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Natural pond for ducks - gleying and water quality

 
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I would like to install a 'natural' pond, using clay and gleying it with ducks. Aka, let them 'seal' the pond by letting the ducks drop their manure to block the water from leaking. Now, that is the theory. I would not like to install a pump, simply dig a whole, add some clay, gley it and move along.

I will install the pond in a section where it would not bother too much that it is not a clear pond,  however I do wonder whether the quality of the water will not be very very bad due to the manure of my ducks. Aka, will the nitrate and the rest not build up massively and thusly poison my ducks? And suppose that I add plants, will they not perforate the 'seal' as such?

Does anyone have some experience with a natural ponds, leakage and gleying ponds? Or should I  best dump the whole idea and use an epdm or the  like? Should i use banks to allow certain plants to  grow, should I make it large enough (aka how much m2 per duck)...? I realize it ain't an exact science, but any advise is more than welcome.
 
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I’ve never done gleying, so I don’t know any tips and tricks for that. We had our pond sealed with bentonite clay and that worked like a charm. Bentonite isn’t expensive and if you have some tools around you can probably DIY. Saves some time over the gleying option and it is more natural than epdm.
You can checkout https://lonestarbarite.com/bentonite-clay-pond-liner-ponds-and-lakes/ for more info on sealing with clay.
 
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I have about 3 years of pond experience in Southwest Washington State. We tried gleying and have tried bentonite. We haven't had perfect success yet. We have ducks and they definitely poop a lot in the water. Our water has grown lots of algae and we've suspended shade cloth above it because it's in full sun. I would be glad to share extensive experience, but don't feel that we have achieved excellent success. And, when I had searched and searched for detailed information and troubleshooting on gleying, I never found anything definitive. So, I'm offering our experience and could sit down for a while to share it. I'm also looking for definitive and troubleshooting information on the same questions that you have, on effective ponds for ducks, basically.
 
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This thread is about a guy gleying ponds using pigs: https://permies.com/t/38201/Progress-Gleying-Pond-Pigs

After sealing it with pigs (which apparently worked great) he switched it to ducks.

 
Hannah Rishel
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Thank you Malek.  I've written up part one of attempting gleying small ponds in southwest Washington, and will try to download, upload, or attach this saga.    The link is:  
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ypcc8_C0y7d0ArVQDW0b3VwNCDwi4QQIsTcuUKle5aE/edit

If this doesn't work, I'll need to learn how to add a Google Doc....
 
Malek Beitinjan
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Hannah Rishel wrote:Thank you Malek.  I've written up part one of attempting gleying small ponds in southwest Washington, and will try to download, upload, or attach this saga.    The link is:  
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ypcc8_C0y7d0ArVQDW0b3VwNCDwi4QQIsTcuUKle5aE/edit

If this doesn't work, I'll need to learn how to add a Google Doc....



It seems that I don't have access to the document. You need to get a sharing link so that others can view it.
 
Hannah Rishel
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https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ypcc8_C0y7d0ArVQDW0b3VwNCDwi4QQIsTcuUKle5aE/edit?usp=sharing

I hope this works.  Hannah Rishel
 
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We are currently gleying a small pond with pigs. Our subsoil is very porous chalk, but we do have some surface clay. Over the past 9 months we have had partial success. It fills when it rains, stays wet for extended periods up to a few weeks. However, the level drops quickly - the pigs don’t seem to work the edges of the bank.

We are anticipating but taking another 12 months or so.
 
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I am not sure if you ever water your plants, but it sounds like the nitrogen rich water would be perfect to use water your plants. You will  have to match the size of your pond to the size of your duck flock. I would keep about 7-14ducks in a 25ft x 25ft pond (440/acre pond).

Is it possible for you do have some swales channel water into your pond, even better if it will overflow and then cycle out some of the nitrogen rich water when the fresh water comes in.
 
Malek Beitinjan
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Hannah Rishel wrote:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ypcc8_C0y7d0ArVQDW0b3VwNCDwi4QQIsTcuUKle5aE/edit?usp=sharing

I hope this works.  Hannah Rishel



Unfortunately it says I still can't access it. I believe, that when you are generating the link, you can select something  that says "anyone with the link can view". This should open it up to everyone.
 
Hannah Rishel
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Please copy the link and then paste it into your browser and see if it will open that way
 
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Dirk Dorme wrote:I would like to install a 'natural' pond, using clay and gleying it with ducks. Aka, let them 'seal' the pond by letting the ducks drop their manure to block the water from leaking. Now, that is the theory. I would not like to install a pump, simply dig a whole, add some clay, gley it and move along.

I will install the pond in a section where it would not bother too much that it is not a clear pond,  however I do wonder whether the quality of the water will not be very very bad due to the manure of my ducks. Aka, will the nitrate and the rest not build up massively and thusly poison my ducks? And suppose that I add plants, will they not perforate the 'seal' as such?

Does anyone have some experience with a natural ponds, leakage and gleying ponds? Or should I  best dump the whole idea and use an epdm or the  like? Should i use banks to allow certain plants to  grow, should I make it large enough (aka how much m2 per duck)...? I realize it ain't an exact science, but any advise is more than welcome.



I don't have the property or location to dig a pond and gley it so unfortunately I can't help you there, but I know some people use pigs to wallow around in a new pond to gley it so I believe allowing ducks to waddle around in the mud should have the same effects of filling in the natural leaks in the ground to help it hold water but they would need to get all the areas on the sides as well to get everything sealed to prevent leaks.  I have been planning to set up a pond made out of an 8' round dog pool, completely different from your idea except that the concern for the ducks pooping up the water and making it filthy and possibly unhealthy is the same for both pond types.  I cut a hole in the center of the bottom of the pool and installed a drain pipe (shower pan drain that will seal against the flexible floor of the dog pool and I have that plumbed into 2" PVC pipe with a ball valve so I can flush the poop and dirt out the bottom and use it to water trees and plants downhill from the pond and then top it off with fresh water.  Being a desert I would have to add water every day anyways, and I will probably use a float valve to maintain the full water level, but to flush out the crud two or three times a week, based on my research so far, draining off the bottom to water trees and topping off with fresh water hopefully will keep the pond relatively clean.  The trees need to be watered anyways so I am not using any more water, I am just adding an extra use for the water between the faucet and the ground.
 
Hannah Rishel
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Maybe THIS will work...
Filename: Saga-of-a-pond-gleying.pdf
File size: 12 megabytes
 
Malek Beitinjan
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Hannah Rishel wrote:Maybe THIS will work...



It did work! Looks like even though you didn't quite seal the pond you built, it's still filling up quite often. I wonder if you could just try adding ducks and adding water manually each day for them. Keeping them in a confined area will make the gleying process happen faster.
 
Hannah Rishel
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A duck pond is the next chapter of our pond saga, to be continued later...
 
S Bengi
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I think that you should have left the decaying grass clipping in the water until it turned into a layer of sludge in the pond. That would have probably gley the pond.

With the gleying you can do it foot by foot, so If you have a 6ft deep pond. Only the bottom 1ft is gleyed, then once it starts holding water, around the water line of this tiny 1ft deep pond you add some more stuff, now the pond will be holding water to the 2ft mark. Then you keep on doing this until the pond is at the 6ft mark, moving in 1ft increments.
 
Hannah Rishel
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It looks like you have some direct experience with gleying using grass or other vegetation. Do you have an idea of how long this seaing process would take? Do you have other details from direct experience that you can share?
 
Hannah Rishel
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Sealing process, that is
 
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