How to Care for Ducks in the Winter

When housing ducks in winter, there are some simple tactics to keep things hospitable in the duck coop. They don’t mind the cold, really.

brown and white duck on winter snow

Raising ducks on your homestead is fun. They are full of personality, enjoyable to watch, and relaxing to be around.  When the weather is warm, they are very low maintenance. Fill their pool with fresh water, feed nourishing food, and collect fresh duck eggs.

In warm weather, they don’t even need a duck coop. They tend to tuck themselves under shrubs or in grasses when they want to rest. They don’t roost at night like chickens do, but rather wander around, looking for food.

Keeping ducks in winter weather is a bit different, but not difficult.

Do ducks get cold in winter?

 The big question is, do ducks get cold in the winter? The biggest concern is their feet, which can become frostbitten at very low temperatures. Ducks have a counter-current heat exchange system which prevents their feet from becoming damaged even in icy conditions.

Take a look at these happy ducks having a little bath in snowy conditions!

That means that the warm blood flowing in veins from their heart flows very close to the cold blood flowing from their feet. This helps normalize the temperature in their feet. [More on that here.]

Domestic ducks survive winter in gentler conditions than wild ducks, as we take a bit more care in providing a hospitable duck coop.

Ducks will survive even when temperatures dip into negative numbers, but on these cold nights, take extra care to make sure you take the following into consideration.

muscovy duck on snow in winter

Keeping ducks in winter

Your adult ducks can be happy egg producers all year round if they have a dry duck coop where they can escape the nasty weather. Setting up a duck shelter for winter is easy, though.

attainable sustainable book cover
Attainable Sustainablethe lost art of self-reliant living

Embrace handcrafting and homesteading with DIY projects, recipes, and gardening tips!

👉 Click here to get started 👈

A winter duck house can be a productive duck house with just a few extra steps of care and some planning ahead. 

Heather says about her ducks: I live where the winter temps get to -30F. The ducks have a layer of fat under their skin that keeps them warm. 

Note that there are a lot of anecdotes about keeping ducks in cold winters in the comment section, too!

What size duck coop?

If your ducks will be locked into the coop for extended periods of time, provide 4-5 square feet of ground space per bird. If you live where the temps dip below freezing regularly and plan to keep the ducks inside for a good part of the winter, even more space would make them happy.

Flying the coop

If your coop is situated inside a fenced paddock area, the ducks can be released during the day if the weather isn’t too blustery. Round them up at night and tuck them back into the coop where they’ll be warmer and safe from hungry predators.

Do they have to be locked up? The concern here is purely predators. If they’re safe from predators in a fenced area, the answer is no. The ducks will make themselves at home wherever they are comfortable. They tend to wander at night, so they might move in and out of the duck coop you’ve made for them. 

mallards on snow

Provide extra straw in the duck coop

Since most duck breeds don’t roost like chickens do, they are on the ground all the time. Extra straw helps keep them off the cold ground and helps to manage the copious amounts of duck poop that will accumulate.

You’ll likely need to put down a full bale of straw two to three times throughout the winter.

Collect the old straw for the compost pile, then scatter fresh straw through out the coop. The ducks will settle into the straw, and build nests to lay their eggs in. This makes it much easier to find their eggs instead of the daily hunt, too.

ducks on snowy ground

Deep litter

Another option is to use a deep litter method. With this method, you’ll just add fresh straw every few days as needed to keep the pen fresh. (Ahem, cover the poop.) The thick layer of straw helps keep the ducks warm during the cold months. 

When spring weather arrives, shovel out the straw and move it into the compost pile.

Raise the ducks

A coop that’s raised off the ground by a foot or is another option. This way, the ducks are not right on the frozen ground. If you live in a very cold region, you can insulate the floor to keep the space cozier. You’ll still want to provide straw on the floor of the coop.

Related: 3 Good Duck Breeds for Beginners

wooden barn covered in snow

Water for ducks in winter

Ducks LOVE water and need it to process their foodHeated bowls assure the duck water does not freeze. It also prevents the need to worry about chipping away frozen blocks when it’s 30 degrees below. Depending on the size of the containers, you may need to replenish the water daily. 

While ducks do need water to process their food, it’s not necessary to maintain a place for them to swim. 

Heather shared a great idea in the comments section: 

I got the long flat storage tubs that are for under your bed. I took the lids and cut 4 largish square holes in it. It’s deep enough that they can get their whole head in to clean their beaks off, but cant get in to swim. I have almost no ice around their waterer. I have two, so if one’s frozen, I can swap with a fresh one. Works great!

Consider the ice

To combat slipping and sliding all over the place, use straw around the water buckets by basically burying the water buckets in straw two to three inches deep.

The straw helps to minimize the formation of ice. Replace it often, and send the old, wet straw to the compost pile. 

Related: 5 Reasons to Add Ducks to Your Homestead

young ducks eating greens out of a bowl

Keep them fed

During mild weather, ducks forage for snails and slugs and bugs. Since ducks will not be able to forage for much food when there’s snow and ice everywhere, you need to make sure that they get enough feed. Plan on at least doubling their food rations each winter.

