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duck weed as cultivated feed supplement

 
Leah Sattler
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I am talking about the real duckweed, aquatic plant not purslane. a post by poly about eating "pond scum" for inflamation triggered some memory from somewhere of duckweed being and excellent source of protein and omega 3 fats and a possible supplement for animals. I know it is eaten by humans in some parts of the world. I can't for the life of me remember where read that..

I also know that it is super weedy and will take over a pond as I have seen it do such, which could be beneficial or detrimental depending on the situation. it seems I have seen it mentioned in regards to bioremediation also. would it pick up every icky contaminant and be unsuitable for consumption itself?

I have this idea floating around in my head of growing duckweed to feed the chickens and supplement my milkers. what do you think? does any one have any info on exactly how high in protein it is?
 
Neal McSpadden
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A lot of people grow duckweed in aquaponics systems.  IIRC, it's somewhere around 30% protein by dry weight, but dry weight is much less than wet weight.

As for cleaning contaminated sites, my guess is that the duckweed would concentrate those contaminants.  So they'd most likely be unsafe to eat.
 
                    
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Here's a study that found that duckweed could replace soy in poultry - performance was equivalent, but profits were higher with locally produced duckweed.

http://ftp.sunet.se/wmirror/www.cipav.org.co/lrrd/lrrd11/1/sam111.htm
 
Gwen Lynn
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Found this link:

The Charms of Duckweed

http://www.mobot.org/jwcross/duckweed/duckweed.htm
 
Leah Sattler
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it certainly has potential then.

interesting article on the first page of that site gwen. I was waiting for the "after it was introduced by humans" blip but it went on to say that it was natural, just the lake trying to clean itself up.

the natural die off and resultant oxygen depletion is a bit scary. not sure I would want that in my tiny pond. how could that be circumvented? I would plan to harvest it but I don't want it to be a life or death chore......
 
Gwen Lynn
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I always get a piece of water hyacinth from the hardscape store in my neighborhood. Got one this year & some duckweed always comes with the plant. This year I had more duckweed than ever, but it didn't overtake my pond. I thought it might. I don't know why it didn't perhaps the koi were eating it, but I hadn't paid attention.

I have googled the question "do koi eat duckweed" and the answer is yes. I can only assume that my koi have been doing so & if you have the right fish in your pond, they would eat duckweed.

Surely there are fish other than koi that would eat duckweed?
 
Leah Sattler
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yes, it supposedly is great for fish feed and young fry and will reduce evaporation and help clean the pond. sounds great to me! your ponds are so healthy it probably wasn't loaded with nitrogen to feed the duckweed like the pond at the barn. that one gets covered......or at least it used to, I havent been out there in a while.

I am wondering how to harvest and dry it. thinking right now just a paddle boat and a large net. let it dry in the net spread out on a rock or something. then use it as a top dress. dh would be so thrilled for an excuse to buy a little boat for our pond!
 
Gwen Lynn
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Dh is not the only one who thinks a paddle would be cool AND a great idea! 
 
            
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I use to grow a bath tub of duckweed to feed my tilapia it worked really well. Though I live in the tropics so it is easier here for year round
 
Leah Sattler
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how much could you grow in what period of time in the bathtub situation?
 
Gwen Lynn
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Leah, the duckweed continues to grow (more slowly now) in my pond, I will save you some for you to experiment with!
 
            
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i used to harvest almost half a tub every other day. To keep up nutrients I had hooked it into my aquaponics set up and and Liquid Gold fertilizer (which was always fun being the tub was on our roof. 
 
                
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There is a video -on google or youtube- where they tour and interview the man who started this http://www.pfaf.org/index.php in it he shows off his pond where he grows duck weed.  Talks about skimming it off and using it for?
Sorry I can't find the video for you, I looked.  I think he used it for compost and or feeding animals though I can't remember seeing any in the video.
There might be info on his website.
If I come across it again I'll post the info.
 
                    
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I thought pfaf had a missions statement vegan slant, so it wouldn't surprise me if the founder didn't have animals in his garden. 

I grew duck weed in buckets and gave it to the chickens at the farm I was interning at, but they didn't seem to want it.  They had all the commercial feed they could eat though.  I wonder if making a paste of fresh duckweed and ground corn/grain and then feeding it though a meat grinder would make home made high-protein chicken feed.  I've heard drying the DW out on screens first can help with getting the chickens to eat it.  We didn't have that set up at that farm, this summer we're going to use the solar dehydrator to do that and try it as a feed supplement.  Letcha know how it goes.  I might just throw handfuls of it fresh and dried into the area they are pasturing. 

I wonder if growing it on top of their water source would do the trick?  Can't think of a water source that would be big enough to grow some in and the right size for chickens to drink from.....a kiddy pool maybe?  Or a shallow pond? Can you use ponds for chicken drinking or is that not clean enough?
 
                
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I don't think I'd put a pool in for chickens.  I'm not an experienced source though.  Perhaps if you start with small amounts in what ever you give them regularly. Warm them up to the idea a bit before hitting them with a bucket full.  Put it in a shiny bowl chickens always seem to like the shinies for some reason. 

I would sit and do some observing.  Check out the weeds do they smell? What like? Are the chickens ignoring them completely or pecking at it a bit?  See if they prefer it sodden or dryer?  My girlfriends chickens will eat anything that she brings them in a glass baking pan.  That's what she gives them her kitchen scraps in. 

thanks for the tip though I'll keep it in mind.
TeeBuck
 
tel jetson
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chickens might not go crazy for it but I bet ducks would...

I watched a smallish (maybe 200 square feet) pond fill up with duckweed over a few days on Orcas Island one summer.  when the duckweed covered maybe 75% of the pond, the month-old ducklings hanging around ate it all up.  of course, they missed a few and it was covered again a week later at which point they ate it all up again.

if your pond isn't nutritious enough, adding some azolla could help your duckweed grow faster.  it makes good critter food, too.
 
Que Lawrence
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Just catching up on some old topics.

We have duckweed in our aquaponics system (in the sump tank, not with the fish).  When it gets to be too much, we feed it to our ducks and quail.  They love it!  We don't really keep track of how fast it grows but we do know that during the summer, the birds get duckweed about once every two weeks.  During the winter, we leave it alone (in our greenhouse).
 
Emil Spoerri
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Last fall, the chickens were lined up at the edge of the pond pecking the duck weed.

A good question that needs answering is how to train cows and goats how to eat it!
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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