Recycling "Pond" Water

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by GentFarmer, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. GentFarmer

    GentFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quick question for those who own ducks AND also farm/garden. I'm curious about the benefits/drawbacks of using water from the duck pool/tank to directly water plants in the garden. I know about composting the droppings as fertilizer, but I'm thinking the water would carry some of the nitrogen of regular droppings, but at a more diluted level.

    I live on a large property that has its water trucked in and deposited in a tank. I have to be accountable for every drop of water I use, which already makes ducks a dicier proposition. But I'd like to allay my land owners' concerns about dumping water out by using it on my garden.
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2013
    I don't own ducks but wild ones are on the dam here. If you're planning to use irrigation, be prepared for a regular pump filter cleaning schedule. The ducks bring in algae etc and so do the other waterbirds that visit, and basically as many times as the landlord poisons the dam and drags the lillies etc off the top and kills the algae, it needs doing again. And again.

    Anyway, the algae clogs up the filters all the time, and there are always mystery leaks and losses of pressure, and the shadehouse and other floors that receive damwater are amazingly slippery and dangerous. No matter how many times the algae is poisoned it grows back. If the dam deepens on a steep angle I'd assume they wouldn't muddy the water too much, especially if there's a smallish amount of ducks compared to a large enough dam. I haven't really heard anything much about the nutrient values etc of duck-inhabited damwater so can't help there but they're definitely part of the ecosystem, lol, and so is algae. If you don't have fish, I would suggest getting some in, both to help clear the water, feed the ducks, and fertilize the water.

    Best wishes.
  3. GentFarmer

    GentFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Fortunately, I don't have to worry the irrigation system. I'm on a small hobby farm, and the emptying and filling of their pool will be done by hand.
  4. LaurelC

    LaurelC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2013
    Bothell, WA
    Based on my understanding, duck pond water can be directly added to gardens without worry of it "burning" the plants. I'm going to install a drain in the bottom of a pond I'm going to put in-ground, and use it to fill watering cans/buckets to water my raised veggie beds. I'll also probably monkey with installing a pump along the line to feed a duckponics filtration setup where I think I'm going to try growing pumpkins/squash and wasabi.
  5. GentFarmer

    GentFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks! This was my basic understanding as well. Because of my gopher and mole problems, all my garden (and there's a lot of it!) is in raised beds and hay bale planters. I'm usually watering by hand through sprinkler cans. I've got a similar setup in mind, where the "pond" is just a preformed koi model of some sort up on a stand with a drain on the bottom. I'm figuring the diluted droppings and feed will probably be a strong addition of fertilizer for the plants without that burning. That really is my main concern.
  6. Tivona

    Tivona Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2011
    I have ducks and garden and have used the pond water for the last few years. In the summer I use the yucky pond water to water my blueberry bushes, flowers, corn, blackberries, rhubarb (well fenced as its leaves are poisonous), fruit trees and lawn. It has never burned any plants of mine and it acts as only a mild fertilizer. There is not usually enough poop to really up the nitrogen much. Most of the dirtiness in my ducks water is from them washing bills full of soil checking for bugs. So looking at the water I would say its water then mostly dirt, then poop, then a tiny bit of oils from their feathers.

    I would not recommend it for things like lettuce, strawberries, or anything that is low to the ground and eaten raw due to the bacteria dangers. Things that are harvested well off the ground such as corn or fruit trees have time to filter the bacteria out better. The stuff near the ground can get the bacteria splashed on the parts you would eat and also they can pull the bacteria into the plant itself as the plant draws up water. The farther the water has to travel through the plants veins the better it is filtered. If you plan on just using the water for ornamental then yes it will work great. If edibles then just keep in mind that you don't want the poopy water on the eaten parts of the plant and the water should not be splashed on leaves or fruit you will be eating.

    The only other thing I can think of is how you plan on transporting the water. My ducks pen is at the corner of my garden meaning I don't have to far to take the water. I use buckets for the farthest things and drainage ditches for nearer stuff. I have plans to make a hose system. Keep in mind that there will be rocks and dirt clods that can clog hoses so if you go that way give a post on how you prevent the hose from clogging. I am thinking screens and a rock filter perhaps for my hose draining of the ponds but I still need to set it up for this summer.
  7. GentFarmer

    GentFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Great point. I hadn't thought about that part. I have several hay bales I'm using as planters after they got saturated in a storm, so will likely use it there. And most of my crop is in fruiting plants rather than leafy vegetables. I'll rethink my placement of the latter, though. And yes, I have the far corner of my garden, nearest some raised planters, I intend to use for the pond, and I should be able to bucket water efficiently from there.
  8. ducksinarow

    ducksinarow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2011
    I used duck water on my potted tomato plants. It worked great. Be warned though, my ducks along with cardinals got almost every tomato when it was just ripening. The few I did get, the ducks quacked up a storm when I picked them. Those were their tomatoes. LOL
  9. GentFarmer

    GentFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    LOL. I'm sure the chickens and ducks will be fighting of them. It doesn't help that at my elevation, the only tomatoes that grow reliably are the small cherry tomatoes. My hens will grab one and take off running like a feather clown.

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