View Full Version : keeping a duck pond clean
I have 6 ducks in a large soft fruit enclosure, about 15 x 9 metres, (yes the polypipe construction worked beautifully) with an insulated shed for sleeping in. We installed a triangular spa, purchased cheaply from the tip, and this is raised a little so I can drain out the sludge once a week. I take out 70 to 90 litres but much of the smelly foecal material floats and there are about 400-500 litres of water in the spa. I can't waste that by draining the whole thing each week. Any ideas on safe flocculants or anything???
26-06-2007, 05:22 AM
ducks won't need a water tub that large, you need to give them just enough water so they can have water when eating, and a splash, we had 6 geese and 3 ducks using a 1/2 44 gallon drum for their water, we changed that every second day probably around 100 litres of water for the garden, know one lady who had little more than a large baking tray for her ducks.
26-06-2007, 09:54 AM
If you are going to provide a 'pond' for ducks you will probably have to clean it out completely at least once a week. Drakes especially leave a dreadful smell in the water! Ducks love filtering a mouthful of mud to find any nutrients in it and the mud will build up on the bottom of the 'pond'.
They also poo anywhere they happen to be.
Gardenlen has the right approach, that is, give them small easy to clean containers. Ours have the small containers but they also wander off to the nearby dams for a swim.
Thanks for the responses. I used a large raised spa with a large plug hole intentionally after seeing a raised pond in Robyn Francis' garden in Nimbin several years ago. She drained only the sludge from the bottom if I remember correctly and this went directly to the fruit trees.I have designed mine similarly. I'm not happy to see them swimming in brown water and my question was whether there was something safe I could use to help settle the foecal matter.
Suze - I doubt there is anything that will settle the water enought to clean it. Could you possibly reduce the capacity of your pond while keeping the surface area. Like part filling it with gravel, rock, or the like. If you could balance the volume of water to your daily watering needs you could use rich duck water on your garden and have clean water for the ducks each day. I used to water my corn patch with duck water each day and it was amazinlgy good. Not much of an idea during winter I suppose.
26-06-2007, 11:45 AM
i don't think there would be anything that would be safe at least that is?? never heard of anything myself, some unwisely use alum-sulphate to clear murky dams but wouldn't suggest that in a duck pond.
how about you take a look at filtering it?? maybe there will be the cost of running a filter and then maintenance/cleaning. topping water up etc.,. might work using one of those samll garden windmills to pump the water around through and appropriate charcoal/sand/gravel screen amyeb als some filter cloth over the gravel bed so you just lift that out and put that into the garden???
maybe run the water throuhg a small wetland affair before returning it??? only thing unless you grow edibles bamboo, water chestnuts etc.,. you lose the benefit of the nutrients otherwise. you could gravity feed to the wetland (growing in a say 1/2 drum) then through that into storage fo at least the capacity of the duck pond, but then from there you need to return it in comes some sort of pump.
just thinking out loud chuckle
but seems like an answer maybe???
Gardenlen's right ducks dont need lots of water, but they do like it!
I always try to keep my animals as happy as possible.
I believe that a happ animal is a more productive one, & there's nothing like watching ducks splash around.
As for all that mucky water, what a great resource you have there!
"Turn your problem into the solution"
If you harvest water from the duck shed & divert it into the spa you wont need to keep filling it.
All of the shit will float to the top & be the first to overflow.
Put in a diversion drain to channel the overflow (maby onto those soft fruit trees)
This will cut down on maintenance & enhance multifunction.
Some sludge will build up on the botton clean this out occasionally & always have fresh drinking water in shallow heavy containers.
Good Luck :)
Thankyou honi, gardenlen, bill and plumtree. All great ideas. I leave a 10L container of water for the ducks to wash their faces in which I refresh twice a day but they love to swim in the pool and of course, I had hoped to harvest the sludge for some fantastic future fruit. I'll let you know what happens.
26-06-2007, 11:25 PM
Fresh water lolololololol...Who amongst us has fresh clean untainted water to give our ducks or chooks..
The only true clean water..and thats not clean is a "duck pond"
Rain water is great But a bit of a burden if we need to water ourselves..
