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movable duck pond? feedback requested

 
jacque greenleaf
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Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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I live in open range country, and in order to protect baby fruit trees, I have to fence them in. So I am thinking that I want a movable duck pond - I could place the pond near a fruit tree site, let the ducks muck up the water for several days (topping it off to keep it at least thin muck), then dump the water on the tree and move the pond to the next fenced-in fruit tree. This would keep the ducks moving (those feet and the mud can really beat an area down) and fertigate the fruit trees.

For the pond, I would plumb in a spigot near the bottom to make it easier to drain. Thinking of using a rubbermaid stock trough, I think a kiddy pool or a hard pond liner would not be sturdy enough.

I have also toyed with building something like TCLynx's duckponics system, but I would prefer a non-electric system, and I like the idea of encouraging the ducks to range further than they now do. But a more stationary duckponics system would have its advantages also, not least a larger pond. A couple dozen muscovies could make good use of a pretty large pond. (I am working on a long-range plan to thin the herd, but these guys are semi-wild, and I will have to corral them first.) (No, they weren't my idea in the first place, but it's me that has to deal with them!)

Thoughts anyone?
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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I think a movable duck pond would work just fine.  It doesn't have to be very big, but I would suggest dumping and refilling more frequently.  The ducks will be healthier if they have clean water rather than manure mixed with mud.  My ducks, being in chicken tractors at the moment (I plan to have a large area fenced for them when we get our own place, but here they are safer in the tractors), have a large black rubber water pan in each pen.  The pans are not big enough for swimming, but are big enough for the ducks to get in and play in the water, which seems to be enough to make them happy!  You really don't need a large pond for swimming, just enough water for them to get in and splash around.  These rubber pans are easy to dump and refill with the hose, and it only takes a few minutes to do all three of them. 

Kathleen
 
                      
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I think a stock trough is the way to go. The rubber troughs are rugged, but they do warm up quite a bit faster than the steel sheep tanks (at least on a sunny day).

 
Tim Canton
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i use a kiddie pool    and no its not the toughest thing but the ducks can get in and out really easily and you could plumb it easy or just bend the side and drain it.    I got mine for 6 bucks at a dollar type store.

make sure the ducks are around when you dump the pool because the water flushes out bugs and , at least mine,  is a favorite hiding spot for crickets.  My ducks just wait to pounce when they come running out from under the pool.
 
Marissa Little
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A permie near me does this with her ducks/geese.  She uses those plastic feed troughs with curved sides.  Has three or four of them and dumps them when dirty, moving them to a new tree.

The trough on the bottom, but straight on the ground:


We use a big round low profile steel trough with a drain.  Once it's empty of water, it is very light and easy to move.  But it also has a hose hookup so we are elevating it so it can stay in the same place and we can use the hose in the garden.

 
                            
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I used a kiddie's wading pool once my children outgrew it for the ducks. However the pool wore out quickly from all the dumping activity plus exposure to sunlight, frost etc.

THEN.  Got hold of a used Turtle Sandbox.  Shaped like a Turtle, holds about six inches of sand plus a lid to cover so cats don't use the turtle as a litter box.  Handy-dandy little number!

Sturdy! Able to withstand years of use. Green so relatively unobtrusive in the landscape. And easy to fill and dump.  And my ducks love using them.  So now I have three turtle pools.  Two more picked up at yard cycles for freecycle.
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 488
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Thanks for all the responses!

I've been using those pig feeding dishes, they are indestructible, but only hold two gallons of water, so they muck up fast. I got a small concrete mixing trough, but it is hard to dump without splashing duck poop soup everywhere, including on me. Hence the desire for a plumbable container.

I hadn't thought about sandboxes, I'll keep an eye out!

 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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I saw some much larger black rubber feed pans at the fair today.  I think the sides were high enough that ducks would need ramps to get in and out, but they must hold at least five gallons each.  I'm going to see if I can find one or two of those for when I no longer need to keep my ducks in chicken tractors.  (They are too big for the small tractors I'm using right now.)

Kathleen
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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Carol Deppe's suggestion seemed like a good one.  A flexible piece of pond liner on a bit of a slope that was propped up on the downhill side.  Easy to move around and easy to empty and refill to whatever volume you would like.
 
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