It's getting chilly here in Western Maine and I am finalizing my plans for keeping the ducks warm through the winter, as well as keeping their water from freezing. Our 6 ducks have an insulated house that stands 3 feet off the ground. They also have the space under the house to hang out in during the day. This space is covered with hardware cloth on the 3 sides that stick out of the fenced area. I am thinking about putting a compost pile up to one side of the duck house and fence, using a doubled over tarp to keep the compost in & ducks out. What I am hoping is that this will heat the underneath area, as well as the floor of the upper area. We would close the other 3 bottom sides in, leaving a small door for them.
Since I would be starting this now, and temps are around 35-45F high and 20-25F low already, will it have time to heat up?
Will a 4x4x4 compost heap be big enough, or should I go up to 5x5x4?
Could I potentially run plastic tubing or drinking grade garden hose through the pile to keep water from freezing? Would it get too hot?