Do Ducks Get Cold When Swimming in Icy Lakes?

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Ducks are the kind of bird that is so familiar, almost everybody knows them. But maybe you didn’t know much about them, right? Do Ducks get cold when swimming in icy lakes?

Well, of course, they do! But no worries! We’ll show you exactly how they do that and share a bunch of other mind-blowing facts as well.

How Ducks Handle the Cold

When water starts to freeze, most animals would head for land and get out of the cold water. However, ducks are different. They are able to keep swimming even when the water around them is starting to freeze. So, how do they do it?

Ducks have a lot of feathers and this helps them to insulate their body and keep them warm. Their feet are also adapted to the cold and they have special scales that protect their feet from the cold water.

When they are swimming, they are also generating heat by moving their body and this helps to keep them warm.

So, while ducks may look cold when they are swimming in icy lakes, they are actually well-adapted to the cold and can handle it just fine!

How to Keep Ducks Warm in Icy Water

There are various ways to warm and keep ducks in winter. One way is to add a heater to the water.

Another way is to use a shallow dish or bowl so the duck can get out of the water if it gets too cold. However, if the water is too cold, the duck will get cold and may even die.

So, if you are taking this into consideration, look here for more details for more tips on how you can properly keep and care for ducks as a pet.

Do Ducks Get Cold: How to Tell if They Are Cold

You may be wondering do ducks feet get cold?

As the water begins to freeze, it expands and becomes less dense. So, while a lake may look like one big block of ice, it’s actually full of pockets of cold water and pockets of warmer water.

A duck’s body is less dense than water, so it will float in the pockets of warmer water. But if a duck spends too much time in cold water, it will start to feel the effects of hypothermia.

One way to tell if a duck is cold is to observe whether it is swimming in icy lakes. If a duck is cold, it will likely be swimming in icy lakes in an attempt to warm up. Additionally, if a duck is cold, it may also be shivering.

Ducks Enjoy Icy Water More Than Others

There are many debates about do ducks get cold or enjoy icy water more than other animals, but the general consensus is that they do.

They have a layer of feathers that work to insulate them from cold water, and they also have a special oil that helps keep their feathers waterproof. This means that they are better equipped to handle cold water than most other animals.

Ducks Have a Very High Internal Temperature

The typical internal temperature of an average human is 98.6°F (37°C), while the average body temperature of a duck is 106°F (41°C).

Ducks have a much higher core temperature, which increases their resistance to cold, and when combined with their fast metabolism, helps them stay warmer for a longer period of time.

A duck’s metabolism is so fast that it is necessary for them to eat frequently in cold weather in order to keep their body temperature stable. In other words, even when they’re just sitting around, ducks are still expending energy!

Ducks are able to survive freezing temperatures both inside and outside of the water due to their high internal temperature and rapid metabolism, which would be dangerous for other creatures, including people!

Ducks are Almost Totally Waterproof

Being waterproof naturally is one of the best adaptations for ducks, especially because they are waterfowl. Their closely woven, double-layered feathers and the unique oil they secrete, known as sebum, work together to do this.

A duck’s frequent brushing with its bill makes its outer feathers even more waterproof, which is a specific adaptation for repelling water. Ducks’ preen gland produces sebum, which is dispersed throughout their feathers and functions as a hydrophobic coating to keep water off their backs.

But this waterproofing has advantages that go beyond just keeping the ducks warm. Additionally, it aids in maintaining their buoyancy, which is important to swimming.

They float better and stay warmer by avoiding getting their feathers wet because having wet feathers would make them far more prone to the cold. This organic waterproofing is so powerful that it keeps them dry and warm even when submerged in frigid water, in addition to protecting them against rain and snow.

Ducks Use Excellent Insulation

The inner layer of down makes up the second component of a duck’s feather. This down provides excellent insulation by trapping heat close to the duck’s body. Ducks possess some of the best animal insulation!

This is necessary for them to be able to swim in frigid seas and stay warm, but it also aids in their ability to endure the bitter cold on land.

Compared to other birds, ducks have more down feathers per square inch, and this additional layer of defense, along with their impermeable outer layer and high body heat, traps a huddle of warm air against them.

This layer of warm air keeps the duck’s body from losing heat, much like you wouldn’t if you were wearing that parka in the previous scenario.

This duck down is so useful at insulating that it has been used for a very long time in clothes, blankets, and other items.

They Keep Moving

Ducks don’t actually appear to be at rest when they are simply floating serenely or resting quietly on the water.

There is a flurry of movement in the form of furious paddling just below the water’s surface! Because their muscles are constantly working, ducks can stay warm due to their constant mobility. Additionally, it aids in accelerating the flow of warmed blood throughout their bodies.

Ducks frequently cluster together in groups to transfer body heat and keep each other warm when the water becomes too cold for even this to help.

Ducks Have a Special Circulatory System

The circulatory system of ducks is maybe their most outstanding cold weather adaptation.

The feet and legs of ducks are considered to be a weak point in their cold weather defense. Since there are no feathers there.

Ducks, therefore have a biological counter current heat exchange system to keep them warm in cold waters.

This indicates that the blood always stays at least warm due to the way the veins and arteries are set up in their legs.

This is made possible by the fact that the veins returning cooled blood are outside of the arteries bringing heated blood to the extremities.

In other words, the blood returning from the feet of a duck is warmed by the blood going from the head.

Despite having little insulation, this results in reduced net heat loss via a duck’s feet, and by keeping them warmer, it enables them to swim for extended periods of time in water that would be too cold for other animals.

Ducks Need “Warming Feed” in the Winter

If you have ducks, you should make it a point to give them warm food during the winter or any other extended cold weather.

A higher-quality meal with more nutrients is known as “warming feed,” because it helps ducks produce more body heat.

When the temperature first falls below freezing, it’s a good idea to switch to warming feed; keep doing so until the weather warms up in the spring.

Don’t Let Your Ducks Stay Exposed to Cold for No Reason

Ducks are incredibly well-suited to live in cold climates on land and in the water because to all these characteristics. However, that does not imply that they do not value protection from the weather and a nice, comfortable shelter.

When they need to escape the weather, ducks raised as pets or for egg production should always have access to a warm, dry place to go. This might be a shed, a covered porch, or even a large coop.

Ducks normally do well even in icy situations, especially when they have lots of food and a place to go to escape the wind and the cold.


The cold temperatures of icy lakes don’t bother ducks because they are well accustomed to swimming in cold water. Ducks have a variety of physiological adaptations that enable them to maintain their body temperature in cold climates, including a thick coating of insulating feathers and a unique circulatory system that enables them to store heat. Ducks may also control their body temperature by changing their behavior, such as grouping together to conserve heat or tucking their bills into their feathers.

For more informative articles, keep checking out our other blogs.

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