That, along with fodder and added treats such as cracked corn, peanuts, or cabbage shreds will help keep them happy and healthy.

Do ducks need heat in winter?

Ducks do NOT need a heat lamp in their coop. They are a terrible fire hazard, especially if the coop is not wired specifically for lighting.

brown and white duck on winter snow

The layers of fat and feathers that ducks are equipped with keep them warm, even when they are wet.

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to keep a happy, healthy flock all winter long, even in the coldest of areas! 

This post was originally contributed by Heather Harris from The Homesteading Hippy. It has been completely updated with new information. 

Click to save or share!

About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. Read more about Kris and how she got started with this site here. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

113 comments… add one
  • Dawn Dec 19, 2023 @ 22:27

    Just a little story about a Duck named Peepers. I got him as a gift when I was about 3 years old, he was the best friend I could have ever had. He will never be forgotten and I’m in my 60’s now.. I can’t say my parents liked him very well because he was extremely protective of me and he would fly up and give them a flogging on the head once in a while. He alway gave me the opportunity to have a bit of the run of the house occasionally. He was the boss and I was his best friend. He followed me behind me everywhere I went, when I talked he quacked in replies, he bathed with me and slept with me on the foot of my bed, he ate at the kitchen table and had his own highchair and ate off his own dinner plate, his favorite meals were pancakes and spaghetti. He also had to go for rides in the car as he would never leave my side or there would be “you know what” to be paid with temper tantrums and duck screams that made me laugh so much. He would pose for pictures and I could see he was saying cheese. I loved that white duck that brought me such joy, friendship, laughs and memories that have lasted me a lifetime. Just the thought of Peepers still fills my heart today.

    • AttainableSustainable Dec 21, 2023 @ 7:02

      What a sweet story!

  • Erik May 17, 2023 @ 13:19

    Mallard derived breeds are clearly adapted to the cold. Unfortunately my job requires that be domiciled in a too-urban county & I will therefore have close neighbors. Thus I am leaning towards Muscovies, though they aren’t great for eggs, simply because they have the quietest ducks and I need both sexes to have a replicating colony that can sustain meat harvests. Muscovies were domesticated in northern South America. Will they really survive z5 winters without heat!?

    • AttainableSustainable May 18, 2023 @ 6:09

      Try insulating the floor and provide straw on the floor of the coop. You may want to do some research regarding that specific breed and your region!

  • Kari chilson Jan 11, 2023 @ 23:56

    I don’t use straw anymore for my ducks because when it gets wet it creates a bacteria that makes it hard for my ducks to breathe. I’ve lost 2 ducks to this spore infection. I only use pine wood flakes now which is less prone to grow bacteria when wet.

    • AttainableSustainable Jan 12, 2023 @ 7:18

      That is good to know, thanks for the heads up, especially for those in damp climates.

    • Barbara Nov 19, 2023 @ 18:42

      What do you use now?

  • Gail Hodge Dec 21, 2022 @ 12:15

    My ducks and chickens share a coop and have since ducks were first released into the elements. I have been dealing with what I thought was a leaky waterer but, after replacing the waterers, am starting to think that the ducks are the culprits. We do the deep litter mode and have concrete underneath. Every day the hay is soaking wet and if you leave it for a few days it gets horribly mucky. I tried removing the hay around the waterers but that just causes the water to spread across the floor to were the ducks nest. Is there a way to mitigate the situation? We don’t have a pond right now as our temps are steadily at freezing.

    • Kris Bordessa Jan 4, 2023 @ 13:17

      Try putting a lid on the water with holes just big enough for the ducks to drink – not to play in. 🙂

  • Kim Dec 15, 2022 @ 5:26

    We have three ducks the temperature is suppose to be down in the teens, do we need to bring them inside? What do we need to do to their duck house so we know they are taken care of during the cold nights

    • AttainableSustainable Dec 15, 2022 @ 13:18

      Generally, the weather in the teens should be ok, as noted in the post if the temps are below zero definitely think about their feet. You can raise the duck house off the ground to keep it a little warmer and keep researching if you’re worried about them, read through the comments here too, there are good ideas! Cheers to happy ducks 🙂

  • Donna Dec 14, 2022 @ 4:31

    I have a big shed I keep my peking ducks in ..we live in the winter is brutal..I have 2 heat lamps and lots of the shed..should I replace the heat lamps with a dog house heater?

    • AttainableSustainable Dec 15, 2022 @ 13:20

      I don’t know about dog house heaters… the main concern is a fire hazard so keep that in mind either way.

  • Tommy May 17, 2022 @ 8:47

    My Duck Quacker is so tame and gentle!
    The jurney has been fun and amazing! I’m wondering though, do the need a companion?
    I live in Kansas and at times the weather is unbelievably cold along with strong cold north winds! Do I need heat for the duck during the winter? Also will they swim with a warmer in there pool?

    • AttainableSustainable May 17, 2022 @ 10:09

      I’m so happy you love your duck! They don’t necessarily *need a companion. A coop in the winter should suffice. 🙂

    • Zura Aug 18, 2023 @ 6:50

      Ducks are naturally social because they are flock animals. You should never keep just the one duck, unless you are the replacement companion i.e. it’s bonded with you instead of with other ducks.

