What Temperature Can a Duck Survive?

what temperature can ducks survive?
First of all, you should know that this story ends happily!

This information is for all you first-time duck owners, wondering just what temperature your flock can withstand, and not wanting to do any duck survivability studies in your own backyard. We were in the same position just a few short months ago…

We acquired five Peking-Ancona ducks in November 2013. Neither of us had ever raised ducks before and we had no idea what would be needed to keep them alive and well through the winter.



We did a lot, a lot of reading before we got them, researching exactly what kind of shelter they would need and what temperature they could withstand. Wisconsin winters are known to get pretty nasty.

During our research we were hoping to find lots of solid data by other northern-dwelling duck parents on exactly what temperatures their flock could handle. We found very little, and nothing deemed highly reliable. There were some accounts of people mentioning temperatures, but they usually didn’t give any information on what kind of set-up the ducks had. Ducks “surviving 0 degrees in a three-sided shack” is different than “ducks surviving 0 degrees in an insulated, heated coop.” 

We were about to head into the polar vortex with no idea what temperature our ducks could handle, other than “cold.”

And then we stumbled upon a little gem: a study in the 1967 Journal of Wildlife Management. In the 1960s, environmental regulations were much less strict and people noticed that ducks covered in oil were more likely to die during the winter. Can’t say that is surprising… But thus, a scientific study was born.

The study involved a group of ducks, some were “oiled” with various types of oil and some were not. The ducks were then placed in a freezer, with their metabolic rates and survivability measured. Other than learning how to properly oil a duck, we learned that the bigger the duck and the more fat deposits it had, the better the duck would fair in cold weather. Non-oiled ducks did just fine for periods of 36 hours at -15 degrees F. In fact, non-oiled ducks of adequate size did great! This was the information we were looking for! Scientific, controlled study with specific temperatures. At least it was a good starting place.

The take away message? Healthy ducks can easily survive -15 degrees F… and not only survive, but fare great!

Being that our ducks would not be covered in oil, the information on the oiled ducks wasn’t of too much concern to us, except for one interesting point. Not only did oiled ducks loose heat faster because of what the oil did to their feathers, but during the study the oiled ducks also lost their appetites. In very cold conditions, ducks may need to eat twice what they normally would in order to keep up their metabolic rate and survive. The oiled ducks ate less than normal, didn’t keep up their metabolic rate, lost a lot of heat, and “didn’t fair well.”



The lesson to be learned is that in very cold weather your ducks should always have access to plenty of food; they absolutely need it!

I have heard of practices where people will remove food from the pen (usually at night) because they can’t keep the duck’s water from freezing. Reason being, a duck can choke on its food if it isn’t able to drink while eating. You should do everything possible to provide your ducks with access to food and water for as much of the day and night if possible- they really need it!

This brings up another point: how do you keep a tub of water from freezing in the middle of winter?!

Preventing Duck Water From Freezing
For the 2013/2014 winter, we used a metal feed pan (just big enough for the ducks to submerge their heads in) sitting in a heated bird bath (heated bird bath itself wasn’t deep enough for them). This worked great, but our bird bath pooped out at the end of last winter.

We started the 2014/2015 winter with a metal pan on top of a heated base unit (made for a chicken gravity waterer). This didn’t work at all. The water on the very bottom stayed liquid, but the top couple inches froze solid; not powerful enough.

Finally we found something that works great! We are using a small tank/bird bath heater (this exact one) in a rubber tub, like this one. Works like a charm! Even on -20 degree F nights, the water still stays thawed.

tank-heater

Our 2013/2014 Duck Survivability Stats
Well, we officially made it through our first homestead winter in Wisconsin, and our first winter with ducks. So, to add our own personal duck data to the pool…

This winter was, um, cold to say the least. -20 and -30 degree F nights were the norm. Our five ducks share a small, batten-board style house that is made of recycled deck boards and reclaimed wood. There is an East-facing door open all the time and the inside of the house is lined with a thick layer of straw… which they make quick work of pooping all over and packing down. Overall the house is solid, and although I haven’t personally spent time in it, I would say it is not too drafty.
duck house progress

We will safely say that our ducks could withstand -20 degrees F for several days in a row. (There were several nights where the wind chill was in the -40 to -50 degree F range!)

The ducks did hunker down in their straw-lined house, only coming out on occasion for a quick meal. Although the cold did seem to crush their duck-spirits a little bit, they survived just fine and even managed to grow (they were teenagers at the beginning of winter). In fact, we got our first egg on a -15 degree F morning! Cold shmold, say the ducks.

Do you have any duck-winter-survivability stories or tips?
What is the coldest your flock has taken?

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79 thoughts on “What Temperature Can a Duck Survive?

  1. We had our first ducks this winter too:) 4 khaki Campbell’s and 4 muscovie ducks and I noticed that even in the minus 20 if they had acess to enough water in they went:) they were a great joy to watch on those cold cold day ;)

      1. Hello
        We had 8 Peking ducks abandoned at our pond this summer
        I really knew nothing about them until doing. A lot of research
        We feel I love with them and am worried about the winter
        Everyday I feed them and they walk for our pond to we’re my back storage is
        They have seemed a bit more scared at times
        I am. Not sure if I should put there house tht far from pond I would say it is about 200 feet

        Also am concerned they will not go on the shelter and if I can just leave the door open like you show in your photo

        Please help it is getting colder now and still not sure what to do

        Thank you

        1. Hi Ronna,

          As far as shelter goes- that is probably of least concern. Ducks are so very hardy and as long as they have a decent wind break they will be just fine. Though they do appreciate a cozy shelter and some straw when it gets really cold… so consider moving it to wherever they will actually use it.

          What they will need is open water… so if your pond completely freezes over, you will need to provide them a water source that doesn’t freeze. Without having a secure shelter at night, they are also susceptible to predators- just a warning. Our ducks go into a secure coop at night… not sure if that is an option for you or something you can teach your ducks to do.

          It’s so very nice of you to care for them- they really aren’t suited to survive on their own in the wild. Good luck to you all this winter! -Crystal

          1. Hi Ronna,

            Thank you for your post because i am in the EXACT same situation!!!! I live in a neighborhood, and my backyard backs up to a very large retention pond, and we have 4 pekin drop-offs this year. I am in Ohio, and it is getting so cold. We built them a small shelter, and positioned it under two very large pine trees, filled it with straw (about 30 feet from the water’s edge), and have been luring them into it all summer with food. They know where it is, and would greet me every morning and night for food like clock-work.

