One of the biggest challenges of raising poultry is dealing with the winter. You want to provide enough food, protect the ducks from the wind, and most importantly, keep their water from freezing.
Ducks need access to water all day, or else they’ll dehydrate. So, if their pond or water source happens to freeze over, you’ll have a serious problem over there.
Luckily for you, there are a couple of ways to get over that.
If you want to know how to keep duck water from freezing, here’s everything you need!
How to Keep Duck Water From Freezing
There are plenty of ways to keep your duck water from freezing, and most of them don’t need any additional costs. Check these eight solutions and choose your favorite.
1 – Use the Ping Pong Trick
When the resources are low, people start to get creative. I like to believe the ping pong trick was invented by a curious duck owner who wanted to solve the water freezing problem once and for all.
If the temperature isn’t too low, drop a couple of ping pong balls in the duck water. They’ll keep floating around for a while, preventing ice from forming on the top.
The ducks will also move the balls around when drinking, and the wind will keep the water moving. The constant motion will prevent the water from freezing for a while.
But, bear in mind that this solution only works for moderate temperatures. If the temperature is too low, you’ll need to opt for another solution.
2 – Buy an Electric Food Bowl
A lot of pet owners use electrically heated bowls in the winter to keep the water warm. If you don’t have a lot of ducks, you can get one or two and keep them plugged in.
These bowls have built-in thermostats, so they automatically start heating when the temperature goes lower than a specific point.
Make sure to choose a bowl that’s deep enough for the ducks to dip their heads in, and check the availability of wall plugs in the coup before buying it.
3 – Boil Some Water
Boiling water and adding it to the ducks’ waterer is a bit time-consuming, but it works if you don’t have any other way to keep the water lukewarm.
It’s ideal if your area only freezes over a couple of weeks annually, so you don’t need a permanent solution.
All you have to do is boil a pot of water and pour it down the waterer when you feel it’s about to freeze.
You’ll want to test it first to make sure it doesn’t cause the water to get too hot. It only needs to thaw away on the ice.
Pour some water first, then stir using a spoon. Then, test the temperature using your fingers and add more water if necessary.
4 – Use Salt-Water Bottles
The best thing about the saltwater bottles solution is that it’s virtually free. You won’t have to buy anything more than you already have in your kitchen.
All you need is a plastic water bottle and a quarter cup of salt.
Drop the salt inside the bottle, then fill it with water. Afterward, put the bottle in the duck’s water container. The saltwater will delay the freezing because it has a very low freezing point.
So as long as the bottle keeps floating around in the water, the water won’t freeze. It works in the same way as the ping pong trick, except that it’s more efficient.
Both tricks will only delay the freezing until you change the water; they won’t prevent the water from freezing altogether.
5 – Get a Rubber Tub
Metal containers freeze much faster than any other material. If you have a metal waterer for your ducks, it may be time to replace it with a large rubber tub instead.
Aim at a black tub because the dark color attracts the sunlight more so than others. It also absorbs heat, so it’s highly unlikely that the water will freeze inside.
On top of that, try to get a large tub because it’ll keep the water warm for longer.
If you’re on a tight budget or you can’t find a black tub, you can always use an old tire lying around in your garage,
All you have to do is surround the tire’s walls with foam insulation, then place a bucket or any water container at the center.
This way, you have a deep container for the ducks to dip their heads in, and the foam insulation keeps it from freezing.
6 – Bury the Waterer
This may seem absurd, but burying your water container into the ground will keep it from freezing. All you have to do is dig an appropriately-sized hole and put the container in it.
The best thing about this solution is that you won’t need to buy anything extra or use electricity. Nature will do all the work for you.
There are some guidelines to keep in mind when digging, though. The hole needs to be at least eight inches wider than your container, and around five inches deeper.
After you dig, put some fresh manure, and place the water container on top of it. Fill the remaining parts of the hole with manure, then fill the container with water.
If you want to prevent dust and dirt from getting inside the water, you can always add a top cover. Additionally, you may place the container five inches above the ground for further protection.
Now, when it’s time to change the water, you’ll need to dig the waterer out of the ground again. So, you may want to consider the effort before going for this solution.
Bear in mind that you’ll also have to replace the manure with a fresh batch when it gets composted.
7 – Use Solar Energy
I know the first thing that’ll come to your mind when I say ‘solar energy’ is the large panels you see on roofs. However, my suggested concept is much simpler.
Attracting sunlight to your ducks’ water container will keep the water from freezing, even if the temperature around is too low.
To do it, you need to install glass panes around the waterer. One or two walls will be enough; the glass will instantly attract the sunlight, warming the water and delaying the freezing.
