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Fish & Duck Pond?

 
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Well this is my first post so please be gentle but i just got a place and want to get started on one of those things I've always wanted, ducks n eggs.

I am not sure how to post this so I am posting to poultry and aquaculture oriented places as I am trying to do "two in one"? (hopefully will be forgiven for x posting?)

I am hoping for suggestions on types of fish and ducks as well as pond designs.

The setup:
I have about an acre in my yard and would like to have ducks and ergo a pond seems logical and a pond without fish, well fish seem like the next logical step. I am not really looking for koi (dont have that kind of money, plus eating them wouldn't be bad?). I am in the southeast US so while it gets down to freezing sometime it doesn't happen often.
I am also hoping to having something that is "lower maintenance" (ahem cleaning) and was thinking about a pump and cone shaped pond (so stuff settles towards to lowest point?) and then have a pump/sprinkler to just fertilize the yard and clean out the pond every once in a while, though considering some lower maintenance aquaponics? (is there such a thing?)
For filling the pond, I am planning on looking into modular rainwater storage (anyone heard of something like the "rainharvest systems" modular tanks?)

I dont know what fish would work best in this setup, if there is a way to prevent the ducks from eating them before i do, ways to protect the ducks (house in the middle of the pond? + feeder on a timer for dusk?).

I have a large goofy - poultry friendly - dog, with a doggie door, a fenced in yard but am not sure thats enough?

I am really not sure where to start, i dont have a massive (like less than $3k) budget but have the land, the will, rocks etc so other experiences would really really be welcome!!!
 
pollinator
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hi Reid,

could you post a drawing of your acre? this would help others who are expert on ponds and such give you insights specific for your property.
 
gardener
Posts: 2969
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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I like the idea of very few fish and don't feed them. Fishing minnows fit that bill and don't get overly large for the pond. Doing this prevents the need to feed them which prevents algae blooms from the food. It also deletes the need for aeration. Any mosquito larvae will be eaten so you now have a mosquito "trap". Water taken out of it will be better for your plants than what was put in. I have a horse trough and a cattle trough like this. I do nothing. If it was in my backyard and buried in the ground with plantings around it, it would be pleasing. I set up another one in with my turkeys.  It gets sour pretty quick. They sit on the edge and poop in it. To dump it out is a hassle because of the minnows.

I have no idea what the filtration requirements would be with ducks. How quick they would clog, etc. Skipping the ducks as described above would be easy and basically maintenance free.

 
wayne fajkus
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Orin made a good point. What overall size are you thinking? My mind went to a small pond like 6ft diameter or smaller.  If it is a 50ft circle it changes things.
 
gardener
Posts: 2657
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Welcome to Permies!

I have chickens,  not ducks,  but ducks are a keen interest of mine.
Ducks are seem to be rather hard on small ponds.
Apparently they eat everything , move water out if the pond and they poop like,  well like ducks.
You can have ducks without a pond,  as long as they have constant access to head dunking water.
There are some slick DIY setups that do that while keeping the ducks from making a mess.

That being said,  I would totally go for it.
Animals can be messy,  but also  fun.
A pond can be a great resource, and fun.

A section of pond that is fenced off could protect the fish and any azolle or duckweed from the fish.

An island or peninsula could be a great place for a duck house, and a timed food dispenser is a great idea.



Koi are not that expensive if you are not being picky about pedigree or size.
They can be sold to pet stores,  etc,  after they get bigger,  and they are edible.
A kind of carp,  they are evidently too bony for most in the USA.
I would choose koi and no other carp,  plus I I would add bluegills and guppies.

A pond IS rainwater catchment , I would just direct my roof water to the pond and go from there.
Pond water should be amazing fertilizer.
If you can locate the pond lower than your house roof but higher than your growing spaces, you could use gravity alone to irrigate.
I have always been intrigued by the impractical  idea of a meandering  irrigation canal.