  • Manuela Mihaljev Mar 6, 2022 @ 12:20

    Hi , My 7 Royen ducks are just great . They are about 9 months old and they were getting along great up to now. The drake started chasing the one female , biting her at her neck and wings. Every time she comes close to him. I know when they mate , it looks like fighting sometimes but this looks different – haven’t seen this before. Just worried for the poor duck. Should I be concerned?
    Thank you. Manuela.

    • AttainableSustainable Mar 8, 2022 @ 8:08

      Male ducks are known for being aggressive towards females, which I believe usually relates to mating, but have heard it can also be a space/territory issue. Look more into it based on what you are seeing. It may pass, or you may want to consider separating them. Good luck!

  • Manuela M. Jan 2, 2022 @ 13:42

    We have 7 Royen Ducks , living in south Ontario – Canada. We love them so much. They are now about six and a half months old. Because we coudn’t find any special duck feed for them , we were told to feed them with chicken feed. So in the start they had the nonmedicated chicken feed – starter with added yeast for their feet. Now they have the chicken feed finisher also non medicated. With that : romain lettuce , peas , corn – sweet , cracked corn , cucumbers , worms … we just started bying millworms for winter. I was just wondering , is the chicken feed ok ? since we don’t have the duck feed . Should we be giving them something else? Thank you. Manuela.

    • AttainableSustainable Jan 4, 2022 @ 9:06

      What you are giving them sounds pretty well-rounded to me – although without comparing it’s hard to know how different the chicken feed and duck feed you might want are. I have bought duck feed online, you could look into that as an option if you want to switch. Happy winter to your ducks!

      • Deborah Reeves Dec 23, 2022 @ 11:25

        I have mine delivered. And, the price is comparable. The meal worms too. Dried. I love my Quackers, Jack and Buffy. Gracie passed on. Any food 16 – 19% protein.

        • AttainableSustainable Dec 29, 2022 @ 11:59

          Good to know. Your ducks sound lovely 🙂

  • Holly Jan 1, 2022 @ 3:03

    We live in North Central Florida. The temps here only dip below 30° a few nights per year. Do my ducks NEED a winter house? They currently have one that is about 40 SQ ft attached to a 240 sq ft run. They are locked in the run at night with open access to the winter house. The problem is that I have 21 ducks and a goose and had 6 ducklings hatch right before Christmas. I’m worried about the house being too small for them all, especially if the flock continues growing.

    • AttainableSustainable Jan 4, 2022 @ 9:11

      You could consider prioritizing the ducklings for the colder nights, but overall it sounds like you’re weather is pretty mild and you shouldn’t have to stress about it too much. It sounds like you have a good setup!

  • Kim Keating Oct 30, 2021 @ 14:19

    Hey I’m totally new to ducks. I live in NE Mississippi, originally from Chicago. So I’m used to very cold snowy Winters. It’s October and I’m just try to prep for winter. Our two Perkins Re about two months old and we have a nice warm house for night. Winters here are pretty mild. Last year though we had some pretty bad ice. I guess the biggest concern is their feet. All of the information I’ve read here has helped immensely! I’ve enjoyed watching them grow(very, very quickly) I’m so in love with them I want to be sure I’m doing everything right! Any and all info is appreciated ♥️

    • AttainableSustainable Nov 2, 2021 @ 11:26

      I’m glad you love your ducks and that you found this information useful!

  • Teresa Shrewsberry Sep 28, 2021 @ 10:48

    Yes I live in wva will my ducks need a pool in the winter

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 13, 2021 @ 14:59

      Ducks *always need water to process their food. The do not actually need to swim in it.

  • Amy May 11, 2021 @ 7:55

    I’m considering getting ducks (once all my research is done and my ducks are in a row 😉 ). Do ducks naturally stay near their habitat? Do you train them to stay in their yard? If so, how do you go about that? Thank you!

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 10, 2021 @ 10:04

      Once ducks know where home is, they stick pretty close. Feed them near where you’d like them to hang out.

      • Reese Nov 14, 2022 @ 6:39

        There are certain predators such as foxes and eagles where i live (southern maryland) and im wondering what kind of danger they pose? i never let them out of the run unsupervised because im scared they will get scooped up since its just the 2 of them. I was also going to encase their run in plywood to protect from strong winter winds (we are on the shore) but since it pretty much never gets below 10 F here i dont know if its necessary. I will definitely buy some bales of hay today.

  • Walter Mar 3, 2021 @ 7:05

    I live in Illinois . I know very little about raising ducks. I would like to raise mallards . I have a pond for them in warm weather. I have coyotes around and a bobcat. So what kind of coup do I need to build? how do I keep them safe ? They can fly so how do u round them in and do I need to pin them up at night?

    • Kris Bordessa Apr 24, 2021 @ 15:40

      You can clip their wings to prevent them from flying.

