backyard ponds - mixed use

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by WadeMD, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. WadeMD

    WadeMD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2009
    near Frederick, MD
    I am considering building a pond in my backyard in addition to the large garden and duck pen. I am curious to know if anyone has tried doing a pond with a pond liner? Any suggestions?

    I figure that duck toe nails might be brutal against a pond liner, so I am not sure if the idea will even fly. I was thinking of a pond about 10-15' wide and naturally shaped (ie- no squares or circles). I would include a ramp for ducks to waddle out on, but have the remaining sides fairly steep. An alternative would be to build in a wooden ramp and make the sides vertical so that no duckfeet could hit the liner. About 2' average depth, 3.5' in the center. I would also build in a drain (not an easy task with a liner for sure) so that I could mass flush it once per year or every other for cleaning purposes.

    Also, would it even be possible to maintain any pond plants with the ducks entering it maybe once per day for an hour or so (10 ducks)? Would anything survive?

    I've been searching and just can't find much information about combining ducks with ponds (except for pre-fabricated types or real ones).

    Cheers,
     
  2. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    I used a pond liner and haven't had any problems so far with the ducks hurting it. My gander likes to pull on the liner with his beak and he hasn't damaged it either. I don't think you're going to have much luck with plants unless you can set it up so the ducks cannot get at them.

    Here are my two threads on our pond. They have more info than what you are looking for, but maybe they can help you a bit. I'm waiting till warmer weather to finish mine. The first thread also has duckling photos, just scroll through it.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=2613307
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=249835
     
  3. WadeMD

    WadeMD Chillin' With My Peeps

    154
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    109
    Dec 16, 2009
    near Frederick, MD
    Excellent, wonder why those didn't show up when I searched earlier. Thanks for the links.

    I've had and run a small sideline business installing large aquariums, so the filtration and plumbing side of things I can handle. I am glad to see some of the issues you had with the clay and sloped yard (I have both of those here in MD too). I was thinking about either doing a deck, flush with the edge of the pond or mulching heavily around it to keep as much muck out as possible, but I guess I didn't realize just how much would wind up inside. Do your ducks have constant access to the pond?

    Perhaps my idea of a deck all around and vertical sides is best. That'll prevent mud from running into the pond and help keep duckfeet clean when they hop in and out repeatedly. I also plan on putting in a valved pipe that'll suction water from the deepest point in the pond. Then I can bypass some of the buildup on a weekly basis and just top up the system.

    I am still going to keep a small (50g) tank in their pen for normal use (I imagine I'll have to clean that almost constantly) that will drain into the veggie garden. Hopefully I won't cause any nitrogen burn there. The main pond would be for "outings" when I let them out supervised each day or so.

    Anyone else have any input or "issues" that have come up with ponds (esp those with liners)?
     
  4. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    Mine have constant access to the pond. I like your idea of a deck flush with the pond. Make sure to give a way for the ducks to get out too, like a ramp, or steps.
    The clay works great for the actual molding of the pond. I used a spray bottle to mist and shape the bottom bits of the pond, and the clay came in handy for the sides... i.e keeping them up before the water was added.
    Can you show me a picture or diagram of the valved pipe for suction? I'm having a hard time getting my brain around it.
    And make sure when you're rinsing off the deck to spray away from the pond [​IMG]
     
  5. WadeMD

    WadeMD Chillin' With My Peeps

    154
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    109
    Dec 16, 2009
    near Frederick, MD
    Sorry, this is big and not cropped, but I drew it fast and took a pic with my cell phone...

    [​IMG]

    Option 1 - Drain above the water line. This prevents leaks from occurring in the liner/side of the pond. However, it only works when the pipe fills with water. Once a suction begins, it will continue until there is no water left in the pond (or until you shut off the valve). With the valve in place, it should retain water in the pipe after the first use and work just by turning the valve. To prime the line, it would likely be easiest to use a garden hose with high pressure and attempt to fill the pipe with enough water to remove most of the air in the top of the "U" turn - once that occurs, release the pressure and it goes. Another option is to use a pump inside the pond aimed into the pipe to prime.

    Option 2 - This will always drain the pond just by turning the valve. No priming necessary, however, keeping it from leaking might be a task unto itself. Using a flat board outside of the pond liner with a bulkhead (sold through aquarium stores, and many hardware stores) through it and the liner should work.

    Some items to note:
    -You must make sure you secure the plumbing so it doesn't wiggle/move. That can easily cause breakage and failure or leaking around bulkhead. This includes inside and outside the pond.
    -The internal pipe needs to end aiming straight down with a gap of ~1/2 to 1" between it and the bottom of the pond. This will force any debris/muck to be pulled into the pipe along with the water and hopefully prevent stirring/mixing into the water column as other methods of cleaning would.
    -All joints must be tight, with no ability for them to pull in air or water. Having loose fittings will break the suction.
    -The internal pipe should probably be protected. The suction (depending on the size of the pipe used) can be very strong and would injure duck legs/feet. They make strainer baskets that would work very well for that purpose, although they might clog if the basket holes are too small.

    Hope that helps...
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  6. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    Excellent drawings, thank you very much! I'm thinking I have way too much muck for either to work... my pond is too small for the amount of waterfowl on it. I may make a muck vac though using the same principle as option one.
     

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