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Will adding Muscovy ducks to a one acre pond harm the fish?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
We have a one acre pond in front of our house. The previous owner was an avid fishermen, and stocked it with all kinds of local fish. Everything from bluegills, to sunfish, to large and small mouth bass, to crappie, to grass carp, to blue and channel catfish. We have seen babies and juveniles of most of these, and the pond was last stocked 10 years ago, and so we know that they are breeding and so must be doing overall quite well. The pond is spring-fed, and is also fed with the run-off from the pasture above when it rains. In the very worst of droughts it will get down to 5 feet deep in the middle, but it mostly stays around 8 feet deep in the middle.

I would really love to get some Muscovy ducks for our pond, the pond is just so dull without waterfowl. However DH is concerned that the ducks will harm the fish population, both by polluting the water with their manure and by eating some of the fish. Are either or both of these a real concern? How many ducks (i.e. duck poop) could a pond this size support, without negatively affecting the fish? And how avidly would the ducks hunt and eat fish if there is lots of cricket and grasshopper rich grass and clover surrounding the pond? I would really love some waterfowl on the pond, but not at the expense of the fish.

Thank you to everyone willing to share their thoughts, I have learned a lot from this site! smile.png
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzHpYyB_F3U

Currently 30 guineas & 49 chickens. Australorp, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Easter Egger, Dark Cornish, Brown Leghorn, & American Gamefowl.

Raising 100% Grass-Fed Black Angus beef in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. No grain, GMOs, antibiotics, or hormones. Lots of green grass and sunshine, the way beef is supposed to be raised.

www.seaagri.com
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www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzHpYyB_F3U

Currently 30 guineas & 49 chickens. Australorp, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Easter Egger, Dark Cornish, Brown Leghorn, & American Gamefowl.

Raising 100% Grass-Fed Black Angus beef in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. No grain, GMOs, antibiotics, or hormones. Lots of green grass and sunshine, the way beef is supposed to be raised.

www.seaagri.com
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post #2 of 9

Waterfowl on open water are a lovely sight, that's for sure!

 

If it were me, I would spend my efforts attracting wild waterfowl to the pond, and here's why.

 

If you get domestic Muscovies that either were raised by people or get ducklings that you raise, they won't be savvy to making it on their own.  Ponds attract more than waterfowl - they are superb hunting grounds for all kinds of predators.  And I would feel responsible for keeping human-raised ducks safe.  I feel it's kind of a contract with them - I don't know how else to put it - that they are under my care.

 

So that would mean feeding them, sheltering them at least at night from predators, and so on.

 

Muscovies come from the southern part of the continent, and really need good shelter in the winter, as their caruncles (the red stuff on their heads) get frostbite.

 

If you look into how to attract wild waterfowl to your pond, you would get nature-savvy birds local to the area who would have better instincts and abilities to get out of the way of trouble (mostly - many ducklings and adult ducks get killed).  You would likely get a nice variety of types of waterfowl, too.

 

You might be able to contact wildlife rehabbers and see if they have any fowl to release, and offer your pond.

 

On an acre, with a spring-fed and runoff-fed pond, you could have a nice size flock - and you are right - their manure could get to be too much for the welfare of the fish.

 

I don't know if it's a myth, but I have been told that large mouth bass will eat ducklings.

Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Amiga. smile.png

Re-reading my last message, I realized I wasn't very clear. Yes, I am planning to give them a coop and some feed. They will have names, shelter, and feed. I really want some Muscovy ducks anyway, and really the question is whether I can plan on keeping them on the pond, or do I need to keep them penned away from the pond, for the well-being of the fish. Basically, where to build their coop.

As for flock size, I am thinking a male and two females to start. But from what I've read of their maternal qualities, the flock will likely swell to 20+ birds at times, before being remedied by rehoming and/or freezer camp. Is this too many birds (i.e. duck poop) for the fish in this size pond?

