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Floating Duck Fence for paddock shift around a pond?

 
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I'm thinking of raising ducks for eggs/meat and don't like the idea of having to refill a kiddie pool constantly because of the poop and then it freezing in the winter; and I also don't like the idea of just free ranging them and letting them make our pond super gross and over grazing/hunting the plants and aquatic life.
Was wondering if anyone knows of or has made a fence that floats (probably just like a foot high and then with some way of going a foot under the water so they don't swim under it) and fences off three sides and then could connect up to poultry netting on the land side. This way I could paddock shift them around our 1/2 acre pond. Our pond is 20 feet deep so even when all our livestock water buckets and troughs freeze the pond stays thawed pretty much all the time because of the thermal heat storage (we are in zone 6b Oklahoma). We have tons of minnows and tadpoles and bugs in the water to where I think it could be a signifcant food source while allowing a lot of the fish and frogs to escape to the sides the ducks aren't on so the ducks don't completely eliminate that resource over time.
 
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Not sure where you are, Braden, but your pond is likely a nighttime home for the native ducks/birds that fly in at dusk and out again at daybreak.   Larger predatory animals have probably been coming to it for water, and then for your ducks.   Because you won't be raising ducks that can fly and save themselves, the very clever local predators will likely take a real chunk out of their numbers.  Ducks and chickens need a serious building to be in at night, at the very least, something with a roof on it that can support the weight of 2 mountain lions = 300 lbs, and have a foundation that is secure enough so digging predators can't go underneath, and raccoons can't reach through 1" chicken wire and kill the ducks.

If you have a flotilla of ducks on a pond it will change the ecological balance of the critters in it, on it and around it.  It will have a very high proportion of nitrogen (poop) which will cause large amounts of algae to form.  Algae kills a lot of things, including pond critters that keep away mosquitoes.  And is not good for the ducks to eat/swallow, which they won't have much choice but to do.   During drought years when our pond is low, algae forms despite our efforts, and the native birds do not come to it, they stay away.

Even hawks, turkey vultures, and peregrine falcons who hunt at night, will be thrilled at their addition.  Weasels, raccoons, foxes are good swimmers and will just love a duck dinner.

You will be bringing in a lot more predators, which could put your pets/small children/other animals at risk.  

They can't be in the water 24/7, so when they are out of the water, different protections need to be in place.

The best arrangement I ever saw was an old cotton gin up on tires that was fitted inside with perches and places to nest, had a solid frame and roof, and they could all be inside it at night.  It had ramps underneath it for them to walk up into.  It could be towed from location to location so they could feed on different parts of the property.  A cotton gin is just a big metal frame, like a small semi trailer with metal mesh siding, a solid floor and ceiling, and a hitch.
 
Braden Pickard
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Cristo Balete wrote:Not sure where you are, Braden, but your pond is likely a nighttime home for the native ducks/birds that fly in at dusk and out again at daybreak.   Larger predatory animals have probably been coming to it for water, and then for your ducks.   Because you won't be raising ducks that can fly and save themselves, the very clever local predators will likely take a real chunk out of their numbers.  Ducks and chickens need a serious building to be in at night, at the very least, something with a roof on it that can support the weight of 2 mountain lions = 300 lbs, and have a foundation that is secure enough so digging predators can't go underneath, and raccoons can't reach through 1" chicken wire and kill the ducks.

If you have a flotilla of ducks on a pond it will change the ecological balance of the critters in it, on it and around it.  It will have a very high proportion of nitrogen (poop) which will cause large amounts of algae to form.  Algae kills a lot of things, including pond critters that keep away mosquitoes.  And is not good for the ducks to eat/swallow, which they won't have much choice but to do.   During drought years when our pond is low, algae forms despite our efforts, and the native birds do not come to it, they stay away.

Even hawks, turkey vultures, and peregrine falcons who hunt at night, will be thrilled at their addition.  Weasels, raccoons, foxes are good swimmers and will just love a duck dinner.

You will be bringing in a lot more predators, which could put your pets/small children/other animals at risk.  

They can't be in the water 24/7, so when they are out of the water, different protections need to be in place.

The best arrangement I ever saw was an old cotton gin up on tires that was fitted inside with perches and places to nest, had a solid frame and roof, and they could all be inside it at night.  It had ramps underneath it for them to walk up into.  It could be towed from location to location so they could feed on different parts of the property.  A cotton gin is just a big metal frame, like a small semi trailer with metal mesh siding, a solid floor and ceiling, and a hitch.