            They don’t use the shelter at night, they feel safer on the bank of the pond, so to this point, that’s where they spend their nights.

            But since it has gotten really cold, they are not coming by for food. They are hanging out on what little 8ft radius of the pond is not frozen yet. So, I have been walking over to check on them, and bringing them food, when I see they haven’t visited the “quack shack”. We put out a heated dog bowl, and I keep it filled with fresh water, hoping that when everything freezes, they know where to go. But it still stresses me out.

            We have a family of mallards that have been here for a long time, and “knock on wood” we haven’t had any predator problems, which I think has more to do with the pond being surrounded by mostly 6ft privacy fences, and we have no tree lines that foxes or coyotes would enter from. So I am hoping that our good luck streak continues. We have an HOA, that does not allow keeping livestock, so our “quack shack” is a “dog house” if anyone asks.

            Please keep us posted! Maybe we can learn from each other. I can’t stand to see anything suffer, so I will give it my all to make sure they are cared for.

            – Laura

          2. HI Laura
            My Ducks are stuck again in the pond — all the way down on the other end —
            Going down there now to try to feed them – only problem is have to walk down the side of the rail-road track to get to them –
            It is lick 18 degrees now – and in the single digits at night;
            Not sure why they just do not walk on the ice like he other ducks – and come home —
            Give me a call — if you can or let me know how yours are doing;
            732 282 9700

          3. Oh, yeah. What all do they eat? And am I understanding correctly that beyond pond food, they need other food that is put into water, I’m in southern Nevada, I get the shelter part, but lost on the feeding. Since the males are mating crazed (apparently) is it better to have 2 females, I’m not interested in breeding them…thanks

          4. I’m not sure if they need other food or not- that would depend a lot on how big your pond is and what is available in it. Wild ducks would just leave and fly to another pond if needed, but Pekins can’t do that… so, you should pay close attention and probably offer them additional food if you are “keeping” them. They eat either game bird feed or chicken feed. And two males to one female is too much- they can hurt her. -Crystal

  2. I want to know what genius came up with the idea of oiling a duck?

    Our winter was nowhere near as cold as yours. Our coldest night was 7 degrees. I kept my 6 ducks in a 10×10 chicken tractor (2×4 frame with a covering arch of cattle panels, surrounded with chicken wire, topped with a tarp.) The whole thing faces east to catch the morning sun first thing and the west side is backed up by a wall of hay bales. Inside the tractor, I have a plastic dog igloo that the ducks slept in on the coldest nights. The igloo opens to the south so there is a way for the ducks to get out of any odd easterly winds. My ducks got a little discouraged on the days when our little pond froze over and they couldn’t take a bath. The snow seemed to depress them. The ice . . . why bother evening going out? I kept them on a 20% protein feed plus scratch. My ducks will come and find me when they are hungry and I humor them. They definitely ate more the as the temperatures dropped. Two ducks were laying when winter began and on the coldest days I got only one egg. But the temperatures are rising now and 3 of 4 girls are laying. I changed the bedding once a week, whenever it wasn’t frozen to the ground.

    I had a similar arrangement for half my chickens and that group of chickens did so much better than the chickens in the coop. Animals really are much tougher than we think. So are we for that matter.

    1. That is so true- we are all tougher than we think! But I think I share your duck’s sentiments: “the ice…why bother going out?!” Haha :)

  3. I just found your blog and am excited to find a nearby homesteader; we live in NE Minnesota, right on the tip of the arrowhead about an hour from the Canadian border. Like you, -30 is what we had for days during January and February. We also had 170 inches of snow last winter which is the most snow our area has seen in 120 years. So it was the worst winter we’d ever experienced. I have 14 ducks; they are split between two duck houses that were made from pallets. We do keep them closed up (only let out on the “warmer” days, with a thick layer of straw bedding that doesn’t get cleaned out- we do the deep litter method (as we do with our 50+ chickens), just adding new straw on top of the old; as it breaks down underneath it generates heat for the animals. I never put a heat light out there as it can be dangerous going back and forth between having one and not. They huddle together and keep warm :)- feed some cracked corn in the afternoon/evening- it will produce heat as it digests overnight. And yep- fresh water/food at all times- in fact, water is most important. I use 1-gallon rubber feed pans for their water and bring them warm water 3x daily on the real cold days- those feed pans are easy to smash against the ground to get the ice block out :). Ducks need to be able to submerge their whole beaks and those feed pans are just big enough for that.

    As far as breeds go, we raise Saxony, Cayuga, Blue Swedish, and Blue Runner. Blue Swedish, Cayuga, and Saxony are all known for being very cold hardy so I wasn’t worried about them. But my little Runner? I was scared. But she made it through just like everyone else. I say if animals can make it through our winter last year, they can make it through any winter!

    Happy to find your blog, will be following! :)

    Take care,

    Erin
    Yellow Birch Hobby Farm
    http://yellowbirchhobbyfarm.blogspot.com

    1. My four Pekins are outside with heat light. The temps are getting in the teens tonight. They have water and food. Plenty of straw. But they are four weeks old and they out grew my inside brooder. Are they too young for cold?

      1. Do you have a thermometer you can put near them to check the temperature? At 4 weeks old, they should be kept around 70 degrees! Not sure how warm the heat lamp will keep their space… but I have feeling that might be a little too cold.

        1. I always keep my ducklings until they are FULLY feathered in at least 80 degrees.. 16 weeks is the age we feel they can withstand single digit temps with a flock, with an indoor option at all times, and fresh unfrozen water deep enough to wash out nasal cavity, and food is a constant in the winter months… they must be fat to survive! and never outside at night due to predators.

  4. I am a rookie duck owner, I had my first chickens this summer and because I wouldn’t be able to heat their coop they are now in my freezer… I had an empty coop and found myself adopting a friends lone duck (she looks like a mallard but is a domestic duck purchased from TSC) when he no longer wanted her. I agreed only because I researched that ducks are supposedly cold hardy. I am in southwest ontario and winters easily stay at -15C without the windchill (down to -30 with windchill). My little duck is in a 3×4 coop of reclaimed fence wood and 2x4s. It is off the ground by about 2.5 feet, east facing and the door is shut each night when she goes to bed.I stuffed all the summer vents with old t shirts and screwed plywood over the windows. It is full of straw and I bring out water and food each night when I shut her in. She has a pool with a windbreaker and livestock weighted heater she can hang out in during the day.I am still weary but a lot less worried after reading your posts. I just worry that she wil be chilly all by herself and wonder if I should put her in a crate in my garage at night for warmth… Thanks so much for your post!