Tap water ..Well thats stuffed as well cause its ful of chemicals used in keeping it :( :( :( :( :( "Safe for Humans"
I ran Kharki Campbells for years until water got scarce around here So i went to chooks again...
My ducks would,drink,bathe,poop,play allmost everything including mating and they didnt give a rats arse how good or bad the water was..
Ducks pollute the water with every drink when they flush any food particles down their long necks they need water to keep their necks clear.
Ive had ducks and chooks drinking water I wouldnt even throw away it looked and smelled that bad...
Ducks dont require ponds or lakes ..Just enough to submurse there heads under water....In most cases the evaporation and spillages are sufficient enough to ""Just add more water" to fill any containers,Instead of emptying the contents some place..
Why do humans have this preoccupation with cleanliness at all costs
Agreed Tezza - but I try not to crap in my bath, unlike ducks.
Some good suggestions above...other things you might consider are using the duck water for fertigating the rest of your garden (if there's too much water for that just use less in the spa as suggested above), or you could consider a mix of that and growing yabbies, mussels, or another 'bottom feeder' at the bottom of your spa (seperating with the appropriate mesh if needed), or you could consider using a pump which removes solid and liquid waste, then pump the waste into gravel plant beds (like in Aquaponics) and return it to the spa (Duckponics! :lol:) .
As Tezza rightly said, ducks like to muddy their water in their natural surroundings which are shallow anyway, but no harm in using any of the above suggestions if you want to clean it up a bit.
16-07-2007, 02:53 PM
Put some fish in there, recirculate the water through a gravel hydroponic grow bed, and, voila, you have aquaponics! :wav:
Check out Joels site at http://www.backyardaquaponics.com for more info. WARNING: You may lose sleep! I did, for WEEKS!
16-07-2007, 03:48 PM
You've been given lots of good advice but no one seems to be able to answer your question ie flocculants. It would be ideal if you could run off the sludge and only lose the minimum water.I use a flocculant sometimes to clear up a cloudy homebrew beer. It hasn't done me any harm. Perhaps you could contact a local brewery to see if the stuff is available in bulk.
19-07-2007, 11:46 PM
I have 6 welsh harlequin ducks and two geese and also got sick of cleaning out their bath and wasting so much water. I solved the problem by having another bath on a stand half filled with gravel and planted with reeds, taro and vetiver grass. I connected a small circulation pump to the duck bath which pumps the water to the top bath which drains back into the duck bath. The pump is plugged into a cheap timer and comes on for fifteen minutes 4 or 5 times a day. There is a float valve in the duck bath which maintains a minimum level of water in the system. The water remains clean even in summer an smells faintly of the vetiver grass roots (an oil obtained from these is used in some perfumes!) I used the vetiver as I am trying to multiply it for contour planting on my farm.
I have thought of connecting this to an aquaponics system ('Duckponics' - I like it Jez :lol: ) - would also like to run the system with solar power.
My camera is playing up at the moment but I'm hoping to get some pictures of the system.
Hope this helps - regards - Andrew
Great work Andrew. 8)
How does the taro fare with those nitrogen levels?
If it's going well, do you suspect that your guild with the reeds and vg is helping to buffer and temper the nitrogen levels? What sort of ratio do you currently have for each of the three?
Do the ducks and geese free-range, or to you give them a bit of supplemental feeding besides scraps?
29-07-2007, 08:38 PM
My son has two ducks and we use an old kiddie pool the clam shell sort we fill it once a week , they love it. i then just syphon it off on to the garden or tip it out easily by hand. We then scrub it with an old broom rinse and fill it up again. I do give the ducks a small bucket of fresh drinking water daily as well.
I like the sound of the reed bed system. Do these reeds grow in cold areas too. kathyatkallista
08-08-2007, 02:14 PM
Hey the read bed system is to my mind a nother form of aquaponics..
In the read bed itsfiltering is used to keep waters clean/clear,and growing reeds.... not very tasty me thinks..
Using Aquaponics and growing vegies,or herbs etc, allows a person to eat or find a use from the filtration..
I think vegies taste far better then reeds......
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