Winter, ponds and biofilters??

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Led ByTheWind, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. Led ByTheWind

    Led ByTheWind Hatching

    Feb 23, 2015
    Grass Lake, Michigan
    Hello everyone!

    This is my first post and I am SOO excited to be here! We just moved to Southern Michigan (Ann Arbor area) from blazing hot Houston, Texas so we are in a bit of climate shock right now. Here coming up in the spring we are going to start raising Pekins in our backyard. SUPER stoked!

    So my husband and I have been doing a LOT of research and we have some questions for those of you that have to deal with subfreezing temps in the winter time and how that plays a roll with duck raising. We are going to be digging out a pond (12X8 and about 3 ft deep) and putting in a liner, aquatic plants, bottom feeders, barley hay, water lilies...basically anything and everything to try and make our pond a living ecosystem. The goal is to make it a self sufficient pond something like you would see in nature. Now, I know this is a tall order but we would like to keep the water running and filtered year round.

    So being that this is our first winter (EVER) we apparently get weather as follows: from December through March at least freezing temperatures with a low of -10ish at night (some nights, not all of the time though. More frequently it is 0-2 degrees at night). We have about 2 ft of snow and ice that has been on the ground since December. (This is so foreign to me...)

    So here are our thoughts thus far: The idea with the pond is that we could have a drain at the bottom that leads to a filter system (biofilter system ideally) that cleans out the waste and then flows back into the pond via waterfall. We plan to have an aerator as well to add to the oxygen levels and to keep the water from freezing. However, I don't think this will be enough to 1) filter out all of the duck poo sludge (although to be honest, I am not sure how much poo we are looking at here. We are planning for 6 Pekins in this space and really don't much poo is there really going to be? Thoughts?) and 2) keep the water from freezing enough to actually flow through the system.

    Wow, lots of info. Sorry about that. So, if anyone has any experience with northern duck ponds I would be so grateful! Thanks so much in advance!

  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Wow - from Houston to Ann Arbor. There's a book in thereā€¦ I moved from Georgia to New England some years ago, the day before a huge snowstorm...

    The volume of water you are talking about is going to freeze, I think. I could be wrong, because if it comes into contact with the soil there will be a little bit of warming from the soil. But here in southern New England, our footers have to be below a frostline that is, I think, 42 inches. So that's why I am thinking that 36 inches isn't going to provide the geothermal warming you would like. Hmmm.

    All I can do is surmise about the pond - I use concrete mixing pans, and when I am on the ball I empty them at night before they freeze. Well, I messed up and right now our c.m.p.'s are full of ice and attached to the ground till the thaw. [​IMG]

    I did scare one up for the other day when it was a heat wave - 32F. The thing cracked after it was used, so, that's that.

    Anyway, I have nine Runners and four Buffs and their night pen is in our walkout basement. Yup. We converted part of the basement into their "room," or barn, however you want to think of it. Works great, as the basement stays well above freezing - 40 to 45F even now, when night temperatures can be -5F, though more often around 10F.

    They have about 100 square feet for the 13 of them, and I am so glad I have that kind of space, as they have been indoors about 23 or more hours a day for weeks now due to the weather. There is a huge picture window in the back of the basement, as well as overhead lights. I have a watering station that minimizes splash, and the ducks are thriving.

    Take a look at the Winter Woes thread, you may get some insights there.

    Welcome to the Duck Forum!

    Oh, you might look at the Duckponics and Aquackponics threads to learn more about the kind of pond setup you are thinking of.
  3. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    I hope you are enjoying Ann Arbor!

    I have a 7x11x2 pond in southern AL. AK Houston weather to the east. Filter running 24/7. Those super cold nights we had last year (and days) my pond had a layer of ice on top that the ducks were walking on top of. There was a small unfrozen spot by the waterfall from the filter box.

    Moving water will help it from freezing, but at 8x12x3, you will want to put a heater in it for the winter.
    6 large ducks will make a nasty mess of the pond.
    I have 5 ducks, 4 runners and a welsh harlequin. I drain the pond once or twice a year. It is kind of gross looking, but doesn't smell (until you start to disturb things and clean it!) and the ducks and dogs don't care. It's just green. The poop settles to the bottom.

    We had a fish - a little one, nobody ate him. DH found him as he was helping me clean the pond, so we saved him from being drained. But then he had no cover from the ducks when we put in clean fresh water. He was then eaten. Poor guy - lived in ick for almost a year only to be eaten because now the ducks could see him!

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