    1. Sounds like a nice set-up! Yes, it seems that ducks are EXTREMELY cold hardy. The other thing I have learned about ducks is that they really should have companions, and don’t tend to do well by themselves. I might be more worried about that. Maybe consider finding her a buddy. :)

    2. they sell very safe heaters now for coops, i have a flat panel heater i use and chicken heating pad also, they work excellent for heat, way safer then heat lamp, and i know there nice and toasty in there

  5. My ducks are about 9 months old. They love the snow, sleep outside instead of their coop if the temp is above 10 degrees. They eat a lot, but if the creek is not frozen, they play in the water regularly. When the temps get into the single digits, I give them a gallon tub of warm water every two hours during the day just as a treat.. But they much prefer the creek no matter how cold it is. Our coldest in the winter get to about -10, with about a month worth of 0 to 10 degree highs. I am extremely surprised at how well my ducks are faring in the winter. They never miss an opportunity to come say hi to my 4 and 7 year old kids when the kids go outside. If the kids can catch them , the ducks are quite content sitting on the laps of my kids and even show their love by giving them a peck or two.

    1. Thanks for sharing that John! They really are amazing little things, aren’t they?! … and it sounds like you have a couple of really sweet ones!

  6. I have two pairs of Pekin ducks as they are much more cold weather hardy than chickens.
    I have a dog kennel with several layers of bubble wrap with an outer layer of heavy duty plastic on the sides and top and a heavy layer of straw and straw bedding in a dog house within this kennel. Even on zero degree days it can get up to 50 degrees during the day. I open a flap if it is a warmer day.
    I am monitoring them now and may bring them into the house and but them in the back room in a crate till the bad weather passes if they show any signs of stress. They have a large rubber bucket of water and greens, which I buy on sale at the store along withcorn for warmth and layer feed with oyster shell calcium.

    1. Never thought of bubble wrap as an insulator- good idea! …kinda like a little greenhouse I imagine. Sounds like a great set-up to help them stay warm- thanks for sharing your ideas!

    2. Khaki campbell duchs at —40 farenheit. 2018 my 4
      5 ducks survived when temperature was —40 farenheit for one weekend my unheated greenhouse. The did stop laying eggs for a month though. I kept feed in front of them and watered them five times a day one foot of straw for medding and kept adding a little more straw daily. The ducks stayed healthy. I gave the ducks away the following summer as carrying the buckets of water was too much for me as I was 76 at the time. Interior aladka I live in a dry cabin off grid. Use 2kw generator to run well pump

  7. I love this site has a lot of good info I have chickens and ducks new this year and also turkeys this year was concerned with the weather and ducks swimming. But doesn’t seem to be a problem. I guess

    1. Thanks Lisa! I’m convinced that ducks are the hardiest little things ever! :) -Crystal

  8. I live on a small inland lake in the upper peninsula of Michigan – where it does get pretty cold, like your WI and MN readers. I few weeks ago a solid white duck suddenly just showed up in my neighbors yard, on the shore. It spent a few days quaking then silence – we thought it was gone. A few days later we saw it again but very little quacking. Today we saw it swimming the entire shoreline with three half grown BROWN ducklings! From what I can find online, it looks like a Pekin duck – white with yellow beak. Its summer now but will it be OK this winter? I don’t know if it escaped from a farm or what. There are a few farms around but this is mostly forests here. We have other wild ducks on the lake in the spring when the ice breaks up and a pair of geese that raise their babies and leave – so the only ducks we see tend to be in the spring. Should I be worried out this duck and try and create a shelter??? There is one small area of the lake that stays open in the winter because of a current but the rest freezes by thanksgiving!

    1. We live here in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada and the Ducks stay here all winter long withstanding temperatures down to a wind chill factor of -28C or even lower depending on the speed of the wind at times the temperatures drop even lower as much a -30C However the Geese always fly south for the long winters.

  9. Update! I just got a closer look at the three half grown babies – I think they are just adult ducks of another species! Grebes or wood ducks maybe – I just saw one of them fly and his flight was very “professional”, not baby flight. So this Pekin duck is maybe just chumming with some local ducks for fun??? He/she just crawled up onto my neighbors yard to curl up for the night. No other ducks nearby.

    1. Yes- I bet that is a Pekin duck from somewhere nearby! My guess is that what might happen is the brown ducks who are good at flying may migrate south for the winter, leaving Pekin lonely (because they don’t really fly).

      Could he survive the winter? Yes, probably. Would a shelter be nice? Yes. He’d probably also appreciate being fed. :) Even better- I would try to approach him, maybe with a treat like bread, and see if he is friendly. If so, maybe put his story on Facebook or Craigslist and see if there is someone who can give him a good home. Ducks shouldn’t be along ideally… they are flock animals.

      Hope that helps! Keep us posted!

  10. Hi Crystal. I’m quite appreciative to all of the information you have provided. I have a few questions, and would very much love your help. My daughter brought home 2 yellow chicks. She was told they were ducks but not which kind. She works at a barn and someone was giving them away. We are a very animal friendly home and always take in, care for, foster any animal that’s needs care or just a home. Therefore, we sure have a lot and I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, as we have had Peking ducks previously, before winter came, I found them a wonderful home at a farm whereas I also provided pea gravel and food, sort of a way to say thank you and to maybe ensure they would indeed properly care for them. Now it’s been about 4 months and I don’t know what breed these are but they are big and look very different from each other. I don’t know how to find what kind, as I have photos but don’t where to upload and ask someone. Ok, so they lived in our house for their younger years, taking them out only when supervised and with a kiddie pool because I was nervous of Hawks and such. When old enough, they now stay out all day, happy in our pond and roaming around yard. I do always leave fresh water and food. The thing is, I never built them a coop because and I’m partly ashamed but as I’ve mentioned, my home is large enough and friendly enough so that all and everything is welcome. On a side note, I am crazy about cleanliness, perhaps ocd, so I am forever cleaning to ensure my home doesn’t smell and even with lots of “friends”, it still is our home and everyone and everything must be healthy and happy. Back on topic, now when they got older and outside for the days, each evening, depending on sun down, they come to the back door and either wait on porch or become impatient and peck at the door. I then open the door and they hop in and walk to their large bin where they stayed as chicks. They still fit comfortably and honestly, they look cozy and seem comfortable and happy. They are very quiet and only lift their heads up to be nosy when the dogs are around and what not. Now I don’t even know if I have done right by them, but at this point, I’ve just been following their lead and a part of me feels better going to bed at night, knowing all of my animals, ducks included, are inside safe and sound. Hard enough knowing and seeing all the other animals, which I can’t help, try as I may. So fall is almost here, and now I’m worried as I have no idea what to do? We do have a very large doghouse out back, that’s handmade, very solid with no obvious openings for drafts with a v roof tiled top. It doesn’t have a door, but I can make one or I can continue to let them in each night as they have been. Then the question is, do they go out at all during the day? Winter months are cold, the ground is icy and frozen, so what would they do? But I’m not sure staying inside would be ok for them and I’d have to change where they sleep at night, so they have room to walk around? And then I worry about the constant poop and smell a duck would be in the winter living inside. And if primarily inside, and letting them out on not so frigid days, would that affect them because of the drastic change of temperature? I just have so many questions and I found your blog out of many, and you are the person to ask. Thank you so much in advance for reading this long winded comment (book), and would very much appreciate all of your help.

