“How do the Rose Lake ducks stay warm through winter?”

ducks winter

Great question! Many residents of Rose Lake Estates are animal lovers who look out for our duck families and frequently feed them. Several have expressed concern over how our ducks manage to stay warm through these very cold winter months.

Here are some interesting duck facts about our hand-raised brood:

  • The ducks residing at Rose Lake Estates are Mallards, a very common species in Indiana that do well in cold weather.
  • Mallards are covered in multiple feather layers which protect their bodies and help regulate body temperature.
  • Feathers do not contain skin or blood vessels, so do not lose body heat. The feathers actually retain heat by trapping warm air near the skin.
  • Just under the large outer feathers are smaller, softer “downy” feathers which are lighter and fluffier, therefore able to keep warm air pockets close to the skin.
  • Ducks accumulate a layer of fat all summer to prepare for winter. Not only does the fat gives additional insulation, but it also acts as an energy source when food is scarce.
  • Ducks have large feet equipped with ‘natural radiators’ to control heat loss. Warm blood that flows to the feet is cooled by venous blood flowing back to the body, where it is warmed again keeping feet from freezing. Ducks will draw their feet up under feathers to protect them and keep warm.

Now you know why our ducks seem to enjoy the cold so much! They do have a structure that serves as a shelter, but don’t use it much. They prefer to swim, forage, and shake and fluff their feathers to stay warm.

Send us your question and perhaps we will blog about it! As an Indiana-based, family-run home property for 30 years, Rose Lake Estates is a great place to call home. (Even for ducks!)