As for predators, we have Pyrenees LGD dogs for our goat herd, and they and the goats are frequently in the pasture surrounding the pond, leaving the big dog scent even after they've been moved to a different pasture. The pond is also near the middle of our farm, and it's all open pasture around it, with only the occasional tree, no woods for a good 1000 feet or more. I am guessing that, with a coop at night, the only real predators will be aquatic; large fish and snapping turtles could likely be a real threat for young ducklings in the water.

I welcome any and all thoughts and opinions. smile.png
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzHpYyB_F3U

Currently 30 guineas & 49 chickens. Australorp, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Easter Egger, Dark Cornish, Brown Leghorn, & American Gamefowl.

Raising 100% Grass-Fed Black Angus beef in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. No grain, GMOs, antibiotics, or hormones. Lots of green grass and sunshine, the way beef is supposed to be raised.

www.seaagri.com
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www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzHpYyB_F3U

Currently 30 guineas & 49 chickens. Australorp, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Easter Egger, Dark Cornish, Brown Leghorn, & American Gamefowl.

Raising 100% Grass-Fed Black Angus beef in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. No grain, GMOs, antibiotics, or hormones. Lots of green grass and sunshine, the way beef is supposed to be raised.

www.seaagri.com
Reply
post #4 of 9

Your plan sounds really good.  Muscovies are different from the Mallard-derived domestics in a number of ways, so I suspect they'd be best adapted to what you are planning.  Good to hear you have LGDs.  If our place weren't so small…. in the meantime, I am the LGA.

 

Anyway,

 

I doubt that a couple of dozen Muscovies would foul the pond very quickly, if it's an acre.  But they will be adding nutrient over time, and that speeds the eutrophication process up (plant material growing, and beginning to fill in the pond).  

 

@Going Quackers has Muscovies in a more open area, she may be able to give some real-life insights.

Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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post #5 of 9
Definitely check your pond for snapping turtles if that's a concern. They could possibly injure your adults as well as making a snack of any baby ducklings swimming around. Large mouth Bass can also get big enough over time to eat ducklings, can you determine the average size of the fish in the pond. There are also presumably plenty of hiding places below the surface for small fish to hide, the ducks may make a good snack of some but an acre pond is alot of ground to cover. I feed my mallards goldfish as treats. smile.png The amount of space there sounds amazing, those will be some lucky ducks once it's all set up. As for poop it should take some time before your flock is large enough to add copious amounts to the pond and with a healthy eco system already in place it should take even longer, just keep an eye on the quality of the water and surrounding flora as you're flock grows.
Best of luck in this new endeavour.
Attimus

live grow and learn.

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live grow and learn.

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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Glad to hear you think Muscovies would be a good choice, that is what I arrived at after doing some research.

Sounds like I'll just need to be really careful not to let the flock size get too big. I hadn't thought of the filling-in-the-pond factor. Eek. Something to think about. Someone did once tell me that duck poop helps to seal a pond, preventing leaks and seepage. Does anyone know if this is true?

Our pond does have several red-eared slider turtles, and the occasional snapper. We've shot several snappers over the years, for animal safety reasons, but would definitely hunt them out harder should we get waterfowl. However we've been rather nice to the red-eared sliders because my brothers and I kept some as pets when we were kids, so I have some attachment to them. And they're much prettier than the snappers. They and their mouths are also much smaller than the snappers, does anyone know how much of a threat they are to ducklings? The biggest one I've seen was about 10", most are 5-7."

Fish-wise, the bass aren't huge, the biggest we've caught is 15", most are under 12". Many of the catfish and grass carp have been over 2' long though. How quickly would the ducklings grow? I'm wondering if I set a mesh cage in the water, attached to a pen and house on the bank, if that would give the babies and their momma a fish and turtle free place to swim for the first couple weeks or so?

As far as the ducks hunting and eating fish, maybe I can try putting some tree tops in the pond for cover, perhaps that would make a big difference.

Thank you to both of you, lots to think about! smile.png
Edited by Cowgirl71 - 1/24/16 at 12:30pm
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzHpYyB_F3U

Currently 30 guineas & 49 chickens. Australorp, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Easter Egger, Dark Cornish, Brown Leghorn, & American Gamefowl.