    1. What a fun and wonderful home full of love you must have with all the creatures you share it with!

      That is a predicament, isn’t it! I think you are right on track with a couple of thoughts…

      I don’t think that it would be in the duck’s best interest (or the humans!) to stay inside all day and night all winter. I believe I mentioned in this post that our ducks LOVE being outside, and even on super cold days (below zero!) they choose to hang out in the snow, rather than in their house.

      I believe that the temperature change from going outside during the day and inside at night would be too drastic and would prevent them from being acclimated properly- so I think this is risky and not a great idea.

      The dog house you’ve described sounds perfect! If you can add a door so that it can be secured during the night, that would likely be a great accommodation for a couple of ducks! They will probably take a week or so to get used to the new routine of going to the dog house and not your house, but I bet they would pick it up quickly. I would start as soon as possible transitioning them to sleeping in the dog house, so they can grow the right type of feathers as the weather changes, and adjust as it gets colder and colder.

      You might also consider putting their current sleeping bin in the dog house (if it fits) and maybe that would help them feel more comfortable the first few nights?

      Our ducks have their house, and in the winter we shovel a little area right outside it so that they can come outside- and they are perfectly content to sit in their little shoveled area (especially when the sun is shining!). If the snow isn’t too too deep, or if it is packed and able to walked on, they sometimes venture out a little further too. They really do seem to thrive in the cold- so don’t feel bad about them being out there! I worry quite a bit about our chickens out there in the frigid weather, but I honestly don’t worry about the ducks one single bit. They are built for it!

      Hope that helps! Keep me posted on what happens and if you transition them to the dog house. Best wishes! – Crystal

  11. Hello,
    Here is my situation..I live in North Central, Alberta, Canada…Brrrr it gets cold here. Temps. can dip down to -32 Celsius with a windchill near -40 Celsius..Normal is around -20 Celsius.
    My Ducks live in an enclosed 10×10 dog run with a dog house for shelter…I put plastic on three sides of the run as a wind break.
    My Husband thinks they need Heat? From what I have read so far they do not…Should I put straw bales around the dog house and fill the inside with straw? I plan to buy a heated bucket to keep the water from freezing…Also should I put straw down on the floor of the run so their feet stay warm? Also I was wondering if I should put straw bales around the outside of the run?
    I own 5 Ducks. I want to do the best winter set up for them without causing them any grief….

    Thanks

    1. Hi Shannon! Yikes that is cold! Although I think that your ducks can handle it! Here are my thoughts:

      Plastic on the run for a wind break is a great idea!
      I would definitely put lots of fluffy straw in the dog house for them to nestle in at night.
      We also spread straw in the run area for them to nestle in during the day, and refresh it every week or so as it gets matted down- which yes, will help them to keep their feet warm.
      Straw bales around the outside of the dog house would help with insulation too, yes. Sounds like a great idea!
      I don’t know that straw bales around the run would offer much… but if you just happen to have a ton of them laying around, it wouldn’t hurt. Probably not necessary though.
      And of course, make sure they have access to as much food as they want- as this is what will help them stay warm from the inside!
      You could even fashion a door to close the dog house at night, which would help them keep more heat in (assuming it is a traditional dog house with a permanently open front door).

      On really cold days, they might choose to just stay inside the warmer dog house, which is just fine.
      Don’t be alarmed if on cold days you see them get up, walk a couple steps and sit back down… it is how they keep their feet warm. I thought this seems odd, or like something was wrong with them at first, but it is normal.

      Heating fowl in the winter is fairly controversial… 1. it can be a huge fire hazard. And 2. If they are used to the warmer temps and then something happens, like the light burns out or your power goes out, it can be harder on them to adapt and that is when you get in to trouble.

      Ducks were built for cold! Sounds like you’re doing a great job! Good luck this winter! -Crystal

  12. Hi. Thanks so much for all the information you post! It’s my first year of owning ducks(5 Pekin) and have a lot of questions! I live in northern Wisconsin and ,yes, it can get pretty darn cold!! My husband built a nice duck house for them, I think about a 4×7 wooden structure with a metal roof, and was just wondering if it needs to be insulated. I didn’t see that mentioned in any of the other posts. They are so much fun to watch and they sure make a ruckus when they see us coming and run out to greet us!! Also do you put the food and water in the duck house at night with them? They are so messy!

    1. Hi Mary! Northern Wisconsin? We’re practically neighbors (we’re in West Central WI!).

      Our duck house is not insulated and our ducks do just fine. We keep the water in the run, but not to far from their house- so they will have to come outside to get a drink (but really, they spend most every day outside anyways, even the very cold ones!). They would certainly make too much of a wet mess in their house with it in there! We keep the food outside in the run near the water also.

      Just make sure they have lots of fluffy straw in their house to nestle in at night. We also put a patch of straw down in the run and refresh it every week as it gets matted down- helps them to keep their feet warm.

      This will be our fourth Wisconsin winter with ducks, and this set up has worked great for us, with no trouble for the ducks either!

