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MM 61

The WATER in Waterfowl

by | Jul 20, 2021 | Meyer Moment

Let’s take a Meyer Moment to talk about water and its importance to waterfowl. Of course, it’s in the name, but exactly why is water so important to waterfowl such as ducks and geese? Besides the fact that waterfowl seem to enjoy splashing and making any sort of mess with water, this natural instinct is for their health.

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Hey everyone! Welcome back to The Coop with Meyer Hatchery – where we talk all things poultry in hopes of inspiring crazy chicken keepers and educating future flock owners. Each week we like to take a Meyer Moment to cover relevant happenings. 

Let’s take a Meyer Moment to talk about water and its importance to waterfowl. Of course, it’s in the name, but exactly why is water so important to waterfowl such as ducks and geese? Besides the fact that waterfowl seem to enjoy splashing and making any sort of mess with water, this natural instinct is for their health. 

Waterfowl utilize water in a variety of ways to maintain their overall health and happiness. One important way is by dipping their bills into water to easily clean their nostrils. 

Customers often ask us if waterfowl must have a pond or deep pool of water. Ideally, they do, but realistically these birds do not need to have water deep enough for swimming. Feel free to provide a kiddie pool or swimming area for your birds, but be prepared for the mess. Besides the splashing, the birds will gladly add mud and poop to any water they can find.

One consideration is that many domestic waterfowl readily, and most successfully breed with the presence of swimmable water. If you plan to incubate eggs or have any of your hen hatch babies, plan to offer an area of water that is at least 2 feet deep.

Ducks and geese produce an abundance of “preen oil”, which essentially makes them waterproof. This oil gland is above the bird’s rump, so if you have ever observed waterfowl, you have likely seen the constant preening.

We recommend keeping swimmable water outside, as water sources within the coop can lead to wet bedding and dirty drinking water, which can quickly become unhealthy for birds. 

If you have baby ducklings or goslings, your first instinct may be to let them swim and splash as they please. We do recommend waiting at least a week before letting your new baby birds have water playtime. 

The baby birds will happily take to a shallow, lukewarm container of water. This will help stimulate oil production so that they become waterproof. Do this with caution–do not keep them in the water for too long and never leave them unattended. 

We hope you enjoyed this Meyer Moment about waterfowl and their amazing need for water. 

Enjoy the rest of your week and as always, thank you for listening to The Coop!

Hosts & Guests

Kendra
From Meyer Hatchery

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