Raising 100% Grass-Fed Black Angus beef in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. No grain, GMOs, antibiotics, or hormones. Lots of green grass and sunshine, the way beef is supposed to be raised.

www.seaagri.com
Reply
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzHpYyB_F3U

Currently 30 guineas & 49 chickens. Australorp, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Easter Egger, Dark Cornish, Brown Leghorn, & American Gamefowl.

Raising 100% Grass-Fed Black Angus beef in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. No grain, GMOs, antibiotics, or hormones. Lots of green grass and sunshine, the way beef is supposed to be raised.

www.seaagri.com
Reply
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowgirl71 View Post

Glad to hear you think Muscovies would be a good choice, that is what I arrived at after doing some research.

Sounds like I'll just need to be really careful not to let the flock size get too big. I hadn't thought of the filling-in-the-pond factor. Eek. Something to think about. Someone did once tell me that duck poop helps to seal a pond, preventing leaks and seepage. Does anyone know if this is true?

Our pond does have several red-eared slider turtles, and the occasional snapper. We've shot several snappers over the years, for animal safety reasons, but would definitely hunt them out harder should we get waterfowl. However we've been rather nice to the red-eared sliders because my brothers and I kept some as pets when we were kids, so I have some attachment to them. And they're much prettier than the snappers. They and their mouths are also much smaller than the snappers, does anyone know how much of a threat they are to ducklings? The biggest one I've seen was about 10", most are 5-7."

Fish-wise, the bass aren't huge, the biggest we've caught is 15", most are under 12". Many of the catfish and grass carp have been over 2' long though. How quickly would the ducklings grow? I'm wondering if I set a mesh cage in the water, attached to a pen and house on the bank, if that would give the babies and their momma a fish and turtle free place to swim for the first couple weeks or so?

As far as the ducks hunting and eating fish, maybe I can try putting some tree tops in the pond for cover, perhaps that would make a big difference.

Thank you to both of you, lots to think about! smile.png

As far as I know, protect those sliders - I don't think they are any threat to ducks or ducklings.

 

Ducklings grow surprisingly fast, but it takes a good two months or more - ask @Miss Lydia about that - for them to get feathered in.

 

Treetops sound good.  You might consider - while they are young - setting fence into a shallow section of the pond to keep the littles nearby.

Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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post #8 of 9
I love sliders, I have a yellow bellied slider in a tank in the house. Be diligent with the snappers that can become a potential issue.
The poop will act as a barrier eventually, I recent dugout and concreted a pond for my ducks, didn't use a sealer, and after a while of extended use any small cracks were filled in and water loss has diminished. Even after draining and spraying it out from top to bottom the other day, its still holding fine, seems it really gets in the deep pores.
I'd be concerned with the catfish if they are two feet that's a pretty big mouth lol and catfish just keep growing, setting up a penned area including a portion of the water might not be a bad idea until the ducklings can reach a decent size.
Attimus

live grow and learn.

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live grow and learn.

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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Glad to hear the sliders shouldn't be an issue! I will definitely try to step it up on the snapper control this year. The thought of ducks and ducklings being severely injured/maimed is gut-wrenching.

I am at least somewhat concerned about the larger fish. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Penning up the momma and babies can always be plan B.

Thanks to both of you for all your input! smile.png
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzHpYyB_F3U

Currently 30 guineas & 49 chickens. Australorp, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Easter Egger, Dark Cornish, Brown Leghorn, & American Gamefowl.

Raising 100% Grass-Fed Black Angus beef in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. No grain, GMOs, antibiotics, or hormones. Lots of green grass and sunshine, the way beef is supposed to be raised.

www.seaagri.com
Reply
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzHpYyB_F3U

Currently 30 guineas & 49 chickens. Australorp, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Easter Egger, Dark Cornish, Brown Leghorn, & American Gamefowl.

Raising 100% Grass-Fed Black Angus beef in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. No grain, GMOs, antibiotics, or hormones. Lots of green grass and sunshine, the way beef is supposed to be raised.

www.seaagri.com
Reply
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