Can I use a small natural spring fed pond for ducks?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by jaredwanders, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. jaredwanders

    jaredwanders Hatching

    Sep 8, 2016
    I have 6 Khaki Campbell's living in my backyard. Their run includes access to a small spring that feeds a creek that originates on the property, as I thought they would enjoy poking around in the mud for insects and eating the watercress that grows around and in it. Turns out, they seem to enjoy that far too much, as now they have expanded the spring into a 10' wide 6"-12" deep muddy wading pool. It is still flowing pretty well into the creek, which runs year round and is fed solely by this spring. I now realize that it was short-sighted to believe I could allow them access to it without creating a mud/muck/poop pool. As of yet, no algae has formed but they also haven't had access to the spring/pond for very long.

    My question is is there anyway that I can continue to give them access to this "pond" without it becoming toxic? I also have a kiddie pool, but they seem to pay it no attention while they have access to the mud pond. I would hate to cut them off from their favorite food supply, but I also do not want any of them getting sick. I understand that it is generally considered unfeasible to filter a small duck pond, and that it can be very difficult to create a self regulating system using aquatic plants and bacteria in a small pond. I also considered pumping the pond out every once in a while into my garden beds and subsequently shoveling the manure by hand.

    I greatly appreciate anyone's thought and advice,
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    What do you thing wild ducks do? They use rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, swamps, marsh, anywhere they can get water. Many if not most farm ponds are stagnant water, the only time they water gets refreshed at all is when it rains hard enough to wash water into it. A fair amount of the water wild animals and even farm animals use is somewhat stagnant, especially at the end of a dry summer. If you could see some of these farm ponds used by cattle, horses, chickens, ducks, and other animals I think you would be a lot less concerned. You have a spring-fed pool, that water is constantly being refreshed. It will not become toxic. Ducks do make a mess though.

    If you fence off the spring-fed pool they will they will probably use the stream running out of the pool. Ducks really like water.

    If you want you could fence off the spring and create a special pool for them. Dig a pond or pool a little to the side of the spring or stream and fence off the other water so they can’t get to it. Dig your pond to the side and pipe water into the head of your pond from the pool. Use gravity, just set a pipe in the water that stays below the surface in the pool. Have an outlet at the foot of your pond that pipes water back to the stream below the inlet. That should keep water constantly flowing through it and protect the spring. It will keep the water in the stream a little cleaner. You might need a lot of fence to keep them from using the other water though. I personally don’t think it is worth the effort or cost and I am not at all worried about the water with a constant resupply of water becoming toxic.

    Edited to add: Since ducks fly so well, you may need to clip wings to keep them from flying over a fence if you try that. .
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  3. jaredwanders

    jaredwanders Hatching

    Sep 8, 2016
    Thanks Ridgerunner, I appreciate you thoughts. I had hoped this to be the case. As I do not intend to use the spring for anything else and the creek is actually over the property line, I will just keep it as it is and attempt to shovel it out every one in a while. Maybe plant some water lillies to counter the added nitrogen and add beneficial microbes to break down any rotting waste. Thanks for your quick response as well!
  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Crossing the Road

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    I agree with Ridgerunners' answer. I think you have an Ideal situation with that small pond. If it was my pond, I would dig it out deeper and create more volume of water. This way maybe the deeper water would create a swimming environment rather than a wading one which also creates muddy churned up water. Post some pictures of the pond.

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