2 of my young drakes had feet frozen stiff last night. They spent the night in my basement in a dog crate. They seem to be walking around fine this morning. In fact they got out at some point and went on a walkabout around the basement. Time will tell if they loose part of their feet or not. I will keep them in until it warms up some next week. Sundays high is suppose to be single digits.
After a quick cold snap a few years ago I had a Muscovy drake get both of his feet and his tail feathers frozen in the pond. He had been struggling for a while when I found him. I decided I needed to get him free in a hurry.
I tried breaking a path to him with a sledge hammer. but it wouldn't work. The ice was too thick. I got into my yacht (paddle boat) and launched it onto the ice. When I got into the boat, all the ice under the boat cracked! I found out that by leaning way back in the boat I could use a paddle to push the bow up onto the ice. When I shifted my weight forward, the ice would crack.
This was going well. I was halfway to the duck when I lost my balance and tipped the boat too far sideways, dumping me into the water.
Wow, that was cold! I submerged, but immediately jumped to my feet. The water was only about 2 feet deep and the ice was thinner away from the shore. As cold as I was, I figured I wouldn't get that much colder if I went ahead and freed the duck. I could lift a foot out of the water and slam it down, breaking the ice. Doing this, I made the last 20 feet to the duck and was able to free it.
The Muscovy drake flew away. I didn't watch it fly away because my bride was standing on the bank of the pond screaming at me to get out of the water. I was so numb! I scrambled out and rushed to the house.
It turned out that I stood up so quickly after falling in the water that the money in my wallet didn't get wet
Later I was able to identify which duck it was by the missing tail feathers. It fared quite well. It didn't take long for the feathers to grow back in.
Post by dexterfarm on Dec 17, 2016 11:46:29 GMT -6
I think I would have tried to find a different way to get to him. I have only been in 32 deg water once and that was enough.
They are still doing ok in the basement today. They seem to walk ok and it does not appear to bother them. I do think they have some damage. If they had appeared to be in pain I would have put them down but they are acting totally normal. These 2 will end up in the oven when they get big enough. Its a weakness I dont want in my breeding flock.
yes, they are a wild tropical bird. So they are not very cold tolerant. Some will be heartier than others. I had Muscovy when I was a kid. A few of them did have their feet freeze but some never had a problem. Yesterday it was 10-15 deg when one of them had their feet freeze(they were locked in the coop all day). Last night it was -14 and none of the others had their feet freeze. I dont know what the difference is. It has only been drakes so far. I it because drakes have much bigger feet? Possible circulation differences? Or behavior are these ducks not tucking their feet up into their feathers?
So a total of 4 of them. It has been rather mild the last few days. The last 2 that it happened to I caught real quick and they are already back out with the others you would never know anything happened to them. I did band them so I will know who they are and can monitor them closely and for future butchering. still have the first 2 in the basement they are doing well but will probably loose a portion of their feet.
I knew that Muscovies were related to swans, but it wasn't until I saw a Jeopardy game show that I remembered that there is a variety of swan called a "mute swan". Bet a dollar they are close relatives to Muscovies.
Post by dexterfarm on Dec 24, 2016 12:28:49 GMT -6
I knew they were not ducks but did not know they were related to swans. They are smart. One of the ones that spent time in the house but has been out for a few days. Showed up on my door step earlier begging for food. I picked it up and put it back with the others. Within 10 minutes it was back at my door.
For a long time I raised ducklings in a brooder until they got a few feathers, then moved them to the chicken pen next to my house, so they could get sunlight and learn where they live. We didn't want them around the house because of the poop.
When I took them to the barn and turned them out with the other, free range ducks, a few of them always came back to the house and the pond and took up residence there. Wild and free. No good to me.
I would catch them and sell them, only keeping the ducks that took up residence at the barn and spent their days in the pastures.
Every once in a while, a hen will go broody and make a nest in the woods. I don't know she has done it until she shows up with ducklings in tow. She invariable brings her ducklings to the chicken pen by the house, to scavenge after the chickens during the hour I let the chickens out in the mornings.
Next thing you know, the hen is a permanent resident near the house and pond. It's rare for any of her ducklings to survive, but when they do, they become permanent house and pond residents, too.
Now, whenever I get ducklings, I raise them in the brooder until they get feathers, then take them straight to the barn. Very few of those ever come back to the house.
This morning saw the temperature down to 4 degrees. I looked closely for any signs of Muscovy feet freezing. All seems clear. The snow was deep enough that I took feed to the ducks, chickens and guineas that hung out around the barn. Their normal diet is severely restricted by the snow cover and low temperatures. The manure piles that the ducks love to mudle through freeze solid. They can't find anything to eat there. So, I'll feed them through Tuesday, when temperatures are supposed to climb above freezing.
So far it has just been the 4 but we have not been as cold as we hit the first time it happened. Every time the temp has dipped I make sure they have new deep bedding. I just moved the 4 of them out this morning to spend the week outside but then the temps are set to drop again next week. Its easy to get them in I just open up the basement door and they walk in. Put some food in their cage and they walk over and jump in. 2 of them lost much of their feet but it doent seem to slow them down. the other 2 fared a lot better.
Unfortunately I lost 2 of the youngest ducklings last night. It got down to -2 degrees. One froze in the henhouse during the night, laying against the outside wall. A little white one was dragging one leg. I took that one to the brooder, with a heat lamp. I went back to get the other white one that also seemed to be favoring one leg, but by the time I got back, it was dead. The last remaining one was doing just fine, but I took him to the brooder anyway.
It's supposed to be cold one more night, then warm up. By Friday we may hit 70 degrees. I'll only hold the 2 ducklings a couple of days and then return them to the henhouse.