      Best of luck to you and your ducks! – Crystal

  13. So glad to find this information! We were given a couple adult Pekins in the spring, so this is our first winter with them. We live in NW PA on the mouth of a creek that empties into Lake Erie. Our winters can be very snowy and quite harsh. Fortunately we have a small horse barn by our house, which is where the ducks hang out at night. We have been concerned about how they will do this winter, but I feel encouraged by the info here. Thanks for sharing!!

  14. I am also looking at my first winter with two Anconas. They have a basically 30 by 36″ house that I modified by relocating the nesting box to ground level and covering the 30 x 8″ hole with hardware cloth for ventilation. I also built a hardware cloth bottom tray thathay worked well over the summer with natural kitty litter in a tray underneath to keep the poop dryer/less messy. It isn’t insulated. I’ve been using excelsior for bedding in the nesting of but as its been getting a little colder, I’ve added excelsior to the rest of the house. I love in Georgia, so we don’t get super cold like a lot of you but I still wonder ifnI should cover up the ventilated area with cloth or something and if I need to put hay or straw bales around it for warmth? Like you guys said, these ducks are so fun and Injust love them. Very sweet and one loves to be picked up, so I Want them to be comfortable. They are my babies. I don’t give them food or water at night but they do have a 12 by around 20 fenced area on the side of my house with a pond and since I live in a subdivision, there is a windbreak from my next door neighbors home and mine as well as trees.

    So what do you think? Cover the ventilation opening with cloth or plastic? Put hay bales on 2’sides (the others have a door and a flip up door for cleaning so I won’t cover those.)? Just give them a lot of hay in the coop and call it a day? I have access to a ton of free hay that my sister doesn’t want to use for her horses, so I prefer to use that. I would appreciate any advice.

    Also, do the ducks have difficulty with cracked corn? Mine eat Mazuri Waterfowl and chicken layer crumble but when I got chicken treats with corn and seeds they did t seem to like it. Of course they loved frozen corn and peas. Are they just spoiled? I was thinking about maybe looking for corn grits or something to help them stay warm on the inside.

    Thanks in advance to your advice!

    1. Hi Susan!

      I would probably only cover the ventilated area if it is on the side of the coop that faces where the wind usually comes from. And something light, like cloth would be sufficient. Although it probably isn’t necessary…

      I don’t think extra straw bales around are necessary either, just a nice layer of straw/hay in their coop.

      You have lows in the 30s during winter, right? That is probably “warm” to a duck! :) Ours handle 50 degrees colder than that quite often!

      Yes, it sounds like they are spoiled! Haha! I think ducks can be kind of picky- I know mine don’t usually like to try anything new. They should be able to eat cracked corn with no problem… probably just don’t care for it as much, and don’t need to eat it because they have plenty of other goodies!

      Hope that helps! -Crystal

  15. I live in California and have rescued Domestic ducks for 13+ years. I have always mildly warmed and/or cooled their indoor space according to the temperature. I put them inside their house if it gets “too cold” or “too hot” outside. Their enclosure has a combination heater/air-conditioning unit. The ceiling fan (set on low) reduces flies. The floor is covered with rubber mats then straw and horse bedding (large shavings). It is cleaned regularly. They have an attached aviary with small ponds which they love. The ducks always have fresh water for drinking purposes inside their house and outside in the aviary with access to Mazuri Waterfowl Maintenance pellets and chicken scratch day and night (grit, too). Often times I give them kale and dandelion greens all chopped finely. They love occasional pieces of sod/grass especially when I water it or it rains because it makes for fine mudding, fresh greens and worms pop up in it. The grass and mud sometimes makes a mess in their ponds but…..they have a good time.

  16. Hi! It’s your neighbor again from a NW Wisconsin. Had a question about the evenings that are coming up–temps will be below zero. Even during the day they will remain below zero Our run is not enclosed very well and am a little concerned about predators. My question is about what to do with the water and food at night; I don’t want to put it in their house but don’t know if they’re getting enough food and water if I don’t because of the length of days. They always put themselves to bed when the sun goes down and I don’t think they come out in the dark. I also feel like I need to have their door closed at night because of the condition of the fencing at this time. I leave the door open til around 8:00pm. Just not quite sure how to deal with this or if they’ll just be ok with what I’m doing. Hope that makes sense? Mary

    1. Hi neighbor!

      Yes, safety is so important! As long as they have access to fresh water and as much food as they want/need during the day, I think they will be perfectly fine to be shut in their secure house for the night hours without it. If the food is available for them all day, and it hasn’t run out by the evening, you can assume they’ve had their fill. Especially if it isn’t until 8pm that you shut them in, and if you can let them out early in the morning as well they will be fine. Hope that helps! Stay warm! -Crystal

  17. Ok I have a question that hasn’t been mentioned above. We live in Central PA so we can sometimes get down into – digits. We have 9 Mallords and 1 black Swedish duck (I believe). We made them a “duck hut” and put it down by the pond under some pine trees as the snow doesn’t get to deep there. They’re not used to going into a shelter….they’re used to just roaming free in the yard and playing in our spring fed pond. We filled the hut with some hay and I’ve tried moving their food bowl closer to it each day. They seem to be nosy about what the hut is but haven’t actually gone inside of it. Are there any tricks or tips to get them to go into it when its really cold or is that something they will do on their own when the temps drop? Our pond never freezes over completely because of the constant flow of water….but I’m a little concerned that they’re just going to try to stay in the pond overnight which is what they’ve been doing since the beginning of Spring.

    1. Hi Laura! Hmm, that is a little tough to say. I wouldn’t hesitate to put the food bowl in the hut, and force them to go in it at least once to see that it’s not so bad. If the pond isn’t froze over, it might be the warmest, most comfortable place for them… and probably safer too!

      Even on zero degree days here, our ducks tend to prefer being out in the open and not in their house. I wonder if it just doesn’t get cold enough there for them to need a house. But if they’ve been poking around it, and if you get them to go inside with food… at least they will know its there and that’s about all you can do. Ducks are kind of stubborn :) Hope that helps! -Crystal

      1. This is all great information! I am having a similar problem as Laura. I have 7 Rouen ducks and live in Wi. The ducks have an enclosed shed down by our pond that they go into every night. We actually go down and feed them a snack (peas… which they love) and they come out of the pond and into their shed for the night. It is -10 degrees tonight and they refused to come out of the pond. (We have an aerator for the pond to keep it open for them.) This is the first time they have refused to come in. I am afraid to leave them out in the pond all night, but am wondering if the water is warmer than the air and they just want to stay there. Any thoughts? Thanks!

