Questions about making a duck pond.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by can you hear me now?, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. I intend to build a decent sized little pond for our ducks this spring. I will make my own liners and all that jazz. I know ducks are dirty animals in their water. My questions start with this: If I make this pond deep enough, it probably will be anyway, would intorducing fish that are bottom feeders like plecosthemus and others like that be sufficient in cleaning the duck feces in the pond? Has anyone tried this? Another question is how many square feet should I use if anyone would know this. I have a valley picked out not too far from our house and this pond is going to be made from an earth backdrop that I will have to put in but i want to make sure that I use enough room to make it big enough for at least a dozen or maybe 2 dozen birds.

  2. eggybritches

    eggybritches Songster

    Sep 12, 2009
    Central Florida
    I have a 20 gallon bin I keep in my duck coop that I have to clean every day because it is muddy brown with poo. Even if your ducks didn't eat the fish, you would have to fill it all the way to the top with fish just to get them to eat all the poop.
  3. kysilkies

    kysilkies Songster

    May 3, 2009
    Elizabethtown, KY
    Does that mean you have to clean out your duck pond at some interval?...We're also formulating our plan for a small pond(we have 4 2wk old Muscovies and 10 Khaki Campbell eggs in bator), all info will be appreciated!...
  4. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    The ducks might eat the fish. [​IMG]
  5. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

  6. rAZinBaBEEZ

    rAZinBaBEEZ Hatching

    Nov 4, 2009
    York PA
    Hello. This is long, but I will be very honest with you.

    I have approx. 1000 gal pond. In the middle is about 5 ft deep. I have had this pond for 5 years and this is the 1st year with ducks. I can tell you from experience that having ducks in your pond is going to be alot of work, but plan ahead and it will be a little easier. Before I had ducks, my fish were happy campers and my water was pretty easy to manage. This season alone has brought problems in relation to the water clarity and fluxuation in ph / nitrates and Phosphates. I have 3 mallards and it is a task to keep my pond and fish happy.
    1. Make sure that you have a way of cleaning the bottom of your pond. I do not mean adding fish that live on the bottom and eat normal algae. I am talking either a way of bottom drainage or investing in a vacumn to suck up the duck poo that is going to lay down their and mess up your eco system.
    2. Be ready to invest $$ in products to lower your PH, nitrate levels, Almonia levels, and Phosphate levels. It does not matter how clean you keep the bottom of the pond, this is the urine and poo that come from the ducks that make up the matter in the water.
    3. If your fish are small - your ducks will go after them to eat them, but if the fish can survive until they are bigger ( mine are no smaller than 8 inches long) the ducks seem to leave them alone.
    4. You have to keep your pond running 365 days a year, since it will be important to keep the pond clean during the winter months.
    5. You will have to invest or make a large filter system to handle all the waste from the ducks. I made a bio-logical filter, 3 times the normal size for this type and size pond. I have very fine filters ( purchased from a craft store, used to make baby crib bumpers) and I change these at least once a day, on the weekends I do it 2 or 3 times a day. Once a month, I clean the media and add more microbelift to the system

    I have learned alot this season, and use to believe that you could have fish and ducks live together, but I am telling you, if you do not have the $$$ to invest in chemicals to treat your pond, to keep your water within range, so your fish can breath, DO NOT INVEST IN FISH ! ! ! make it a duck pond, where you won't have to invest in expensive chemicals to keep the fish alive. I am now investing in an airator system, because I cannot get my phoshate level to drop at all. This size pond, I might be looking at $300-500. I love my fish, and I love my ducks, but at some time ( here real soon) I am going to have to get rid of my fish.
    I do alot of reserch on the net, trying to find ways to beat this problem that we get when we put ducks in water with anything that wants to live.... If you have alot of money, then you can pretty much do anything. If your funds are on a budget, take some good advice and do a duck pond with no other living creature.

    Best of luck.
  7. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    I have a feeder fish that somehow escaped from the ducks and is now about 6" long. Not sure how he survived...LOL

    My pond is now crystal clear since the ducks are no longer in it. [​IMG] A hawk found our yard so they have to use a kiddie pool in a covered run instead of playing in the pond like they used to. Only now am I intentionally considering raising fish it it. With the ducks in it? No way!

    I need to update my pond thread but one thing I have learned is that you can not possible overestimate the need for filtering. I was using one large biofilter and 2 growing trays. That kept up OK until the plants growing in the tray started to wind down in the fall. Then suddenly I was dealing with some serious soup. The plan next year was 5 trays and possibly one more filter. I can go without the extra filter now that the ducks aren't in there.

    On Mother Earth News, they have plans for a natural swimming pond. 50% of the ponds surface area is dedicated to aquatic plants to naturally filter the swimming water. I think that is a good starting place for duck pond filtration. With my big filter and 2 grow trays, I was only about 25-30%. Adding the extra grow trays will get me close to 50%.

