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Do Ducks Eat *Less* in the Winter?!

 
Nicole Alderman
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My ducks are 4 and 5 months old, and it's been getting down to about 20 degress F at night for the past week, and only up to maybe 40 degrees in the afternoon. In just the last three days, they've been eating less and less. Today they didn't even finish their morning bowl of food. I don't know what they'd be eating, as everything is frozen. Maybe the salmnberry leaves that have fallen down, frozen? We have nine ducks (6 drakes, 3 not-yet-laying hens). They also are all sitting down more often.

Is this normal? Could there be something wrong, or is it just that they've finally achieved their adult size? Should I be worried?

Thank you!

 
Kris schulenburg
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Location: Henry County Ky Zone 6
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Had runner ducks for 8 years. my ducks always vary how much they eat. I assume they are finding something while they are out. Some plants are more palatable after they freeze. When it gets really cold they lay outside, behind their house looking miserable. They always perk back up one the weather gets nicer. Your ducks sound normal to me.
 
Nicole Alderman
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duck forest garden hugelkultur
 
Amy Hagstrom
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Location: Western Washington/Cascade foothills
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I live on the wetter side of Seattle, and my 4 Magpies have been similar until today (it's warmed up). Quieter, and laying down a bit (I think that is to warm their feet). I'm just so happy to be getting an egg every day from our young duck - didn't think she'd start laying until later winter.
 
Nicole Alderman
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We also live in the foothills, but still no eggs . How old are your magpies? My anconas are 4 and 5.5 months. But, we've also got only 3 females and 6 males (had been 7 males, one's in my tummy. We got bad odds with our ducklings!). Are the drakes stressing out the girls? Maybe we need to "harvest" a few more of those males...
 
Amy Hagstrom
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Location: Western Washington/Cascade foothills
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Your ducks are still pretty young for laying, so I doubt there's anything wrong. Our young duck was hatched around mid-May, and started laying a few weeks ago (and has only missed an egg one day since - she's a real machine); however, I think she's an exception - I spoke with her breeder and his other young ducks of about the same age hadn't started laying yet. Did I read somewhere you have Ancona's? They're a little bigger than Magpies, which might mean they're a little slower to mature too. And with the days being so short, it is likely they won't start laying until we at least turn the corner on the daylight hours. But I've only had ducks since May, so my experience is pretty limited.

We have 2 young drakes, a young duck, and a duck (1+ yrs old). I've decided one of the drakes has to go since too often the two drakes try to mate with the young duck at the same time and I'm afraid with both of them holding her down she might drown.

Bummer about you ending up with so many drakes. Hopefully you'll get some nice ducklings out of them in Spring to give you some more ducks/hens.
 
Nicole Alderman
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That makes sense. Our two oldest ancona hens supposedly hatched at the beginning of June (we bought them in August). I'm really hoping for ducklings, and for much better odds when they hatch!
 
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