If you want meat from the ducks, or need them to be quiet  I would go for muskavoy.
I would choose runner ducks if you go with a low water solution,and Khaki Campbell for eggs production.
 
pollinator
Posts: 458
Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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Hiya, welcome to Permies, don't worry, no bullies here!
Great replies above! I've got a small pond fed by rainwater with roach in them and any kind of wild plant from the surrounding lakes and streams i could find and take home ( only if it was abundant). That way you infect your water with thousands of different bacteria and insects that come along with the plants, creating a very stable micro climate for fish to come in.
I threw in some small fishes and they turned out to be roach, not much of a tasty fish i found, but i didn't have to aerate for four years, and i never feed anything but snails which i lob in from the neighboring veggie patch as a treat. The good thing about roach is that the heron doesn't see them like koi, they're afraid. I have to sit still if i want to see them myself, then they glide in from their hiding place.
Koi are dirty pigs, they will eat all the plants, and go in the mud at the bottom and wuzzing up clouds of muck about, reducing photosynthesis further, eliminating the last remaining plant from creating oxygen, creating a grand environment for toxic algae to bloom in. So you end up with green pea soup with koi constantly at the surface gasping for air, like manic orange saucages. Many people love this though and happily show me their beautiful pond , wondering why those plants keep disappearing and overfeeding the Koi, because they're "hungry", because why else would they be at the surface trying to eat something...As well an adult Koi shits as much as a small dog.
Roach eat small insects and only start eating plants when water temperatures reach a warmer temperature scientist found out, i forgot what number exactly, but i suspect, they just like fresh newly put out foliage. The big advantage of that is that it leaves the plants intact, more or less. The plants in return filter the fish poop out so algae don't really get a chance. I do have an underground water storage and an above ground one. If the IBC tote is full, it has an overflow directly into the pond, as well i can open a valve at the bottom and hose it into the same pipe leading to the pond. So when it starts getting hot and dry i always have water in the pond, which is handy, because the veggie patch is nearby. If the IBC is empty i can pump water out of the reservoir underground into the IBC, but that takes electricity. It's a rather stable system so far, even had enough water last year during worst drought in forty years.
Everywhere, i have ever seen ducks, they have a dirty mucky dark green algae ridden pool. I'd hate to have them ruin my system. But as i've said my pond is small. And i have no hands on experience with ducks. I'd have a race that carefully wipes the mud of their flappy feet before entering the water only eating the labeled plants(haha).
If you're going to do a big pond, it might be different, but when you don't have experience with one thing, taking on two things can become quite tricky. Maybe it would be clever to have a plan B where they could be seperated quite easily if the ducks start mucking things up with their flappy feet full of mud massacring your expensively bought waterplants while they're at it.
The thing is, you've got to carefully plan what to do , because the animals can't help but do what they do, which usually means a lot of damage, and since we trap them, they can't go away somewhere else to do what they do. And they're going to be there all the time doing their "damage".
I think Sepp Holzer has the best system for ponds i've seen. Did you see his films? Farming with nature its called.
Anyway, whatever you do, good luck and tell us all about it with photos of the build, we'll all try to help commenting and try to be funny(cringe), which isn't very helpful at times, because we like to emphasize our own stories which might not relate to your own situation at all. Everybodies situation is completely unique, weatherwise, climatewise, moneywise, soilwise, etc,etc. So it can be like a maze you have to navigate. But i tell you it's the best thing to do for an eco system to build a beautiful pond and the amount of life that is going to come for it is worth your weight in gold to see.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2615
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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With 1 acre of land in total. I really do like the idea of a 1/8th acre fish pond (50ft x 100ft).
It doesn't have to be too deep either, just 3ft is good enough.
You could just surround a 50ft x 100ft flat area with a 3ft high berm/sandbag/etc. Then seal the entire the entire thing.
You can seal it by just keeping the entire area moist and keeping ducks/pig in it.

