Notes from a First First Time Front Yard Farmer – Winter and Water

One constant problem with our front yard farm is the ducks water.  They love their water.  They love to drink it, wash in it, sleep in it, and poop in it.  In case you are wondering, ducks poop a lot, which means they need fresh water often.    This is not a problem in the summer time.  I just empty out the outside containers and fill them up with the water hose, same thing with their cooler in the duck house. They do have a pond, and that’s a bit trickier because it should be drained once a week.  Their pond probably holds 50 to 100 gallons of water.  It doesn’t have an actual drain, so the only way to empty it is for me or Dave to go out there with a 5 gallon bucket and start hauling the dirty water out.  I figure it is a good way to get some strength training in.

The problem is winter time.  The ducks splash water everywhere no matter the season, so this time of year I could probably just skate around the duck yard.  I haul water to them in a five gallon container, and the ice always adds an extra element of excitement.  In the duck house their water will stay liquid until is about 20F outside, after that it starts to freeze.  At that point, you can hammer the cooler out every day, or figure out what to do to keep the water a liquid.  After a bit of research, we decided an aquarium heater would to the trick.  It works pretty well.  Until the ducks manage to fish it out, and set the hot heater down on the hay.  Which happened today.  Dave found it sitting in a little burned pile of straw, and the ducks wouldn’t come near it.  They stayed in their duck house quacking at him, demanding he pick the hot thing up.  Nothing burned up, but it was close.  The outside water buckets just freeze, and the ice has to be banged out with a hammer and dumped.  This isn’t so bad, until you find yourself outside at -20 with bucket of hot water, trying to break the ice out for the umpteenth time.  It’s even more fun when the wind is blowing 25 mph or more, and the water is going anywhere but in the container.  I always think, “If I were a sailor I’d know the trick to this, and the water would go where it is supposed to.”1457524_702141319795912_1607947892_n

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