In addition to their down feathers, ducks and geese have a layer of fat beneath the skin that provides even more insulation.
"Cold and snow? I'm *down* with that!"
But when conditions are the harshest, even the best winter coat may not be enough. If the temperature is going to be below freezing for long periods of time, your waterfowl will appreciate access to a simple, dry shelter, especially at night. Preferably, the shelter will be lockable, providing protection from winter's strongest winds and nature's hungriest predators. You will likely want to provide such a shelter for your waterfowl all year long, regardless of temperature, for predator protection.
A simple shelter provides protection from the cold.
Another tip: you may want to withhold swimming water from your ducks and geese during the coldest days of winter, especially if they are housed with chickens. They will inevitably splash cold water onto their flockmates, which will not be appreciated by the chickens! Also, in extreme cold, ducks and geese with wet feet from recent swimming may actually freeze to the ground if they stand in one place too long. If that happens, you'll need to gently pour warm (not hot!) water around their feet to set them free. Ducks and geese are uniquely qualified to be outside during winter, and may only need a little extra help when the temperatures plunge for long periods of time. |||ducks, geese, winter, cold, housing, house, down, insulation, temperature, snow, ice|False 465|What is the life expectancy of ducks and geese?|If cared for properly, ducks can live to 7-10 years, and some exceptional birds may live longer than that. Geese normally live 10-15 years, but there are stories of some that have lived much, much longer--40 years or more!
Around 3-5 years, duck fertility and egg production lessen, and many keepers choose not to keep older birds because of this. But there are many reasons to keep ducks into their older age. We discuss some of them here. Other reasons to keep older birds can be found in this creative My Pet Chicken blog article (it refers to chickens but the same ideas apply to waterfowl): Older hens, Kenny Rogers, and long-term flock management.
Geese like the White Chinese normally live 10-15 years.
Unfortunately, since ducks and geese are prey animals, the main cause of death is usually predators--especially dogs. So the most important thing you can do to help your waterfowl live a long, happy life is to provide predator protection for them.