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Pond heaters

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Dancinbaer, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. Dancinbaer

    Dancinbaer Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2013
    Northeast Wisconsin
    Anyone in Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc. have a small pond for their ducks? Do you use a pond heater to keep it open during our freezing winters? Our pond is roughly 10'x6'x24in deep, approximately 650 gallons. So far the waterfall has kept running but the pond itself is freezing over. What brand heater do you have? Thanks.
     
  2. Fawn and Fam

    Fawn and Fam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2013
    I'm in Michigan & would love to know the answer to this question too [​IMG]
     
  3. Dancinbaer

    Dancinbaer Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2013
    Northeast Wisconsin
    I went ahead and bought a "pond heater" and soon found out it is NOT what I wanted. In spite of the salesperson explaining to me exactly how it works, I forked out $70 and found out for myself.

    A pond heater simply keeps a small opening in the ice for gases to escape. What gases you ask. Gases given off by decaying stuff in the pond. When the pond ices over theses gases have no where to go. If you have fish in the pond, the gases are not good for them. The heater I got is about 12" in diameter with about a 4" hole in the middle. The water around the outside of the heater actually freezes. The water under the heater does not. The gases escape out the 4" hole in the middle.

    When I told the salesperson why I needed the heater, he suggested I get a stock tank heater instead. The difference is the stock tank heater actually heats the water and therefore the water will not freeze. Though much cheaper than a pond heater, the cost to run is much greater.

    Our ducks are simply going without the pond this winter. As others have suggested I installed a heated dog dish in their run. It is raised on a couple patio blocks. As another member suggested I use small buckets placed inside the dish for the water. The buckets stop the ducks from climbing in the dish and provide deeper water for them to stick their head in. I bought a 1/2 gallon paint mixing bucket from Menards ($1.50) and found a 1/2 gallon ice cream bucket works as well.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Fawn and Fam

    Fawn and Fam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2013
    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  5. 3FordFamily

    3FordFamily Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 13, 2013
    Fishers, IN
    I have kept ducks outside on ponds for about 15 years. The most inexpensive and effective way to keep them happy in the winter (to prevent ponds freezing) is to use a large pump to continually move water. Moving water won't freeze-- which is why ducks that fly winter on rivers.

    What I have done in the past, is install a 1/2HP+ Sump Pump (pick a good brand, one that is durable and tough don't go cheap or you'll be taking it out every few weeks to clean gunk off when it stops working) and then not installing the float so it runs all the time. I mount it on a large concrete brick with wire, push it out as far as I can with a metal rod, etc.

    You need one small piece of PVC to mount that you want just a few inches above the water line (where the water comes out) it works as a small fountain. Total cost $250 - $300 to do correctly.

    They also sell large marina de-icers that are used to keep marina from freezing. They move lots of water but are very expensive.
     
  6. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    I have only had ducks continually this time scents 1997 and I do need to agree with 3FordFamily
    X2 moving water is the way to go and if it is freezing moving water it is very cold or you can
    put a tub in some kind of enclosure ......


    gander007 [​IMG]
     
  7. 3FordFamily

    3FordFamily Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 13, 2013
    Fishers, IN
    It is weird, even when it is 10 or 20 below in January my birds stay on the water. They sleep with their bill under their wings and just float. I keep them fat and just sit in amazement.

    Perhaps all the perfectly placed down works well! I do notice they trade off feet to swim; they tuck one or both in to their down and just hang out. It's pretty amazing that they stay so warm and even prefer to sit on the water. The ponds my ducks live on are pretty large, (retention ponds) but they could easily sleep on land near the water as they do all spring-fall. Nope. Winter time is water time.

    My geese do tend to sleep on land occasionally, however.
     
  8. Dancinbaer

    Dancinbaer Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2013
    Northeast Wisconsin
    I tried the moving water theory by disconnecting the waterfall pump, adding some pipe and pointing it directly into the pond. Worked for awhile until the temps got into the single digits. The pond (roughly 10'x6'x24" deep) froze over. As we know solid water does not flow so there was less water getting into the skimmer box and the pump started sucking air. I figure our pond is so small if I put the pump in the middle there won't be much room for the ducks So it's shut off for now. If a warm day happens, and my ambition is there, I may bust up the ice and relocate the pump just to see what happens.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!
     

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