Muscovy Duck Forum

Muscovy Central => Fencing & Shelters => Topic started by: newbe on October 23, 2009, 06:51:27 am

Title: heat light in the winter?
Post by: newbe on October 23, 2009, 06:51:27 am
we have 4 adult ducks.  i was wondering if a heat light is needed in the coop or is enough bedding good enough. 


Title: Re: heat light in the winter?
Post by: Kats on October 23, 2009, 08:53:25 am
Where are you? Does it get terribly cold? Ducks are pretty hardy. In my experience it's the chickens that want to huddle in the hen house when it gets cold. The ducks come out and waddle around in the snow. We're in upstate NY where it is supposed to get to a low of -20F, although it hasn't gone below 0F in years. We don't use a heat lamp except for ducklings who don't yet have their feathers.

Title: Re: heat light in the winter?
Post by: DUCK_GARDENER on October 23, 2009, 01:11:33 pm
I am here in the Central Valley of California. I was told not to let them bathe if it is cold(around 50 or less) and to give them a regular light bulb for heat in the winter if it is foggy, due to the moisture making them colder. Is this info Right, or are they ok to bathe if they want and do they really need a heat lamp? I want to do what is best for them, but I don't want them to lay and set clutches over the winter, which I understand can happen if they get more light in the winter. 4 (2 show/meat and 2 smaller utility)of my ducks were raised here, but 2 are( feral rescue ducks) from SC. They are in an old chicken coop (basically nesting shelf open to the run, but solid wood and facing along the wind rather thatn into it) with an attached run and a portable pen, all covered by a heavy tarp to keep out rain. We also have solid sides(plywood) at the end which gets year round wind. Should this be enough or do we need to do more for them to be safe and comfortable?

Title: Re: heat light in the winter?
Post by: Cathy on October 23, 2009, 11:35:10 pm
Usually unless you have a lot of snow and/or rain Muscovy will do well with a shelter to get out of the elements & a layer of bedding to keep their feet warm.  Heat lamps aren't usually needed.  If you have a lot of snow which prevents easy feeding/watering and the like a way to pen them indoors is probably a good idea.  I still wouldn't use a heat lamp but would make sure that the building was as draft-free as possible.  Ducks usually stay warm (and bouyant!) by trapping air against their body underneath the feathers.  If their feathers are in good condition they should be able to handle *most* weather fairly well.  Very cold temps might cause some frostbite to caruncling so if I had drakes with a lot of caruncling and a long winter of very cold temps I might then consider something to help prevent frostbite.

Title: Re: heat light in the winter?
Post by: Kats on October 24, 2009, 08:21:46 am
I shut them in at night in a shed that now contains about 9" of straw (added now and then since the spring). This is to protect them from predators. I don't let them out until after 9 am. They tend to lay eggs in early morning, so all their eggs are laid in the shed and I collect them every day. I don't want ducklings in the middle of winter either!

The other day it was 42F here and a couple of the ducks were bathing in the duck pond (which is a kiddie wading pool). I thought they were nuts, but they seemed perfectly happy. They also like to stand in the rain and take a bath. The only thing they seem to avoid is blowing rain. They turn their backs to it.

In the Central Valley, there is no way you need a heat lamp for them in winter.

Title: Re: heat light in the winter?
Post by: DUCK_GARDENER on October 24, 2009, 06:20:48 pm
Thanks for the reassurances, Cathy and kats. It helps alot. I was thinking that we would have to build a true building for them. They are sheltered and the weather has rarely gotten lower than 28 degrees at night in about late January! That is the coldest part of the year, and people still talk about the "freeze" that hit is 1990! it got down to around 20 degrees and killed some cirtus trees and broke the copper water pipes to a lot of swamp coolers! But that is weather that hits 1 or 2 times in 100 years! Usually it just feels cold when we remember the 114degrees for the last summer! Our drake has a fair amount of curunciling, but not excessive and at worst the water dish should never ice over, so I think that he should be ok, but we will watch out for him. Thanks

Title: Re: heat light in the winter?
Post by: fish2 on October 26, 2009, 03:49:24 pm
My muscovies have gone through several winters of -20 F and even down to -30 F with no trouble.  They could have gone under the porch to sleep on dry straw but most chose to sleep outside on dry straw.  When it hit -30 last winter they did go under the porch for a while.

If I put out a pan of water at -10 F they still bathe in it without any problems.  I do make sure to put the pan away from their resting area so it doesn't get everything wet.

Title: Re: heat light in the winter?
Post by: newbe on October 27, 2009, 07:51:12 pm
Thank you for all your advise. Have a wonderful day!!!!

newbe :)