There are many different kinds of ponds that you can build for your ducks, and doing so can be pretty easy. If you have the space to build a large, natural pond, it will involve digging by hand or using a backhoe to dig out space you wish to convert into a pond.
Begin by measuring out the space where you want to dig, roughing out the shape and then start digging. Keep in mind that you want the center to be deeper than the sides. For tips on laying out and digging a pond, see our article here.
Once you’ve dug the area that you need, you’ll want to line it with a waterproof pond liner to prevent loss of water. It’s a good idea to lay some old carpet on the bottom of your excavation to protect the liner against being torn by rocks, roots and sticks.
What You'll Learn Today
- A Large, Natural Pond Can Be Carefree
- Should You Add Ornamental Fish To A Duck Pond?
- How Do You Keep Your Duck Pond Clean?
- Maintain Balance In Your Natural Pond
- Friendly Flora & Fauna Help Keep Your Duck Pond In Balance
- Should I Use Chemicals In My Duck Pond?
A Large, Natural Pond Can Be Carefree
If your pond is big enough, you may be able to keep it as an entirely natural pond that maintains itself. You can do this by adding native aquatic plants that grow well in your area. When looking for good pond plants, don’t neglect water lilies.
These hardy water plants add beauty to your pond and also provide shade that helps prevent algae from growing in the bottom of pond.
Additionally, look for native aquatic fish, such as mosquito fish, to populate your water and help keep it moving, balanced and fresh. You may also want to add elements such as solar fountains to help aerate the water and keep it moving.
Mosquito fish will eat mosquito larvae and prevent and over infestation of mosquitoes. With the passage of time, local fauna such as turtles, frogs and snakes will begin to inhabit your pond. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing.
Snakes, turtles and even very big bullfrogs can eat ducklings, so that’s something you’ll need to keep in mind.
Should You Add Ornamental Fish To A Duck Pond?
A good, big, natural or semi natural duck pond should have healthy fish life. Your ducks, as well as resident turtles, frogs and snakes, will be just as happy to eat expensive koi and goldfish as they will mosquito fish, minnows and the like. That’s why you are better off stocking your pond with inexpensive, fast breeding fish.
In addition to mosquito fish, you could also add tilapia. These are very popular because they are hardy and reproduce rapidly. Your ducks will eat some of your fish, so you want fish that can quickly replenish their population. Tilapia will eat excessive flora as well as mosquito larvae.
How Do You Keep Your Duck Pond Clean?
Caring for your duck pond can be quite a bit of hard work because ducks are very messy. They produce a lot of waste, and they splash around and dunk their food-filled beaks into the water and generally make a big mess.
When thinking about how much cleaning and maintenance you want to put into your duck pond, you’ll need to consider what type of pond you want. Natural ponds are those that are already in place and are not at all man-made.
These ponds can work to keep themselves clean if they are well-balanced with natural flora and fauna. If you have a natural pond, you can create a natural balance as described above.
There are many varieties of artificial ponds that do have a man-made component. If you have a small, freestanding, artificial pond you may be able to simply drain it regularly and refill it with fresh water.
In a larger artificial pond, you can perform partial water changes a couple of times a month if you have a small pond. It’s easier to do this if your pond to set up in such a way that you can install a drain in the bottom and simply drain out the bottom part of the water, close the drain and then top off the pond with fresh water.
You can also create a combination pond that uses filtering, along with naturally balanced aquatic life and other elements in combination.
How To Build A “Self Cleaning” Duck Pond
Maintain Balance In Your Natural Pond
A truly natural pond is quite a bit easier to take care of than an artificial pond. Nature will already have natural cleaning methods in place. If you suddenly introduce a lot of ducks to the situation, you will throw this natural balance off. In this case, you may need to add some unnatural help such as aerators to keep the water moving and add oxygen to the water.
When ducks add waste to the water, it decomposes with the help of natural bacteria and fungus. These natural fauna need oxygen to be able to carry out the decomposition process.
When water is not oxygenated, it will become stagnant and unable to sustain life and will harbor anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria, which live well without oxygen, produce toxic gas and cause the pond to be uninhabitable for the local flora and fauna and for your ducks.
Does My Duck Pond Or Dam Need Cleaning Out
Friendly Flora & Fauna Help Keep Your Duck Pond In Balance
Another way that you can maintain the balance in your duck pond is to add friendly bacteria of the genus nitrobacter and nitrosomonas. These friendly bacteria convert high ammonia duck waste to nitrate. This is beneficial for the plants you have living in your pond and for the local farmer.
If you want to introduce friendly bacteria to your pond, check your local pond supply store for a wide variety of ready made products specially prepared for pond use.
If your pond has a lot of ammonia in it, and algae growth gets out of hand, you can toss in a bale of barley straw. Barley straw releases natural hydrogen peroxide as it breaks down in the water. This helps fight off excessive algae growth and reduces ammonia levels.
Freshwater scavengers such as snails, clams, mussels and tadpoles will also help to keep your pond clean is the scavenged decaying materials.
Should I Use Chemicals In My Duck Pond?
For the most part, it’s best to keep your duck pond as natural as you possibly can. There are chemicals that will kill off algae, help balance your bacteria levels and more, but these will also be negative to your beneficial flora and fauna and may injure or kill your ducks.
If you have a good natural and/or mechanical filtration system and strive to maintain a good balance of flora and fauna, you should not need to use chemicals.