside the duck house with them. (I'm too big for them to be happy to share their smallish space with me). You can also see that they are starting to get a little mucky, inspite of our efforts to keep things clean and dry inside the duck house by repeatedly adding pine flakes.

To make matters a little more complicated, the boys seasoned in early, so they are separated from the girls because drakes are very aggressive with hens/girls when they are "in season", especially so with first couple of "seasoning in" of each year.  So to protect the girls and keep everyone mostly happy there is a "boys room" and a "girls room".   

You can see a few bald spots on the girls necks (back of their heads) and a few ragged places on their wings from heavy breeding activity that had begun. This is normal. We like to make sure the girls have plenty of safe run away space when they boys are in full season.  

You can see here that the fence between the boys and girls creates a peaceful happy little flock inside the duck house. 

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We think tho', that the duckies are ready for warm weather and clean warm pools. Those days are still 1-2 months aways, but maybe in a few days the temps will stay over freezing most of the day and we can open up the door of the house again and let them try to forage. 

Yes indeed, winter weather is hard on pet duckies. 



1 comment:

Unknown said...

How long do they mate each year?

I want to raise some ducklings but am slightly unsure in case I get a drake

What else do you do to prevent their rough mating procedures?