10 Years
Sep 1, 2009
Big Clifty
I have been researching duckweed and found how to grow it, but I do not want to put it in my pond because it will rapidly take over. I do have a kiddie pool and was wondering if anyone know if it will grow in there with just rain water? Everything I read said it has to be pond water with fish in it or have previously had fish in it.

Also, how much do you feed chickens in a day? How do you measure an amount? Can they eat too much?

I am looking for ways to give them great nutrition and offset feed costs. I am going to start my own mealworm farm also
I believe the fish is to help supply nutrients for rapid growth. As long as you add some kind of nutrients I think it would grow fine.
I'm planning kind of the same setup. Yes, you'll have to provide fertillizer for the plants, but I'm sure you have plenty on hand (chicken poop). It will require some experimentation as to how much, how often, but I've read that that's what duckweed farmers use (or any manure available to them). I'm going to try adding goldfish to my plastic pond, which should lessen the need for outside fertilizer. I may have to feed the goldfish, at least at first, so we'll see how that works out. My plans are to feed duckweed every so often to the chickens, then in the late fall also feed them the goldfish. I'm kind of excited about trying this, as they say that duckweed can be up to 45% protein!
I've grown lots of duckweed in kiddie pools. I like to shade the pool a bit on the south and west side as duckweed does better in semi-shade. Watch for overheating your pool water as water temps over 90 degrees slow growth and possibly cause die-off. I've used manure in a small gunny sack (for leaching nutrients slowly). I've also gone the non-organic route and threw in some chemical plant fertilizer. Manure works better but don't use a lot. You can tell if duckweed is healthy by the length of its roots. If longer than an inch, it is stretching out in search of nutrients.
Thanks TamraF for that first-hand knowledge! The partial-shade thing will influence where I place the plastic pond. I also have a water lily (type unknown, it was free on craigslist) that, if it survives the winter in this bucket it's in, I was going to put in the pond also. Any thoughts on doing that?

And did you use the duckweed to feed your chickens? If so, how much, how often? Thanks!
I have not personally fed duckweed to chickens, but did an integrated farming consulting gig in Guyana last year where I saw farmers routinely feed their chickens up to 25% of feedstock with duckweed. (As much as they'll eat, once a day.) They reported better gains and better net return as a result. (Works for ducks as well) This is 25% wet weight. Duckweed is 94% moisture, so your hens aren't getting as much protein as you might think, but it's fresh and a healthy supplement- plus it's free! Email me if you want more info. [email protected] I can send you great directions on how to grow it. (Note: I am headed to Guatemala for a couple weeks on as part of the Masons on a Mission team to build highly efficient wood cooking stoves for Mayan indians. Will respond when I get back. Cheers! Tamra)
Thank you everyone for all of the replies. I was also considering just taking 5 gallon buckets of pond water (I have a pond but don't want it overtaken with duckweed because we like to fish) and just filling up the kiddie pool with that. Would that water have enough nutrients without having to do anything but put the duckweed in there?
I've never grown duckweed on purpose, but I'd think you might want to use a couple buckets of good old swamp muck for a starter. This should give you a nutrient base and some starter microbes to get your little ecosystem started. As for fertilizing, your chickens should provide plenty. You can probably add shavings with their manure to the water. Wouldn't think algae would be a problem. Should make good chicken feed too.

Never thought of feeding duckweed. Good idea! I've got a big slough covered in the stuff on my property. I'll have to skim some feed next summer. I have used misc. aquatic vegetation, mostly millfoil to feed horses and fertilize the garden. Works great! A guy that does millfoil removal for local lakes will drop it off by the truckload when he does jobs in my area.

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