 
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This blog site (below) has a pretty decent description of the writer's pond build out. I haven't personally gotten to building a pond for our birds. We use concrete mixing tubs to provide bathing water at the moment. They also get occasional trips to the creek.

https://www.tyrantfarms.com/how-to-build-a-backyard-pond-with-diy-biofilter/

I will be interested to hear about others experiences with ponds and fowl.
 
Reid O'landers
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Wow!! First I want to thank everyone for the really positive response and already alot of useful ideas/comments, sooooooo much better than reddit,I think I am in love (with the Permies forum)

I guess i will try to answer/respond to some of the comments questions here.

I have a fair amount of experience with ruminants but none with ducks per se, I have played with them at my mates and I just love them from what I have seen. They are indeed dirty little buggers but that is in part ok because dirty water = good fertilizer and also I am planning on a fairly large pond (all relative i guess but something like 2ft deep by 20ft long and maybe 15ft wide... ish) so 2-4 ducks wont much it up at least on a daily basis (famous last words?)

I am planning on collecting quite a bit of water, not only for the pond, and it seems that a buried modular milkcrate and liner setup would be cheap and flexible enough to provide for the pond and my other needs, I liked the idea of overflow for the tank directly into the pond, thanks!

For fish, Koi are pretty but as someone said they are carp and I am not a huge fan of carp for eating, trout would be awesome but i dont think they like still water, catfish maybe? Tilapia would be great but i think where i am gets too cold in the winter (close to freezing occasionally, but not often) and I dont know how id keep the water (passively) warm enough.

For the layout of my yard, I am a horrible artist, and doing it with a mouse didnt help but this is approximately what i am working with https://sketch.io/render/sk-994d085502250286e4633a14ab9ff556.jpeg

I am hoping to minimize the "effort" to keep it up so asides from a pump to suck the water out i am hoping to avoid too much in the way of gizmos, and I am not sure I would have many plants in there, any thoughts on plants that fish and ducks actually *wouldnt* like?

My yard is on a bit of a hill but from one side to the other i doubt its more than say 5-6tf so not much, but the roof would certainly be higher than the pond, and the pond higher than about half of the yard.

I cant wait to start this, though it will likely be a few months, i posted here to brain storm and try to learn a bit in advance. Thanks again to all and I look forward to more interesting posts and responses!
 
pollinator
Posts: 572
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9-10, 60" rain/yr,
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I have a few koi in the pond at my new place, introduced by the prior owner. I don’t have experience with raising fish so I can’t make an educated comparison from experience of both them and ducks. I have however seen living proof of the Rodale encyclopedia’s assertion that ducks have the highest phosphorus manure of any common livestock.  My evidence is in flowers and fruits doing quite well with either or both passive and active  fertigation. I would watch out for nitrates with high stocking or feeding rates, especially in regard to drinking water and salmon where I am, but I figure that is less of a problem the less you feed either animal with external inputs, as we are introducing nitrogen (primary component of proteins) via feed. Nitrogen hungry plants in the way of your runoff will help too and make great mulch and bedding, if nothing else. Here are some pictures from a couple years ago on my property (now for sale) and a community/educational food forest I am developing. The one with the muscovies is my house, where their pond is roof fed and the runoff goes through trenches filled with woody debris and topped with woodchips for a path between hugels. The straight trench on bare dirt is when I started the community food forest project. The only major design alteration, before not filling (I tried to stop it but was not yet hired) would make is foregoing the pipe and it’s unnecessary plastic where I used it, as the trench and wood work as well alone if not better. Raising happy and healthy] productive aquatic animals while fertigating your garden and cleaning your water seems to me to be a great thing to do, and is likely doable with either species, and I’d think both. I mainly checked into this thread in hopes of seeing how people might be doing both. It happens in nature, right? So why not our ponds? The situation seems similar to raising chickens and pigs on the same farm, you just have to give the prey species a sanctuary and space to escape the predators.
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I suggest huckleberry pie. But the only thing on the gluten free menu is this tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
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