        1. I have to believe they will be okay. Is there anything you could even do at this point tonight anyways? Based on the information about duck survivability, they should be fine for one night at -10. Hopefully the water is warmer than the air… this is possible, and would also be my guess as to why they didn’t want to leave. My only concern would be that in the middle of the night the water temperature will catch up and drop as well, and since ducks don’t see well in the dark, they wouldn’t be able to leave.

          Make sure to give them lots of food tomorrow so they can replenish their stores! And since the next few nights are also going to be cold, I might try to get them off of the water and into the shed earlier in the evening if possible. Maybe a new treat to entice them! Good luck! -Crystal

  18. We have 11 Muscovies, 2 males & 9 females of which 6 are sitting on eggs, all due somewhere between this next week and three weeks. They have a 12’x12’x8′ tall fenced in coop with some walls half wood & wire, and one wall all wood (to protect from wind/rain, etc. There are 4 good size lay boxes completely covered and only 1 female chose to lay in there. The coop is in a very large fenced in dog run – the side and back perimeter of our home. We are on acreage, 3 females are sitting on eggs outside the dog run tucked well into bushes. 2 more laid inside the dog run in corners behind large rocks on straw I’ve laid throughout the run. Our nights are cold, mid 30’s but will be dipping below freezing for a few days, snow predicted (although it will just be an inch or two). Our days typically heat up anywhere from the 50’s to 70’s (75 this past week). Yep, we get quite a range during the day in temps. The mothers are sitting all day but for about 20 minutes when they come to take a swim, mingle with the others, then back to their sitting job. I do take each of them food and a bowl of water every day.
    My question – do I leave well enough alone? Can the babies survive in this kind of cold with only their mother to keep them warm or should I bring the eggs inside now with or without mom? Our first attempt, and they caught us off guard by being in winter, so we’re nervous and excited.
    I do have a dog house in a fenced in dog pen (inside the dog run) – our dog is a house dog, lol! I could easily fix this up for all the mothers and eggs/ducklings to be if that would be a good idea. I just don’t want to mess up anything already working …

    Your thoughts and suggestions will be most appreciated, as soon as possible. Thank you.

    1. Well, this is a bit of a predicament… I’m not entirely sure what to tell you, but I will try to think through it with you!

      My first thought is that anytime you try to move a nest, you run the risk of the mother not wanting to sit on the eggs anymore. We have moved nests successfully, but I know of other people who have not… so there is a risk there.

      I have a couple worries:
      That when the mothers leave the nest for 20 minutes, the temperature gets too low, which will reduce the viability of the eggs. If its in the 70s, fine. In the 50s is getting down there though. If they are getting up during the night in the 30s, I would be worried. It is possible that they have already or will die in the shell.

      If you have an incubator, you could bring the eggs in. But if they aren’t all scheduled to hatch on the same day, this would be very tricky. You’d then be responsible for raising the little ones yourself and keeping them inside until they get feathers, and/or the temp is very warm, even at night… so, we’re talking months. And they are messy, very very messy.

      I can’t imagine that bringing six grown ducks and their nests is an option for you? That sounds like a messy nightmare too!

      If they do hatch, the first couple days the little ones are wet and vulnerable… so if the mother were to get up too much when the temperature were cool- the babies could easily get too cold and die. If they survive passed day two, I wouldn’t worry about them after that.

      All that being said, they are ducks and ducks are tough creatures- even the little ones! They might be perfectly fine.

      When you raise baby ducks or chickens in the house, you are supposed to keep the brooder in the high 80s and 90s. I remember when our little ducks hatched this year, that several days after being born, they were running around in much cooler temperatures than 80s and 90s and seemed completely fine with it.

      If it were me, I would leave well enough alone, like you suggested. And hope for the best, letting nature take its course. If they do hatch, and if they do survive, they will likely thrive. And if they don’t hatch or don’t survive… well then, you’ve learned some valuable information. This is definitely the wrong time of year for raising babies! If they hatch but then you start to loose some of them to the cold, you could always intervene at that time and choose to bring the babies in.

      Nature is pretty amazing, and if they survive incubation and hatch, I think it is likely that they survive after that too. Just make sure they have lots of fluffy straw to nestle into.

      Will you please keep me posted on what happens? I’d love to know what you decide to do and the outcome- and I think other people will benefit from this information as well.

      All the best, Crystal.

  19. Oh my gosh! I am so thankful to have found this thread/blog! I have been worried sick about an Indian Runner and his BFF Mallard showed up on our neighborhood pond several months ago. We live in Oklahoma and are prepping for the coldest weather in 2 or 3 years. Supposed to be 7 overnight! I feed scratch and will be feeding more than usual this weekend. I also moved a patio table and moving blankets out close to where I feed, but they are afraid of it.
    Praying they will be ok. Reading all of these comments has helped calm me some so again, thank you!

    1. Glad it helped put your mind at ease! Yes, 7 degrees, especially if only for a short time will be no problem for the ducks! (Here, 7 degrees F would be a heat wave).

      1. Oh my goodness! 7 degrees F? A heat wave? Some of you are truly challenged by your weather and trying to keep your ducks safe. So glad you are thinking of them. Tonight the temperature is dipping into the mid twenties. It was already cold at 7PM so I decided to put them inside. They all happily ran in when I turned on the heater. In the morning, I will go inside and turn off the heater but leave the “kids” in until the inside/outside temps are equalized…then out they go. This morning I did the same and one of the ducks mini-flew out into the aviary to hit the icy cold pond water for her morning freshen-up time. HA! I guess it’s all relative to what they are acclimated to. The best to all of you who care so much about your duck’s safety and comfort.

  20. I have three Peking Ducklings living in the house at 3 weeks old. When can I put em in the garage and how cold is too cold for them st this age?

  21. Someone abandoned a young, female Muscovy at my local lake in N.NJ. The lake has frozen, but the adjacent small river is still flowing and in a lower “valley”. She is all alone now – the small flock of mallards she tried to befriend, just flew away today. I feed her once a day, cracked corn, dried meal worms, chicken scratch with millet and white bread. Will she be ok all alone at night? I had a kind animal rescuer try to help me capture her, she didn’t want to be caught. She will eat bread from my hand though. Is it kinder to just feed her and hope for the best? Put a hay bale house by the river for her? Or try and capture her again? It’s been cold at night, 15 -20s. It may be only 7 in a few days late at night. How is the best and kindest way to help “Baby”? Thank you.

