Ducks can thrive in very cold temperatures – as low as 20 degrees. In addition to being extremely cold-hardy, ducks can also handle the heat pretty well. Of course, in summertime it is important to help your ducks remain cool despite the soaring temperatures. Here are some suggestions to help your ducks so they have the best opportunity to stay cool and not overheat:
• Always provide access to fresh drinking water. During the summer months it might be necessary to refill their water source several times a day. Placing the drinking containers in the shade is also important. For ducks that are drinking from a nipple line, slightly open a valve at the end of the nipple line to allow a slow continuous flow of fresh cool water into the nipple line. The cooler water will help keep the ducks cooler compared to hot drinking water. Here at Metzer Farms, on hot days, Marc Metzer likes to walk through the duck pens to encourage the ducks to stand up and drink water. Sometimes because they are hot, they tend to sit, pant, and forget to drink water.
• Shade is a must! Make sure your ducks always have easy access to shade so they can escape the beating sun.
• Well-ventilated coops also play a key role in the health of your ducks. Shade is one thing, but if your coop is not well ventilated in the heat of summer, this is not healthy for your waterfowl. One consequence can be eye problems from the buildup of ammonia in the stagnant air.
• If your ducks do not have access to a pond or a natural water source, swimming water to play in is a nice addition to their pen. A blue plastic kiddy pool filled with fresh water is a consideration. Sprinklers are also fun for the duck to play in.
• Frozen snacks are also a good idea. Mint naturally lowers the body temperature so freezing Mint leaves in ice cubes and adding them to your duck’s water helps your ducks stay cool. Other items such as vegetables and fruit can be frozen inside ice cubes and added to the ducks’ water troughs.
• Duck treats that have a heavy water content are also a good option. Treats like watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, and cucumber can help keep your ducks hydrated as well.
Follow these tips and you should have healthy, happy ducks during the hot summer months!