    • Susan Rush Jan 11, 2022 @ 16:05

      I have mallards and they love to fly each day. I would hate to take that away from them. I feed them in the morning and in the late afternoon, kputting the food in the pen so I have them contained and put them in the coop around 10 pm for the night. I keep them in the pen with access to the coop in the morning where I feed them and they lay eggs by 10 am then I let them out for the day. The biggest problem is wild drakes showing up to “have their way with them”. We have also had wild drakes pair up with them. This causes difficulties with getting them in at night and they WILL get eaten if left out at night. Honestly, I would get a flightless duck if I had it to do over. Clipping the wings just doesn’t seem kosher to me. I love them however and have things set up pretty well with a fairly large pen and coop do that I can keep them in during hunting season and in the winter months when predators are a bit more aggressive

      • AttainableSustainable Jan 13, 2022 @ 7:37

        Thanks for the advice! 🙂

  • Soulafa Feb 13, 2021 @ 17:00

    I live in Texas and it hasn’t gotten this cold in about 5 years. I have a duck in my backyard sitting on 15 eggs. It’s going to snow tonight and I was wondering if I need to cover it up at all. I’m worried about the baby ducklings.

    • Kris Bordessa Feb 21, 2021 @ 17:04

      So sorry; just seeing this. How did they do?

  • Mia Dec 30, 2020 @ 21:13

    I am new to the whole duck biz, and I was wondering how much insulation they will need in their run in the summer? How much hay should I lay in their coop, and what should I do insulation wise? I have a pond that is easily accessible to them and any water they should need.

    • Kris Bordessa Jan 1, 2021 @ 15:38

      In the summertime, I find that my ducks are pretty content anywhere and don’t need any sort of special spaces!

  • Rebecca Nov 2, 2020 @ 16:31

    I live just south of Buffalo NY.
    We have a small, about 1/4 acre, enclosed pond and now six pekin ducks.
    I had seven until last night * sigh*
    My husband and I just purchased supplies (two days ago) to build a larger coop. I was concerned the snow would eventually build up and predators would get over the fence.
    No snow accumulation yet but something killed one …
    I found the crime scene in a field nearby … just a small amount of feathers with blood left behind.
    I presume it was an owl because a coyote or fox should not have been able to jump back out of the fenced in pond/coop with a full grown duck ?
    Who knows …
    What are some ways to deter this from happening again ?
    Would a motion light help ?
    We built the new coop all day and they are inside now and I pray fine, cozy, content.
    I look forward to releasing them in the morning with a nutritious treat and fresh water ready !
    All of the comments and suggestions, regarding food and water especially, have been very helpful.
    I purchased the ducks during the National shut down recently.
    I love them as pets –
    The eggs are a bonus
    Thanks for any help.

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 23, 2020 @ 17:28

      If you have flying predators, a wire top can help

      • Dan Nov 28, 2020 @ 8:23

        We use hardware cloth for our duck enclosures roof, we consistently have a bobcat that likes to sit outside of them every morning, even after spraying wolf urine around the yard. The con about hardware cloth is when it snows heavily you have to remove the accumulated snow before a potential collapse. Ideally the best roof for a northern environment is to use corrugated plastic sheets pitched to allow the snow to slide off, spray some Pam on the roof before a snow fall.

  • Jess Oct 25, 2020 @ 10:31

    Hello. I live on a small lake in Nebraska and some jerk dumped 3 beautiful domestic ducks this spring back in our cove. I have been feeding them cracked corn all summer. I’m terribly worried about them once our lake starts to freeze.
    There is open water out in the deep areas but it freezes back in our cove and I’m worried they won’t be able to get their food source and worries about their feet getting frost bite. I have a friend that is willing to take them to her farm but catching them is going to be difficult as they aren’t that tame. Any suggestions on what to do? So we try and catch them or leave them and hope for the best?


    • Kris Bordessa Oct 26, 2020 @ 12:11

      Boy, that’s rough. Frost bite shouldn’t be a problem, but they need water in order to process food. Is there any way you can provide an unfrozen source of water there?

    • Yoli Randl Nov 14, 2021 @ 11:29

      To catch them throw a towel over them that’s how I pick up my ducks sometime (The ground of course, not in the water)
      Get a heated water bowl for them ❤️
      I live in SaintLouis & that’s what I do for winter

  • Laura Oct 19, 2020 @ 11:12

    I’m also new to ducks. Ontario Canada easy -30’s C. I have a chicken coop with a run, currently it has a huge door that I close at night as there is like a doggie door beside it. I have insulated the coop using Styrofoam boarded up. I have some big heated dog bowls that I plan on using, my question is can I leave the water outside the coop and the food inside?

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 26, 2020 @ 12:23

      As long as they have access to thawed water it should be fine outside. It doesn’t have to be *right next to their food.

    • Jennifer May 3, 2021 @ 19:30

      I am new to ducks this year and am totally in love. We live in Michigan and as I set up their permanent enclosure, I’m doing it with winter in mind. Do you have any tips for me? I’d greatly appreciate any advice you can offer.

  • Vicki Oct 6, 2020 @ 5:06

    Heated dog water bowls work great in my Northern Minnesota coop. i have three bowls, three geese and over a dozen ducks. The bowls come in two depths. Get the deep ones. Both ducks and geese can plunge their beaks in the water yet can’t get in to swim. I have to dump the water daily. But my birds are worth the work. Also, I add to mounds of straw in the corners for their beds. Otherwise, I use pine shavings on the floor. P.S. you can easily run outdoor extension cords to your coop to heat water.