    1. Hi Christine

      You are very sweet to feed and take care of her. As long as you have been feeding her plenty, she should be fine weather-wise. Even temperatures close to zero, especially if not for a prolonged time are no problem at all for a duck. A hay bale house would be nice though, if you have it.

      What would you do with her if you captured her? She would go to a rescue? Ducks are flock animals big time, so she is likely quite lonely… this would be the only reason to take her somewhere else. If there is somewhere she can go with other ducks, that would probably be best for her. Ducks are kind of hard to catch though! And they only let you have so many tries too… :)

      If you can’t catch her, I wouldn’t worry too much. A little loneliness isn’t so bad, and she has your company once per day, so that helps. In the spring when other ducks return she will have buddies again.

      One other out of the box suggestion- maybe look on facebook or craigslist for someone looking to get rid of or rehome a duck or two… you could give her a buddy that won’t fly away. I bet they would be instant friends. :)

      Hope that helps! -Crystal

      1. Thank you for your kind and knowledgeable help! Your page is such a great resource – so grateful to have found all the wonderful advice and help here. Thank you again – it’s a relief to find out how temperature hardy ducks are. Baby’s little mallard buddies returned today! Baby will come when called by name and recognizes my voice – guess calling out loudly spooked the mallard flock of 6. The only placement option I found for Baby, was with a flock of chickens. Thanks again very much Crystal!

  22. This is extremely helpful! Thanks for posting! I have a lone Indian runner duck, about 9 months old. Up until a few days ago, she had a Canadian goose as her best friend that she was raised with. Sadly, his separation anxiety from me got the best of him and he got hit by a vehicle. With my Indian runner being alone now, I feel bad putting her outside. She loves being inside with me as she’s very social but she’s a messy little bird. Super sweet just very messy. It’s so cold out right now in Ohio. 6 degrees right now. She has a really nice house in the garage where we keep the doors closed. It’s not heated though in the garage. We keep food out for her and have a heater for her water.

    Do you think she will survive leaving her out there each night even with these temps? She’s a petite little baby and I don’t want to lose her too. I’m already heartbroken over my goose. :-(

    1. Glad to hear it was helpful! Sorry to hear about your goose. :(

      Sounds like the duck has a nice shelter, and as long as she has access to plenty of good quality food (high protein/layer feed) she will be just fine in the cold. Ducks are extremely hardy, so no worries there.

      She will get lonely without other birds around, so hopefully you can get her a buddy soon! -Crystal

  23. Hello, we are first time duck owners – 2 domestic mallards – a male and a female. It has been unseasonably warm here in North Carolina until 4 days ago dipping into the 20’s. Our ducks are 6 months old and the female has produced her first 3 eggs NOW! just as it has become so cold! She has pushed the chicken eggs out into the middle of the coop. The chickens do not like our new nesting boxes and have been laying their eggs where the female duck sleeps. Until now that has not been a problem because she sleeps at night and they lay during the day. We do not have a rooster so we consume our chicken eggs. We want to let the duck raise her ducklings so should I separate them from the chickens? Also with the temps so low are the eggs even viable? She does not spend time on them as the chickens have been sitting on them as they lay their eggs throughout the day. What to do? – Kids wanting some ducklings-

    1. Hi Susan- the best outcome if you want ducklings, will be to separate the ducks from the chickens. Give the duck her own nest where she won’t be bothered by any chickens trying to kick her out of it.

      A little cool-ness won’t really affect the fertility, as long as there are no cracks in the eggs and they don’t freeze. What might be a problem is the warm and cold cycle the eggs are going through if chickens are sitting on them sometimes, warming them up… only to abandon them and let them get really cold again. This is also why letting the duck have the nest to herself is helpful!

      Best of luck! Crystal

  24. Crystal, this article is SO helpful for me! I didn’t write down the kinds of ducks we got 4 weeks ago. So they are very young; not sure how old they were when we bought them. :/ They are getting their feathers though; I think they have about half their feathers. We live in CO and the temp should hit freezing and maybe below that tonight and tomorrow. I have put wood shavings in a medium size dog crate, wrapped it in a thick blanket, and clothes-pinned a tarp over that. And we found a door on our new farm to lean against it so there’s a little more wind and rain protection. Also made sure the door is facing the wall so the wind can’t get in. Do you think they will be okay? I am having trouble finding info anywhere and they are my babies. :)

    1. Update from Christine: her young ducks made it through the cold night in a dog house-type shelter (covered with some blankets and tarps and protected from wind/drafts) just fine!

  25. Hello Crystal :)
    I realize it’s been quite some time since the last comment on this post but I’m hoping you may have some advice for me & while reading through the comments has helped quite a lot, I need some more direction.
    We have a 12 acre lake on our property and about 4-5 months ago a lone duck showed up & just never left. My dad jokingly started calling it the ugly duckling while here visiting cause it’s a bit odd looking (after some extensive research I’m pretty sure it’s a Moscovian) but my sister and I objected and he or she (for some reason we think of it has a he so that’s how I’m going to refer to it but it’s really hard to tell by comparing appearance to online pictures) has instead been named Under Duck, Unduck for short.
    For a while he kept his distance but never left and didn’t really show any fear. Then one day my small dog, who is known for snuggling kittens, baby birds, even a squirrel once befriended it and he started coming closer and closer to me until he’ll now eat right out of my hand. Actually just yesterday I left the door cracked while I was out getting wood and found him and my dog INSIDE THE HOUSE together! He waddled around while I cracked up and took some pictures then gently shooed him back outside. Haha! Unfortunately now he sits on the patio waiting to come back in which I just can’t allow at this point with my white carpet and nice furniture. If my house was just a little shabbier I’d probably end up with a diapered inside duck and he’d inevitably join the rest of my furry crew for our nightly snuggle, haha.
    All this said, now that winter is coming here in OR I’m getting a little worried about him. He absolutely breaks my heart just sitting out there all alone. He never even tried to befriend the other ducks that come and go. So I have a few questions.
    My first concern is about predators. We have lots of coyotes as well as a neighborhood mountain lion and a few raccoons here and there. So far he’s done ok, I imagine just staying in the middle of the lake when he feels threatened, but I don’t know if that’s skill or luck?
    My second issue is that I live half time here and half time a few towns away for work so I don’t have enough consistency to bring him in and out of any kind of closed coop or shelter. I could absolutely make him a nice cozy shelter, maybe in the loft of the empty barn, or even build one closer the bank of the lake, but I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not? I’ve read Muscovy’s like higher places and he does perch in the surrounding trees every once in a while, so maybe I could give him a home on stilts to keep him comfy but also a little safer? I’m pretty sure I’ve already domesticated him (or re-domesticated as the case may be, he’s so friendly now he probably has a history as a pet) as I’ve definitely been giving him half a chopped up apple or 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, etc once or twice a day when I am home. The rest of the time he seems to keep himself perfectly well fed on the few remaining apples on the tree and foraging in the grass or on the water. But he now comes running when I’m here and let my pup out to potty. They’ve become fast friends.
    Another concern is that the lake freezes all the way across for several days up to almost two weeks during the winter (our very lowest temp is probably about 15-18 degrees F & doesn’t last too long…average is 20-40 degrees) so I don’t know if he’d be able to survive that left unattended?
    And lastly, he seems so, so lonely! I would definitely adopt him a buddy but I still have the same concerns regarding predators and not being here full time to watch over him.
    I’ve made loose inquiries about rehoming him but none of the few people who showed interest would promise they wouldn’t eat him and I honestly couldn’t bear that.
    Sorry for writing you such a novel but this little guy has chirped and wagged little tail feathers right into my heart and I really want to do the right thing.
    Any advice you can give would be really amazing!
    Thanks in advance!
    Chloe