    I am trying to find sources for aquaculture perch that I can get in small qty. Those will go in the pond come Spring. My garden plants will then use the fish poo instead of the duck poo. With fish in there instead of the ducks, I can actually grow water plants in the main pond without having to worry about them getting eaten in 3 seconds [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  8. mandelyn

    mandelyn Crowing

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    Ducks are very dirty, so you either have to go big, or have a way to clean it. The easiest/cheapest way I found worked REALLY well and it kept my OCD cleaning self and the ducks quite happy.

    You know those soft sided vinyl baby pools? They're about 18 inches deep, come folded up. Un fold it, fill it up style.

    I dug a hole into the side of a hill, so that the majority of the pool was backed by dirt sides. Put some brick stairs in, lined the sides with rock/brick to keep dirt from falling into it.

    The exposed side, on the bottom part of the hill (keep in mind I had to use my removed hill dirt to flatten the bottom where the pool sat) was VERY easily cleaned. Simply folded the side in, placed a brick on it, drained it, hosed it, lifted the side back into place, refilled it. It lasted for 2 years... as long as I had the ducks. I couldn't get over how easy it was to clean! Having it dug in made it more "realistic" for the ducks too.

    I added goldfish for snacks for the ducks. So... any resident fish would have to be bigger than what they could eat. You would also have to keep that pond CLEAN if it's small, because the fish won't be able to live in poo water. With my 6ft pool I had to clean it every 3 days. That's how long it took to stink like duck poo. So if you had a 12 ft pond... every 6 days. 24 ft... about once a month.

    Having a filter changes this. You would have to clean the filter frequently, but not the pond itself. If you can build it to control where the "extra" water goes, you could use a hose to stir up the bottom and focus the hose spray to remove the dirty/yucky stuff out through the overflow area. That would use a lot of water though.

    Have you ever visited a large pond that was home to a big flock of geese or ducks? Ever smell it or walk on the edge? Even those big ponds and small lakes get pretty bad once a flock of migratory fowl take up residence.

    I'm a huge fan of baby pools... they're big enough for a small group of ducks to enjoy themselves, and you can't beat the ease of cleaning. The soft sided one lasted longer than the hard plastic, since folding a side down for easy draining didn't hurt it. You could totally line a plastic one with cinder blocks though, leaving a 1ft wide area free for the draining.
  9. I would like to thank everyone that took the time to answer my post. The pond i plan on putting in will be fairly large. I am deciding I will probably add a plug so when i need to clean it, I can just let it go and hose it out since it will drain into the dry creek that i am closing part off to build this pond. As for the fish, who know? I may wait and see how much it takes to get dirty before i decide to put any in. Hopefully We make it big enough and I can add them, if not it isn't a big deal was more of an idea than anything.[​IMG]

  10. goosedragon

    goosedragon Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    Central NC
    Frankly I think Wifezilla has the best approach. Fish just add poop to the poop from your birds what you need is plants to take out all those excessive nutrients. If you must have a liner (rather than a dirt bottom pool) Plan on sinking pots, trays, or cages to grow plants to remove the nutrients. You want fast growing plants because they use more poop faster. About every two weeks haul out the growing containers trim back the plants and add the trimmings to your compost pile.
    I strongly recommend duckweed. that is the floating plant that you will find floating on just about any natural body of water. bright to light green little round leaves less than 1/8" in diameter. it reproduces about every 3 days depending on water temp and the amount of sunlight. ducks and geese love it to eat and is a good starter for ducking and goslings. Skim it off with a skimmer make out of window screen. Feed it either fresh and moist or sun dry for later feeding.
    I never could find a filter that could handle the solid waste. I finally installed a swimming hole for the birds (I use it myself after cleaning!) There is a flood gate that allows me to dump the entire contents into a lower pool. this is where I have my poop removing plants and is fenced to keep the birds out. this over flows into my "biofilter" a strip of very gently sloping land 10'wide by 50' long this is also fenced to keep the birds out and is the site of the Showpiece of my land as it is planted as a bog garden. I have every type of plant that I can find that can stand in wet soil and ends in a collection ditch that goes to a sump. The flow is into the swimming hole overflows to lower pool which overflows as trickles into the bog garden(a huge bio filter) at the bottom collected by ditch to sump where it is pumped back to to the top and enters the swimming hole for a repeat. Since my soil in this spot is the kind of clay that bricks are made from I lose little water to the soil and about 30 gallons/day to evaporation. We get a fair amount of rain (42"/year) and my sump is large enough to store 1" of rain fall on the colection area. one of the sump pumps is solar powered as is a fountain
    airator in the swimming hole so it is a fairly Green setup. Lots of work but I had an ideal site. done with a grade box on my lawn tractor and a pick and shovel $250 in pumps, airator and tubing. Picked up the flood gate from an old irrigation operation free for the taking. The water is stagnet overnight and has a mild smell first thing in the morning once the pumps are on the odor disappears.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by