    • Susan Jul 19, 2021 @ 16:27

      I live in south Minneapolis and would love advice on which pen is best for overwintering ducks. ALso I only have one duck, a rescued female Mallard that is imprinted to humans. She gets lonely for people, has probably never even seen another duck. Should I get a companion for her to overwinter with and where can I find one this time of year. Thank you

      • CC Oct 2, 2021 @ 16:46

        Tractor supply in Prior Lake has ducks but call them before you head over there

  • Heather Oct 4, 2020 @ 5:31

    Question:: I am in Michigan first winter with my ducks they all house with a bantam chicken and a turkey. What about their pools in the winter? Do we just close them off so they can’t use them?

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 6, 2020 @ 7:47

      They definitely need access to water in order to process what they eat. You could eliminate the swimming pools and just give them a container for drinking (though they’ll likely try to get in that, as I’m sure you know!).

  • Brett Sep 29, 2020 @ 7:21

    I live in the UP of Michigan and last year our 1st with ducks in the winter we just had a small shoveled out area for a make shift wall just outside their run that’s under a deck we kept the feed and water outside but it ended up icing up from spilling playing etc this year we plan on keep a small area of the small lake we live on open which is about 25 yards out … the wife thinks we should t-post a area and just spade it out as needed … I would just prefer to run aeration system with no fencing … we live in area with coyotes and have even seen wolf tracks on the lake
    We really don’t have any problems with wildlife as our dog just like to watch the ducks and the neighbors golden just ignores them … but with shrinking good supply how worried would all be

  • Vicci Hubbard Sep 19, 2020 @ 4:56

    I’m in SE Wisconsin. We have a 2500 sf pen that they roam in, during the day. I usually lock them in a secure duck house at night, but they really seem to prefer staying outside. The pen has cattle fencing, with chicken wire over that, but nothing on top (like aviary netting). I’m worried about predators at night. I’m wondering if you think it’d be safe to let them stay out (in their pen) overnight & just leave the door to the pen/shelter open, so they can go in & out as they please.

  • Julie Sisk Sep 13, 2020 @ 5:50

    Maybe I missed it, but I do deep litter in my ducks pen. I add litter every day or two depending on need, it’s a few feet high by spring. This gives them a nice warm bed all winter, and a great start to my compost in the spring. Not sure if some areas to to cold for this to work?

    • Britt Susan Moore Mar 19, 2023 @ 4:52

      This is really smart. What kind of litter do you use?

  • Ellen Sep 13, 2020 @ 5:06

    We are collecting & putting pallets covered with poultry fencing in our duck pen. I cover them with straw. We have a hoop coop made outta cattle panels & covered with clear plastic & a black plastic so they can have or not have sunlight. We keep the waters out of the hoop coop but on pallets in the pen & outside the pen & in winter we use a water warmer to keep the ice from from forming. They also have two chicken coops as options ( one has two heat panels) if they choose, our one chicken doesnt mind sharing. Our first ducks are a work in progress. Any tips are appreciated!

  • Eva Jul 1, 2020 @ 9:40

    I’m thinking about getting ducks but during the winter it gets pretty cold and I’m worried about there water freezing up what would be a good solution for that?

    • Kris Bordessa Jul 4, 2020 @ 10:29

      They make special waterers with a heat element to prevent this.

  • Mike Nagy Nov 20, 2019 @ 10:39

    After reading the comments from northern states and Canada I’m taking it that I realy dont need to worry about the cold (to me) here in northern Arizona where the temperature does drop to the mid to lower teens for a couple of weeks at a time and we can get as much as 16 inche to two feet of snow at a time. My 8 ducks live in a predator proof large pend off area that has one duck hut, a wind break and a large dog crate that three of the hens like to lay thier eggs in. I also dug a good size mud hole that they absolutely love even more then thier pools. My biggest question is will do the ducks have the intelligence to know when they need to get out of the weather or do I need to intervene and make them go inside out of the weather

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 30, 2019 @ 8:06

      I would *think so, but you know. Ducks. 😉

  • Sarah Sep 20, 2019 @ 3:30

    We live in Northern Indiana too! This will be our first winter with ducks. After reading all the comments/problems about water…would keeping one of our pond aerators on this winter be a better idea for our ¾ acre pond? Or does swimming in super cold water damage their feet?

    • Kris Bordessa Sep 20, 2019 @ 12:42

      Ducks seem to be pretty impervious to cold!

  • Alexis Aug 19, 2019 @ 9:05

    Thank you for such an informative article and comments!
    We have five ducks – this will be their first winter so we are getting things together.
    I love these ducks – they are such a joy to watch and listen to them all talking to each other.
    Sometimes I quack quack quack at them and they all fall silent looking at me like I’m from another planet! hahaha

    • Mia Dec 30, 2020 @ 21:07

      I’m a bit late, but I love this comment!

