Now if any of you have ever tried to house your ducks with your chickens over winter you know the issues.. 1) they make everything wet 2) they will mess with your water if given a chance 3) they do not need to be eating that costly higher protein and laying feed while they are having a winter rest..
and to top it off, they don’t even stay in.. on the coldest day of winter, they will still be fluffed up and laying on the snow.. honestly unless its like snow blizzard, they are some of the most stubborn fowl about being outside that I have ever seen.
Having said that, they do! need warm and dry house and bedding for when they do go in.. so while I do not mind running ducks in the summer quarters when it comes to winter, I much prefer to give them outside runs with their very own quick, easy and o so warm straw bale winter house.
The back of the pen has a solid wall, I built on these, the pens have builds for wind block on two sides and the front has a half wall as well.. so this is not a out in the open pen, which already gives it a great leg up..
then we take full 60 pounds straw bales and we layer an stack them to deep, the small door is here on the right corner, we take more straw and stuff any gaps between the bales, and then we put down a full 4 by 4 6 inch thick straw chip on the bottom and loose straw on top of that, if cleaning it, I will pull the loose out and leave the chip to compost in place as a small form of a deep pack, over top this goes a full sheet of plywood, and when this is covered with a layer of snow.. its as snug as a bug..
My poor hens you can tell they are coming off a season of sitting and hatching eggs, they are all in the process of moulting as well.. look at those blood filled feathers growing back in.. they get the winter off, three hens, one big drake and they will get fresh sprouted grains, fermented grains and then come late winter, they will go onto layer rations, they will be first egg layers and if all goes well, they will help fill up my incubator with fertile duck eggs for my first hatching of 2017.. and I will be able to put a passel of ducklings out in spring to fatten up on all that spring goodness.
When I see photos of a flock and the hens look ever so pretty, and its the time of year for steady laying or for sitting birds to have been sitting and hatching, and I think.. Slacker! Working momma fowl are like all working mothers, they show it LOL
They were so happy to have a big outdoor water bathing area and they checked out their indoor digs and wagged their tails.. all is good..