Win a copy of For the Love of Paw Paws this week in the Fruit Trees forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Ducks and reed beds

 
steward
Posts: 3153
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
616
hugelkultur urban chicken food preservation bike bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'd like to run grey water through a reed bed, but we have free ranging Muscovy ducks on the property.  Is that going to cause a problem, either for us or the ducks?
 
Posts: 6
Location: Colorado, cold semi-arid climate, Zone 5b
fungi chicken bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not sure if it could harm the ducks or you.   What if you ran your grey water into the soil before the reed bed allowing it soak in and let the watershed bled it into the reed bed instead of running it through?
 
pollinator
Posts: 596
Location: Southern Arizona. Zone 8b
75
fish bike bee solar woodworking greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ducks drink water out of ponds they poop in, they are pretty resilient.  I wouldn't worry about a little grey water.
 
master steward
Posts: 10098
Location: Pacific Northwest
3983
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know much about reed beds, but last year I had ducks on my pond and, as the pond got smaller and their poop accumulated, I started to notice them getting wet feather and getting sick. I ended up having to fence them out of the pond until the fall rains came and did a "water change" on the pond. They had access to fresh clean water, in both pails and trays, but they spent so much time in the pond that they still were getting sick. They got better once I fenced them out of the pond.

I would definitely keep an eye on them, especially looking for wet feather.
 
Posts: 1
Location: Australia
forest garden rabbit food preservation
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi , run the grey water through a gravel bed that's filled with water loving plants before it hits the pond. you might need about 4-6 feet of gravel bed to act as a natural filter
 
author
Posts: 239
Location: Ireland
35
homeschooling forest garden fish trees bee
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Julia,

My take on ducks and reed beds is that the reed bed system is an effluent treatment system, and as such it is best fenced from livestock, children, visitors etc. including ducks. Grey water systems are much less of a contamination risk, but better to err on the side of caution. Once the effluent has passed through your grey water reed bed, then by all means route it to a pond where the ducks can swim and enjoy it. The grey water irrigation will help to keep the pond topped up. Ideally if you are doing this you may wish to put in a biosand filter set-up at the outlet from the reed bed or the pond inlet to screen out any residual bacteria (although given the abundance of duck droppings that may be obair in aisce (Irish for wasted work)). This is similar to Johathan's suggestion, only I'd typically make the grey water filter about 25m2 for a 3-bedroom house if you've got dish washers, washing machines etc. and all the usual detergents going in. If your usage is less you could well get away with a smaller system.

Robert's point has merit if you have high bedrock or impermeable clay subsoil which will stop the water migrating down into the groundwater. Otherwise the percolation area will let your grey water leave vertically and not provide you with irrigation water for your pond or habitat wetland area.  

Interesting to hear Nicole's experiences. Good to have a regular throughput of water, so the larger your reed bed the cleaner it will be prior to the pond (within reason. If it's too large, then in dry weather the evapotranspiration rate will outstrip the water and rainfall inputs and you'll loose your water into the air).
 
And will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! (98 and 3/4 % guaranteed) - Seuss. tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!