  • Karen Carpenter Aug 13, 2019 @ 9:43

    The above article said
    “Our ducks are five to seven years old, and still continue to lay five eggs a week in the winter without supplemental light. ”
    So are you saying even in winter each of your laying ducks still drop an egg nearly every day? If not how many layers do you have to get about 5 eggs a day in winter?
    I am trying to supplement my dog food since it seems there are new issues every year with kibble.

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 28, 2019 @ 11:50

      I’ll see if Heather can answer this (my climate is quite different from hers) but I can tell you that my ducks are much more productive than the chickens, year round. My *guess would be that to get 5 eggs a day, 7-8 ducks would be a good number. (Great idea to supplement the dog feed, too!)

  • Gramma Peachy Jul 26, 2019 @ 11:48

    I very much enjoyed reading this article and the comments that followed.
    I have chickens ducks and pheasants all living together nicely.
    Ducks hold their own when it comes to a bully chickens and so do pheasants.
    I have read several articles that state you cannot raise pheasants with chickens but I am not having any issues with it. My pheasants are happy and healthy. last week one got out and was gone for about four days and I thought I would never see it again but it returned home and was circling the chicken’s coop and yard until I open the gate and it walked right in. It was very happy to be home. I think my pheasant think they are chickens LOL

    • Kris Bordessa Jul 28, 2019 @ 7:54

      I’ve never raised pheasants!

  • David Hansmeyer Dec 27, 2018 @ 7:40

    I would like to know if geese can use the same watering system, low storage containers with holes cut into the lid, that you describe for ducks. I have one ready to use.
    Please respond to my email address.

  • Cortney Oct 4, 2018 @ 12:00

    Does anyone have a major coyote problem. I lost a whole flock of guinea hens (22 of them) to coyotes. I worry about my 5 ducks and 10 chickens so I try to keep them in when I am not home, but I feel bad locking them u in the pen. Its a 25×15 pen so its not small but still it isn’t freedom. Any advice???

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 17, 2018 @ 9:36

      Predators are a problem, for sure. Keeping them locked in a large, safe space to keep them secure when you’re not around seems like a good compromise.

    • BlakeW5 Jan 6, 2019 @ 4:38

      Use electric net fencing, that’s what I use. Not cheap, but easy setup, and the mesh gradually gets closer together towards the ground. Not to mention it’s easy to move to fresh areas for foraging. I’ve yet to have a bird get out, or a predator get in. I used electric tape before, and chickens would slip through the wires, and headstrong ducks would stampede through it.

      My ducks WON’T use their coop, except to lay eggs in. Last batch wouldn’t even do that. They prefer to sleep out in the grass rain, shine, or snow.

      Not having to wrangle birds into a coop before I go to work, which is also before sunset, made the purchase worth it’s weight in gold. Birds stay safe, and they can go about the backyard as they please, and bed down when they want to.

      It runs $1.5-2 a foot for the stuff. If you do get it buy it with the posts spaced as close together as you can afford, keeps it from sagging.

      • Mary Frazier Dec 3, 2019 @ 14:11

        Where do you get the electric net fencing? I live in Kansas and it can get pretty cold. We have our duck near a pond but need some way to keep him in .

        • Linda K. Best Jul 1, 2020 @ 3:27

          Premier1 Fencing products are the best choice if you want to electrify your poultry run or have portable foraging options.

  • Marisa Jul 28, 2018 @ 8:32

    I currently have 3 Pekin ducks. I got them a small low (3in off ground) coop. The all fit but refuse to sleep in it at night. They do know how to go in but would rather sleep in the grass under the sunflowers. We have a fairly secure back yard fence. Is this normal. We are in Maine so winter we will have to enforce sleeping in the coop.

    • Kris Bordessa Jul 29, 2018 @ 13:36

      Mine prefer to sleep under bushes – totally normal. They may be drawn to the warmth come winter, though.

  • Bruce bartolowits Jan 24, 2018 @ 23:27

    We have mice in duck condo..any ideas to get them out?? Is a grandfather feeder ok for ducks??

  • Kelli B Dec 14, 2017 @ 13:15

    Hi, I live in lower Michigan near the indiana/Ohio border and I have 10 ducks. This is my first winter with them in a very long time and mine seem to get water everywhere! Any tips on trying to keep the pens somewhat dry during the cold months? I take food and water out over night but they still make a huge mess during the day and the water is outside in their run. Any advice is much appreciated!!

    • Emily Sep 16, 2018 @ 4:30

      YouTube the duck man. He has a duck shield around water.

    • Erika Oct 5, 2019 @ 15:04

      I keep my duck water over a patch of recycled bricks set with pea gravel. Cheap, Beautiful, and amazing drainage.

  • Jamie ziegler Dec 8, 2017 @ 18:03

    This will be my first winter with my Ducks, I have Two, I love them, I’m scarred but I can see I seem to be doing things right hey get locked up every night even in summer, I heard a high carb diet helps, so I tried boiling spaghetti for them they love it, I think they think it’s worms LOL, I go thru a pound a week, they also get dog food mixed with peanut butter oats cracked corn, frozen peas, and lettuce twice a day, no eggs yet, just started to notice them together in pool, so I’m excited for the outcome, they also get along wth 2 dogs, a cat, I call it my own little farm

    • Erin Dec 6, 2021 @ 12:08

      Hi protein is much healthier for them and will keep them warmer. High carb for ducks is just like giving a human child a bucket of sugar….sure they love it, but it’s terrible for them in the long run. I recommend peanuts, grubs, or other protein rich foods to help keep them warm in winter.

