Keeping My Pond Open

MGG

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Enclosed like inside a shed or greenhouse, even temporarily, it is to cut down the wind chill.
That makes sense.
I don't think I can do that with how my pen is laid out though.
 

MGG

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It's kind of a mess because it stormed this morning.
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Here you can see the cap for the valve. It just has a little handle inside that can be pulled to drain it. The actual drain is right about where that light brown area is in the water. I have to drain the pond again soon.
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Here you can see the ditch out by the road that it drains to. The water comes out in the ditch just to the right of where the big door hooks to the post, in the shadow of that tree.
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The pop doors. They're all closed because the birds are inside. I was worming them all.
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Inside the shed.
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This is the little pen I'm thinking about insulating some.
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MGG

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Popsikle

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Ok, to be blunt here, you are not going to have a functional pond in the spring if you try and keep water in it this winter. I may be new to chickens, but I've been an avid fish keeper for almost 3 decades. I've had my hands in quite a few ponds over that timeframe.

At a foot deep, you are what 3 ft above the frost line? If the bottom 6 inches (at a minimum) is below the frost line you can drop a pond air stone in the winter which will move the water around enough to not burst that pvc but you won't be able to keep the pond usable for any surface dwellers. You might as well just drain it at that point.

If you really want to keep this pond open for business in the winter it's going to get pricey but there are a few options, none of them real easy.

You can build an insulated structure around the pond, that covers the entire pond plus the ground distance surrounding it that is your frost line (so for a 12x8 pond with a 4 ft frost line you need a 20x16 structure). In the structure you will need a proper sized heater to keep the air at 36 degrees or warmer.

You can invest in a ground loop heating system for under the pond. Basically build a heated floor under it, set the temp to 40 and feed the heater natural gas all winter. I do this in my barn/garage but isn't cheap to install or to run all winter.

You could do geothermal as well for your pond. Best bet would be a closed loop system that runs through the pond but there are other options. This is really pricey to install but less pricey to operate as its basically a water pump running 24/7.

One thing we don't consider when keeping fish is using salt to lower the freezing temperature of the water. Salt water freezes at something like 28 degrees but I don't know anything about keeping birds and salt water.

Edit:
Just looked at the pics, didn't see em the first time. Do you have room in that shed for a small pond inside? A rubber made stock tank works pretty well indoors and they are built well enough to keep some standard fish tank heaters in there. You would need to find the heaters that are meant for cold water aquariums that can be set at like 50 but if you are insulting the shed and already have power out there it might be the best option.
 
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saysfaa

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Your frost line has got to be deeper than your pond, which will help for a while and then hurt. I assume the sides and bottom are not insulated? Keeping that thawed with electric heaters in a climate like that is going to be insanely expensive. An aerator will make a very cool looking ice fountain.

Running water continuously will keep at least the current area thawed for a while if you have enough water pressure but you have to think about the discharge end, it will freeze at some point after it comes out of the pipe which will cause an ice dam which will back up where it will freeze. The discharge also makes a flood when it thaws - bad in the spring, worse if you get a January thaw. If the pipe freezes - just don't let that happen.

You can try insulating the top with floating insulation panels - that is how we keep stock tanks from freezing completely a little longer. That will defeat the purpose of open water for the ducks. And the chickens tend to eat insulation. And won't help much after the ground freezes

nevermind, popsickle has better info
 

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Alaskan

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Our winters are cold, we usually have snow from the end of October through late April, and frequently dip into the negatives. It is not uncommon to get down to -30 or so. We also get a lot of snow.
At those temps (below 0F) you can NOT let them bathe.

They will splash out water that will freeze instantly and incase them in ice, or freeze their feet to the ice, or just chill them so much they can't move.

Bad stuff like that can happen at warmer temps too. I almost lost a duck when she got out of her pen and swam on the icy pond. Temps were maybe high 30s since the pond was melting, but that water was still very cold and full of ice.

Watch the temps, whenever the high is at least 10F (WITHOUT any wind, so a nice still day), you can bring out a bit of water for them to bathe. Keep it out only an hour or so then dump it out so they have plenty of time to dry before the temps start to plummet at night.

Yes, they might get a bit bedraggled looking, but that is way better than dead or feet lost to frostbite.




My shed is not insulated or heated. I plan on trying to run a heat lamp or two when it gets colder, and I think that will help.
I really am not fond of heat lamps. A cold gust of air can make them break sending hot shards of glass all through your bedding.

There are safer ways to heat. Animal rated heating pads, radiant heat panels, etc.



I thought about insulating the smallest inside pen.

Not sure how that would help, that building looks pretty closed up. I didn't see any ventilation, I need to look at the photos again. Even at super cold temps they need lots of ventilation.

An area in their run that is roofed and has some fogged windows, ripple plastic, or opaque shower curtains to block wind would be great. Then they can sunbathe out of the wind.



I also am thinking about drilling some small holes in the floor for drainage, putting down a few of those rubber stall mats with the holes in them,

At start of winter I put the water tub on a wood pallet, which has pretty big spaces between the slats. It doesn't take long for the pallet to become encased in ice.

I can't imagine little holes staying open in winter.

In super cold I switch to a small but deep pot, so it is impossible to splash out water to make ice, but they can still dunk their heads.

If you use heated dog water bowls you might need to 1. Rig up a way to cover about half the surface area so the ducks don't splash in the water, and 2. Bring out a deep pot of water once a day and make sure all ducks dunk their heads.


There is a big net stretched over the top of the pen,
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I do not know if you have high humidity or low humidity snow.

With low humidity snow it doesn't stick to anything (so people tell me :idunno ). I live on the coast and have high humidity. The snow at my place sticks to nets and then tears it all down. Snow will stick even to super slick nylon net.

You can wait and see.... but plan for if the snow tears it all down.

Or take down the net now, and put it up next spring.

You could make a smaller roofed yard area that the animals can use in the winter.

Yeah.... I know, sucks.
 

WVduckchick

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I just let mine freeze over, then they walk on the ice and noodle in it, causing little spots to thaw, and they enjoy playing in it. They only get to swim in small containers that I can dump and refill. (I use a few cat-litter boxes). But my winters don’t get as cold as yours. We get below freezing often, but days usually warm up above freezing. Days below zero are especially rare.

My drain lines are deeper also, but chances are that your short piece will bust and need replaced in the spring. I suppose you could drain it and leave it empty, and they could just play in the snow. :p
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