How much water/pond is needed?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by meli229, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. meli229

    meli229 In the Brooder

    Jan 7, 2011
    Santa Rosa
    I'm hoping to add ducks to my homestead next year. Was thinking 3 females.

    Is there a standard ratio of how many gallons of pond water needs to be provided per duck?

    If you have a small flock, I'd love to know how many you have, how big your pond is, and how often it needs to be cleaned/refilled.

    The goal would be to drain the tub/pond though some kind of filter and use the water to water my berries. I've been trolling lots of posts about water re-use, still not exactly sure how to accomplish this yet. Straight though drip would clog the emitters. If you're doing something similar, would love to know how its working!
  2. rjohns39

    rjohns39 Enabler Premium Member

    Aug 20, 2015
    Smith County, TN
    Let me start this reply with the fact that I don't have a clue... The only experiments i've ever done that included a heartbeat was with fish and that turned out to be an abysmal failure. None-the-less, I plan on moving into ducks in the spring and the following link shows what i'm planning for the egg layers. I'm told the meat birds don't need water...

    don't know if it helps, but its certainly neat. Depending on where the wagon is on my property depends on how I'll deal with the water. Worst case is at the bottom of the hill, in which case i'll catch it in an ibc container and move it up. I can put it into my compost pile or spread it on my upper pasture--but will play that by ear. Also, regardless of disposal method, planning on a timed dump valve that is solar powered. 2- 21/2" dump valve with a 5/8" fill valve makes automated cleaning a lot less taxing.

  3. revans2003

    revans2003 Chirping

    Sep 24, 2015
    Allright here we go!

    There is no "formula" for ducks go gallons but use this as a general guideline. The more ducks you have, the faster they will mess up the water. I will let people with kiddie pools go into more detail, but with three ducks you will be emptying a vessel of that capacity twice a day. The more gallons you have, the less you will need to change the water.

    Here is my experience.

    At first I had a 50 gallon pond and two ducks. Without filtering I had to change the water every 2 days at most, daily changes would have likely been better. I then created a sediment filter (among others) that successfully filtered out the duck poop. With that filter and a 55 gallon capacity, I could go about a week before I needed to do a 20% water change.

    Now a word on filters..........the good news is I was doing less water changes, the bad news is I was cleaning the filters every week. This was a win because my intent was to reduce water changes but there was still a fair amount of work, just no wasted water. Now, back to ponds.....................

    Two weeks ago I installed a 185 gallon pond and a large sediment filter. I have yet to require a water change with the two ducks pooping in there 24 hours a day. I created a super huge sediment filter with a large drain so I could easily drain the duck poop with the twist of a valve. Meanwhile, back at the small pond I was unsatisfied with the small setup as the big pond was doing so well. I added 55 gallons of water, through the use of a 55 gallon drum, and copied the sediment filter that I used for the large pond. This brought the capacity of the small pond to 140 gallons and the results have been good so far. I have yet to require a water change on either pond (other than backfilling what the ducks drink and splash out)

    NOW, that said, my intent with the filters was to prevent water waste as I live in Southern California and that objective was achieved. My ponds are not crystal clear but they are clean enough for the ducks and the water coming out of the filter is crystal clear and provides clean drinking water for my fowl friends. I have a catch basin to provide a clean fountain for the ducks so they have a clean source of water. Recently I added four ducklings, but they don't swim much and by extension don't poop in the water.

    So to answer your question..........if you are willing to change out the water 1 - 2 times a day then a small kiddie pool or 20-30 gallons will serve you fine. For a bit more money (not much) you can create a sediment filter on a small pond (50 - 70 gallons) that you will have to change the water weekly.

    P.S. The drain in my filters takes the liquid fertilizer directly to my plants and trees so it is not wasted.
  4. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    When my ducks are penned almost 24/7 unless we are out with them, they have a small kiddie pool. It gets changed on every 3rd day, sometimes every other in the super heat of the summer (coastal AL).
    When they are free range during the day and not confined to their pen, they have access to their ~1000 gallon pond. I have a ~75 gallon filter set up. Last time the pond and filter were cleaned was 1.5 years after the last cleaning. The filter box was unbelievably disgusting, but the filter gets nasty anyway.
    I had 5 ducks until this summer and now we are down to 4.

    The water is green and there is plenty of sand and poop on the bottom, but they ducks float and unless they go totally nuts, they don't stir it up. Hasn't been an issue for us, but my goal isn't water where I can see the bottom of the pond every day either.
  5. meli229

    meli229 In the Brooder

    Jan 7, 2011
    Santa Rosa
    Thanks so much for your info! I'm in NorCal, so I've got the same drought situation. Partial water change sounds exactly like what I'm wanting to do.

    When you drain the filter, does it just free flow on to your garden? Hose? Drip somehow?

    Can you briefly explain to what the sediment filter is like?

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
  6. revans2003

    revans2003 Chirping

    Sep 24, 2015

    The sediment filter looks like this


    Water exits the manifold and gently swirls upward to the output. The concept is that the sediment (duck poop, dirt, sand) will fall to the bottom as it is heavier than the water. Flow rate is important here as you want just enough GPH to create a nice waterfall but not too much or you will stir up the sediment and the output water will be dirty.

    The drain looks like this


    Obviously I put a pipe with a valve in, but when I open the valve, gravity flushes the sediment out where it dumps into my garden beds. The sediment settles right at the drain so I am only flushing out the minimum amount of water required to keep the pond and filter clean.
  7. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chirping

    Jul 20, 2015
    New England USA
    Ducks love water and they'll enjoy as much or as little as you want to provide them.

    I have four ducks. They have 70 gallons in a stock pond in their pen and a water pan that is deep enough to submerge their nares. They swim in the 70 gallon tank and play duck games & drink out of the other pan.

    In the duck yard I have a small doggie pool that probably holds about 10 gallons of water. They dabble greens play duck games and drink out of it. THey cant really swim in this one because it just isn't deep enough. It's about as tall as their legs :)

    I hand pump and replace at least half of the water in the stock tank each week. I use the water to improve my soil and water trees, orchards etc.

    If you are considering a prefab stock tank I;d recommend a tank that is longer than it is tall. The 70 gallon tank I have is tall and not very long. I got it because it was deeply discounted. But first thing this spring i;'m replacing it with a shallow long tank. I think a longer tank would give my ducks more room to enjoy it.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015

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