    1. Hi Chloe, hoping I can help! Here goes…

      This gets a little tricky with you not being home consistently. I am hearing that in your heart you really want to keep him if you can make it work (he sounds like sweet duck!) but I think you need to figure out if you can actually make it work, then fully commit or commit to finding him a home since you’re already invested in his well-being. And if you can’t fully commit, he’d be better off somewhere else where he’ll be safe. I’m sure you could find a nice family for him who didn’t just want him over for dinner.

      How many days are you gone for at a time on average? Is there anyone else home who could freshen water or a neighbor or neighbor kid who might like to share in caring for him? If not, I think it would be hard to keep any poultry.

      1. He definitely needs a duck friend- so whether someone else with ducks adopts him, or you give him a buddy, this is a need. They are flock animals and he is very lonely I’m sure. If you can’t adopt another duck or two, I’d recommend trying harder to re-home him.

      2. He’ll need open water at all times, so when the lake freezes over, you’ll have to provide a small tub of water (big enough for him to submerge his head into) and a way to keep it from freezing when you’re not home- like the tank heater I recommend in this post.

      3. Predators are certainly a risk, and if you fully commit to him as a pet… you’ll want to provide a secure shelter lest you get heartbroken when you find a pile of feathers all over one day. If you could get a duck friend for him and give them an enclosed run and coop, someone would really only need to refresh water every other day. You could let them out during the day when you’re home and put them in at night. And keep them in when you’re gone.

      Or you could just chance it- him nesting in a tree is a decent place, though probably no trouble for a mountain lion. A house on stilts isn’t a bad idea- high enough that a coyote couldn’t jump up, and with an opening small enough for the duck but not a mountain lion? With fluffy straw inside! Though there’s no guarantee he’d actually use it… ducks can be stubborn. He is pretty safe on the open water I think, so maybe just the two weeks it closes up you could keep him on lock down at your home in the barn or something?

      Hope that gives you some ideas! Good luck to you and Unduck! -Crystal

  26. I am so happy to find this site! My ducks are in the middle of our pond and 90% of it is frozen. We can not get them to come off the pond even to eat. I have bowls of cracked corn near them but they rarely come put of the little bit of water that is there. I can not reach them even with a net. It is suppose to be -2 degrees tonight. I only hope they make through the next 2 days, till it warms a bit. I am going to train them to go in the shelter because I can not stand the stress! Good luck to all!

  27. Hello everyone, I came across your site, because I couldn’t remember how cold ducks could handle cold weather. I have two Peking females. One a lot bigger than the other. I live in Missouri and it is suppose to really get extra cold tonight. They have a house that I trained them to go into at night. The only problem I am having is keeping fresh water out for them. During the day, I change their water several times because it keep freezing. I haven’t found anything to keep it from freezing at night. I will have to try the rubber heater that was mentioned earlier. Even their child pool is frozen to no return until it warms up again. Last year i brought them in the house and let them swim around in the bathtub, then let the water out, then let them dry thrmselves, then took them back outside.
    Haven’t fone it this year. I keep plenty of food for them and scrapes. The larger one seems to be a little out of sink. She lays down all the time, even to eat and drink. Going to take her to the vet and have her checked out. Otherwise they are doing fine in the cold weather. They haven’t laid eggs since last November.
    As long as they have a place to go when it gets too bad they will be ok.. Thanks for the info.

    1. The rubber tub with the tank heater is a life saver! Stays thawed even in -20F. Sounds like you have some well-cared for ducks there. :) -Crystal

  28. We have various sized mallards. But if they don’t have their feathers yet, they don’t go out until it’s above 60° out at night. The adults however, over this past winter, we’re subjected to single digits temps and very strong winds. We have a “box” if you will, firm wooden frame, chicken wire, etc. And a plastic box for garden storage on it’s side, inside and lined with a thick layer of straw also a work light for some heat and so we could keep an eye on them. We corralled all 13 of our adults in there and loaded em up with food & water, shovef boards up next to the sides and braced with firewood outside to block the wind. It worked great. So glad we did that, it snowed 16 inches the next day. When the sun came out and winds died down, we opened the door and let them come and go as they pleased. For two days, no one left ‘the box’. Finally, they started coming out and walking on the snow. Soon they all were coming and going freely, but still sleeping all huddled in the box at night.

  29. Thank you! Great information that will help our flock here in western NYS where temps will dip to -10 this week with high winds. 😰😰😰

  30. Hi there, I have a wild female mallard that comes every year to the same spot in my yard to lay eggs. This year, she started very early. She has laid 7 eggs, when the temperatures were cool but above freezing. It will be 23 and 26F in the next couple of days, and she is not done laying. She comes, lays one, and leaves, to return the next day. Will the eggs make it on their own until she returns to lay more?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Monica, I know that eggs can withstand pretty cold temperatures (that is, before they are incubated/she starts setting them) but I’m not sure if they can withstand a hard freeze… and certainly not if it is cold enough to crack them.

      To intervene or not is a tough call. Good luck! -Crystal

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