  • Paula Nov 19, 2017 @ 4:36

    Have you heard of people raising ducks in a waste lagoon? Ive seen this done but wonder about the health of t animals

    • Kris Bordessa Dec 2, 2017 @ 17:05

      I haven’t, sorry.

  • Laurie Nov 9, 2017 @ 14:57

    How cold is it where you live? I’m in Maine and nights are in the 20’s already . I worry that it will be to cold for them.

  • Kenni Aug 24, 2017 @ 15:07

    We live in NC where weather during winter rarely stays below freezing during the day but can dip to the single digits sometimes at night. Aside from maintaining drinking water would it be necessary to do anything else. We have 5 runner ducks which their breed does not make nests.

  • Jessica Aug 11, 2017 @ 3:23

    What about their pond? We were thinking of draining it and leaving it empty for the winter. Any thoughts/advice in that area?

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 11, 2017 @ 14:30

      They do need access to water, though it doesn’t have to be a pond. Maybe a heated waterer? (They’ll try to swim in it if they can!)

    • Heather Feb 12, 2018 @ 17:08

      We have Welsh Harlequins, and ours still roam our 1/2 acre micro farm in the winter. They sure let me know if they dont get outa the barn every day! We’re in the Pacific NW, so it gets chilly here in the winter. I only keep them in during the day if its going to stay below freezing all day. For a waterer, i got the long flat storage tubs that are for under your bed. I took the lids and cut 4 largish square holes in it, but left the criss cross “grid”. Its deep enough that they can get their whole head in to clean their beaks off, but cant get in to swim. I have almost no ice around their waterer. I have 2, so if ones frozen, i can swap with a fresh one. Works great!

      • Megan Pollock Nov 28, 2018 @ 19:59

        Wonderful idea!!! Also here in PNW and ducks, geese, turkeys n chickens share big coop at night after free range days. Going to Home Depot and buying 2 tomorrow.

      • Bonnie Mechelke Sep 1, 2019 @ 12:29

        How do these boxes not freeze

        • Sarah Sep 20, 2019 @ 3:22

          I think they do…she just swaps out the frozen ones for thawed ones. Her tip was to reduce the amount of ice, not to prevent freezing. 🙂

          • DonnaSue Dec 24, 2020 @ 8:09

            If you put plastic golf balls in it they will help the water stay open tell the teens. Other wise you just have to change it out often.

  • Erica Lynn Jun 12, 2017 @ 15:12


    I just want to confirm I read this right…Ducks do NOT need heat lamps? We live in New Brunswick, Canada where it can easily hit -30 Celsius, with this in mind they would still be fine with the proper amount of straw/wind coverage? Also, with the heave amounts of snow we receive what size coop should they have? as they will definitely not be willing to go play in their run. I have always raised meat ducks and am now looking into getting some runner ducks to add to our collection of 31 loving various fowls

    • Heather@Thehomesteadinghippy Jun 13, 2017 @ 23:25

      I live where the winter temps get to -30F. No, not as cold as you 🙂 but, the ducks will have a layer of fat under their skin that keeps them warm. Heat lamps that would have to be close enough for them to get a benefit would be a huge fire risk with the water and straw around. If you are concerned, I would add additional straw for them to stay off the frozen ground.

      • Adria Aug 30, 2020 @ 3:18

        I use >“Cozy Products CL Cozy Safe Chicken Coop Heater (200 Watts Safer Than Brooder Lamps, One Size, Black)“ from Amazon.
        It’s like a computer screen and totally safe. I have a 12 x 8 chicken coop with 4 nesting boxes and I mount one under the nesting boxes in case I can’t get the eggs (helps prevent eggs from freezing ) and one next to their roost. I did buy a 3rd one when they went on sale and I’m glad I did because I will be using it for the duck that I rescued this spring. They do go on sale on amazon so keep an eye out. I think I paid about $60 and is well worth the money. Even if you put It on the floor (it has removable legs) and it gets knocked over… very safe. Please don’t use a regular heating lamp because even if you have it very secure the chickens can fly close enough and their wings can catch fire. I used one indoors for my chicks at the beginning and had it sit on two pieces of wood with 1/4” hardware wire with a frame Under the lamp …that worked but once I set it on top of the wood (it was unplugged) for about 2 seconds and it started to smoke right away so they are very dangerous. The Cozy Coop heater is a great alternative! And my chickens love it!

    • Liza Aug 23, 2017 @ 0:07

      Erica – HI! I also live in NB, and raise ducks (Pekins, Khakis & Calls) in our freezing cold winter months.
      I just make sure they have a place out of the wind (they winter in one of our barn stalls) put lots of straw down…and on nights when I know the temps are dropping really low – I make some warm oatmeal or even quinoa for their little bellies.
      They do really well in the winter…a lot better then my chickens do!