Of course, this solution needs an area with sunlight. If you live somewhere cloudy all year long, you’ll have to choose another solution.
8 – Use an Aquarium Heater
One of the easiest and most efficient ways to keep the water from freezing is using an aquarium heater. These fellas sink deep into the water and keep it warm, thereby keeping your ducks happy.
If your ducks are curious, they may peck into the heater and eventually ruin it. To prevent this, you may use an upside-down waterer.
What Else Do You Need to Do for the Ducks in the Winter?
Water shouldn’t be your only concern in the winter. There are a lot of other things that need to be done to keep the ducks healthy.
It’s true; they have natural insulation in their bodies, but the cold weather affects their lifestyle as it affects ours.
Here’s everything you need to do to ensure your ducks’ health in the winter.
Add Extra Bedding
Adding extra bedding in the winter seems like the most obvious thing ever, yet some people still forget to do it.
Depending on the number of ducks you have, you’ll have to provide more straw for them to sleep on.
Add straw layers to the sleeping area so that it’s as high as the ducks. The straw will provide insulation to last for a month or so, which is better than nothing.
You can also add some sawdust between the straw layers to trap the cold air outside.
Provide High-Calorie Snacks
In the winter, ducks need more protein and fat to stay warm, so you need to add high-calorie snacks into their diet. You can opt for peanuts, oatmeal, cracked corn, or cabbage.
These snacks won’t only keep the ducks warm during the day, but they’ll also provide enough warmth for the cold of the night.
Besides, snacking directly affects the duck’s ability to produce eggs. It’s no new information that ducks lay better in the cold months.
They use less energy to stay warm, so it makes sense. Eating high-calorie snacks will provide them with more energy to keep them warm, so they’ll consume even less energy to lay.
As a result, they’ll produce more and better eggs.
Add Greens to the Diet
During most of the year, the ducks’ diet mainly consists of high-quality pellets. In the winter, you may want to infuse some greens into the diet to help the ducks put on weight.
Winter days are cold and short; you’ll want to keep the food available for the ducks all day long. In addition to that, you may want to add scratch grains and similar snacks for the night.
That’s when the temperature becomes at its lowest, so the ducks need snacks to keep them warm.
Green veggies like lettuce, kale, and wheatgrass will be a great addition to your duck’s diet. They’ll compensate for the fact that ducks can’t forage in the winter as much as they do in the rest of the year.
Remember that everything will be covered in snow, so you’ll need to help the feathery fellas a bit.
Provide Some Sort of Protection Against the Wind
If your coup’s walls are flimsy, they won’t offer much protection from the cold on windy days. That’s why you need to stack straw around them to provide insulation.
All you have to do is get a couple of straw bales and stack them around the walls. You can place them on the outside to prevent the cold air from coming in.
If you want further protection, you can add some bales on the inside as well, but that’s only if you have enough space.
Ducks have a high tolerance to low temperatures, which drives some people to believe they’ll be fine on their own in the winter.
It’s true; they can handle the cold, but I can’t say the same about the wind.
It’ll be an issue if the coup isn’t sturdy enough. That’s why you need to add the bales, and maybe hang a tarp on particularly windy days.
Spread Straw on the Ground
All duck owners know that ducks love staying on the ground. No matter what kind of bedding you’ll provide, they’ll still nest on the ground just because they can.
In the winter, the coup’s ground will be cold, so it’ll be highly uncomfortable for the ducks to sleep on.
Their feet can handle the cold, even if the ground is freezing, but they’ll be uncomfortable. Plus, they may develop injuries.
If you want to make sure they’re warm and comfy when they decide to sleep on the ground, you can provide some straw.
Just spread it on the ground, so they can step on top of it without exposing their feet directly to the cold.
Avoid Unnecessary Coup Accessories
With all the creative gadgets and accessories you see online and everywhere, it’s hard not to succumb and buy something totally useless.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t do that. You’ll see a lot of people selling heat lamps and similar gadgets for duck coups in the winter.
These don’t only serve as a fire hazard, but they’re also totally unnecessary. Ducks have natural insulation, and you’ll keep the coup warm for them. No need to buy any additional accessories.
Now that you know how to keep duck water from freezing, I trust that you’ll keep the fellas hydrated in the winter!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can prevent the water from freezing. At the very least, you can change the water every few hours until you can find a suitable solution.
If you’re living in a cold area, your best bet is the aquarium heater. It’ll eliminate the need to change the water frequently, and it’s overall easier to deal with.
I have a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house. Growing up, I had pet dogs, cats, deer, sugar gliders, chinchillas, a bird, chickens, fish, and a goat.