“…With a river-duck’s egg,
The offer of Yngvar.”
Snow has fallen again and while the chickens are upset at the ground cover, the ducks are quite happy sliding around on their bellies and digging down deep into the fluff. The duck house has held up well so far this winter and I have not had to make any repairs to it at all so far. Our makeshift window cover keeps the wind out but lets in just enough air that they are comfortable when huddling down in the straw.
Water is still a problem. Since the ducks cannot gain access during the day to the duck pond, I have an old plastic litter box that they use for drinking and playing in. Each morning we dump in a 5 gallon bucket of hot water and within a half hour they have turned it into the normal mud pit. With the temperatures down into the negatives this week though, it quickly becomes a frozen mud pit.
We purchased these 6 ducks last spring and they have been enjoying the outdoors since late April. While we could incubate eggs, I think that this year it will be left up to the hens to hatch out their own. It will be interesting to see if we have some ducklings soon.
Our Barred Rock coop seems to handle the cold much better than the flock in the main coop. We keep these two hens and a rooster separate from the rest for two reasons. First, I like to have two roosters around as a redundancy. If one goes down, I still have another to replenish the flock. Second, I have a pure bloodline that I can keep an eye on for culling purposes.
Their small coop has held up just fine so far this winter as well. Packed with straw, they huddle inside out of the wind during the day and at night they continue to perch together on the roost. Soon though spring will be here and the gates will come open and the free ranging will begin once more.