Thanks for the response. We have experience with housing our flock of 50 laying hens in a portable coop (Justin Rhodes ChickShaw) at night and have premier 1 electric poultry netting around that, which we rotate around our property once a week. That's eliminated all our former predator problems. I was wanting to implement a similar plan to that with ducks but with a small section of the pond temporarily fenced in and rotate around from there so the nitrogen build up is never too much and they won't come back to that point for 4-6 months. We already have ducks and have observed the different wildlife that comes to our pond and just wanted to start rotating them around to help enhance the ecosystem rather than make a mess of it.


 
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Braden Pickard wrote:

probably just like a foot high and then with some way of going a foot under the water so they don't swim under it

Are you sure your ducks won't swim under 1 ft deep fence? I know mallards are considered "dabbling ducks" but I've certainly seem them digging in the mud on shallow ponds and I'm just not sure how deep domestic ducks will go if the motivation is food ( http://www.jl-studio.com/articles/mallards/home.htm).

Also, although my Khaki Campbells are considered "flight-less" they can definitely helicopter over 3 ft fence and occasionally higher.

What kind of fencing are you thinking of? What if you used something soft which you could weight at the bottom so it would collapse against the mud in the shallows, but hang deeper in deep water? What if in the shallows you used something like portable electric fence posts that you could hook the fencing to? Then in deeper areas, use some sort of floating post? Water polo goals have no under water component, but you could think of ways to adapt that concept.

I do agree that kiddie pools are a lot of work. I use short Rubbermaid stock tanks in the summer and one has a valve leading to two 1 1/4" pipes with holes drilled in them so it becomes a "shower" that waters the grass when I open the valve. Not all the water drains, so I tip the rest out, rinse, move the tank and refill and it is part of my grass watering system. The second tank is in a fixed run which is going to be rehabilitated to have multiple paddocks as time allows. That tank has a very long ABS pipe that I move around my dulcis bamboo patch. This spring I had extremely happy bamboo. Something similar could be done if you had fruit trees to water, although I wouldn't use it on leaf crops. I only use the tank in the summer as we've just got too much water in the winter. Then they get a bucket or two and one larger rubbery feed "bucket" that is big enough for them to get into.

Have you considered extending your pond with a duck specific shallow end? Fence it securely, then plant lots of cattails on the outside of the fence so that they will soak up any nitrogen the ducks are adding? Harvest the cattail greens for mulching?
 
Braden Pickard
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Jay Angler wrote:Braden Pickard wrote:

probably just like a foot high and then with some way of going a foot under the water so they don't swim under it

Are you sure your ducks won't swim under 1 ft deep fence? I know mallards are considered "dabbling ducks" but I've certainly seem them digging in the mud on shallow ponds and I'm just not sure how deep domestic ducks will go if the motivation is food ( http://www.jl-studio.com/articles/mallards/home.htm).

Also, although my Khaki Campbells are considered "flight-less" they can definitely helicopter over 3 ft fence and occasionally higher.

What kind of fencing are you thinking of? What if you used something soft which you could weight at the bottom so it would collapse against the mud in the shallows, but hang deeper in deep water? What if in the shallows you used something like portable electric fence posts that you could hook the fencing to? Then in deeper areas, use some sort of floating post? Water polo goals have no under water component, but you could think of ways to adapt that concept.

I do agree that kiddie pools are a lot of work. I use short Rubbermaid stock tanks in the summer and one has a valve leading to two 1 1/4" pipes with holes drilled in them so it becomes a "shower" that waters the grass when I open the valve. Not all the water drains, so I tip the rest out, rinse, move the tank and refill and it is part of my grass watering system. The second tank is in a fixed run which is going to be rehabilitated to have multiple paddocks as time allows. That tank has a very long ABS pipe that I move around my dulcis bamboo patch. This spring I had extremely happy bamboo. Something similar could be done if you had fruit trees to water, although I wouldn't use it on leaf crops. I only use the tank in the summer as we've just got too much water in the winter. Then they get a bucket or two and one larger rubbery feed "bucket" that is big enough for them to get into.

Have you considered extending your pond with a duck specific shallow end? Fence it securely, then plant lots of cattails on the outside of the fence so that they will soak up any nitrogen the ducks are adding? Harvest the cattail greens for mulching?




Hi, thanks for your reply! I just looked it up and I think you're right that they can swim much deeper, I didn't realize that! I like those ideas a lot, thanks for the input!
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