      • Gayle Leubecker May 18, 2019 @ 5:29

        We have ducklings for the first time. Do they need a building in the winter? We considered putting them in the chicken shed, but don’t know if the girls will be mean to them.

        We plan to move them outside now (they are 5 weeks old and nights are in the 60’s or so now – we live in MD). Our winters are not usually below 18 degrees or so normally. We have a pen we can straw up for them. Need advice, please!

        • Kris Bordessa May 19, 2019 @ 7:29

          You should provide them a place to shelter in that kind of cold. By wintertime, though, your ducklings should be full sized and I think they’ll hold their own with the chickens!

        • Annette May 28, 2020 @ 8:10

          Would love a picture of the water system for winter that ducks can’t get in to and reduce ice/ slipperiness around water.

          • Barbara Borgeld Jun 13, 2020 @ 1:38

            Hi Annette. I am new to ducks too and live in the far north of Michigan…long cold winters. I read a great idea which I will incorporate for ice free water station. This gentleman cut a hole in the floor and put a grate over it for water dribbles to fall into the hole rather than freeze all around the water station. I will build on this idea. I love building and built a girly outhouse a few years ago, sky lights and everything. I will have a round hole in the floor with a fairly deep hole under it….like in an outhouse, and fit a campfire grill over it for the water to fall through before it freezes all around the floor. I have a circular water heater for my chickens that I place under their water. It works great. (I had it professionally wired for safety). I’ll do the same thing for the ducks. Look for a heavy glass baking dish with a plastic lid. They can’t tip it over. Cut a strip/hole in the middle of the lid so they can get their whole head into the water but can’t climb into it. Hope this helps to get you started on what might work for you.

      • Andrew Oct 22, 2019 @ 8:19

        One of our ducks just hatched 4 eggs. I live in New York between Albaby and NYC and our night are getting in the 40’s. We have had one frost. I have no idea if I should take the babies inside or if their mom will be back to sit on them. There are a few more eggs that could hatch. They usually hatch over 2 days. Any help would be great.

        • Kris Bordessa Oct 31, 2019 @ 20:11

          I’m a bit behind on responding. How did this turn out?

        • Rhonda Aug 9, 2020 @ 15:44

          I live in SD im a new duck parent i hatch my ducks from a incubator with my chicken eggs I didnt know how much fun they would be they are 6mnths old now almost full grown they a malards and pretty big will they fly one day they dont know they can yet and 2vwhen will they lay eggs one male one female romane and julia are there names

        • Sharon Fines Sep 26, 2020 @ 9:33

          I to am a first time duck owner and I live in northern Alberta Canada where it easily hits -35 Celsius , and I’m wondering should my ducks live outside in an insulated dog house in the coop run or should they be inside with my chickens and I risk having a water mess all over the coop..? Even if I have their water outside they have to live with my chickens and so I have to have water inside for the chickens, as I seal up their doors and close them all in over winter…im just not sure how I go about setting this all up for them and I’m getting pretty stressed about it.. I mostly read about duck care down in warmer climate than ours, and don’t hear much about the extreme cold temperatures up North..?

    • Kenni Aug 24, 2017 @ 15:10

      Just FYI runner ducks do not nest they just plop their eggs wherever and walk off.

      • Nancy Nov 13, 2018 @ 7:35

        Mine nest and I start the nests with faux eggs which most will comply with. I leave one or two in nest within their night coop. They are creatures of habit. They have a large pond and forage area and they’ve been trained to go into coop at night. A bit trickier come spring time.

    • Mike Rook May 11, 2018 @ 13:15

      I live in upstate NY and it is quite harsh here in the winter as well. I usually don’t give my Ducks extra heat until we get that cold snap for like a week or so where it is like -20 every day. Then I do use one of those ceramic heat lamps (safer than bulbs) that I hang on a ratchet strap above where they sleep. I use the ratchet strap because it makes it easier to raise and lower the lamp. This is most handy in the early spring over the brooders during chick season. I like to think that ducks have a better down jacket than I do and are pretty hardy in the winter. Especially the heavier breed ducks such as Pekins. As far as how big should thier coop be. I use a shed but at least 3 square feet per duck is a good rule of thumb

    • Sage Skjellum Aug 21, 2018 @ 16:47

      I had ducks that wouldn’t even use the coop I tried to provide for them. I wrangled them into it bunches of times, but they weren’t having it. They slept in the snow, didn’t eat the feed I gave them. They mostly dug around the edges of our grain bins where the stray corn piled up. That flock of birds was quite independent, I can tell ya that much, lol. I live on the mid-eastern edge of South Dakota, where we get -30 degree weather for weeks at a time, so you can imagine how worried my duckies had me! But they survived, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about the cold for your ducks, as long as you provide enough straw and water. Don’t be scared to let them roam during the day! They know where they can come back to if they need to 🙂

    • Honorata Di Pietro Oct 12, 2020 @ 12:23

      Hi, we live in Ontario where we can have cold weather for a while during the winter, so again and for sure, it is easy to build a duck coup and NO heat lamp and it is also easy to keep them in the winter, but, thanks for this awesome information 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *