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Hello, I wish to build a small pond for ducks and geese. How large of a pond would be needed for 10 Ducks and 10 geese? If I wanted to over winter the ducks and geese what type of sq. ft. per duck/geese would I need? Any and all advice would be so appreciated.Thank you
-- Faith Ever (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 15, 2000
Faith, ducks and geese can stay outside most of the winter. Feed them well, give them some shelter from the wind, and the option to go inside if they want. As for space, I'm sure somebody somewhere has published the square footage requirements, but I don't know what that would be. Something about the size of a single car garage would work. They generally won't go in if they can help it. You may need two shelters. The geese can be bullies.
I suppose someone somewhere has published the pond size needed per duck/goose. Again I don't know what that would be. I've given up on water for mine. I just use hog pans. Whatever size you end up with, here are some warnings. Make sure the sides are sloped. That will reduce the number of dead bodies you have to fish out. Other critters will get in it, make sure they can get out. If your pond is big enough create some "islands" in it, it being easier to rescue the stranded than the dead. Even adult ducks and geese can drown or succomb to hypothermia if they can't get out. The geese will bully the ducks. That will include drowning them in the pond. Ducks and geese prefer to start the next generation in the water. The females will be drowned. Ducks, and especially geese, like to "season" their water. That means they consider it an outhouse. I've also caught the rotten creatures picking up manure and deliberately walking over to the water to add it. The water will be green and greasy. Live with it, figure out how to muck it out, or make a really really big pond. The babies will take to the water just as soon as they can. Make sure they can get back out.
That said, ducks and geese love having bathing/swimming water. They'll appreciate having as much water as you can provide them. Something like sinking a kids' wading pool into the ground is the easiest, but not the best idea. They just can't easily get out. Even with cement blocks of something put in as steps, they can't always get out. Maybe if you made "stairs" completely around the inside of the pool, that would work.
Try checking gardening books/catalogs for smallish water garden/goldfish ponds. That might give you some ideas. When it gets really hot in the summer, some of them might learn to sit under a lawn sprinkler. But usually they don't like to get rained on. Gerbil
-- Gerbil (email@example.com), January 15, 2000.
We have a pond that is about 1/2 an acre. Ten ducks were about right for it, we could still swim in it because the water was clean enough. Then we got twenty or thirty ducks and that was too many. We could no longer swim in the pond. The "drowning" that Gerbil mentioned is not really aggression in our experience. We have had no drowned ducks. What it is, is that ducks mate in the water; the drake grabs the female by the back of the head and partially submerges her while they are mating. If you have only one or two drakes, this will not be a problem. However, this year we got a few too many drakes and they were gang-raping those poor ducks all the time. We did have one that died of an everted cloaca, from being mated too much. If the duck doesn't want to mate, she will swim away when the drakes approach her. If she gets caught anyway,the drake will just sit on her in the water until she submits. So, I would say,get only one drake for every nine to ten ducks. If you are getting them unsexed, eat all but one of the males. You can tell them apart at 6 weeks because the ducks (females are called ducks, males are drakes) quack and drakes just sort of whisper. Drakes never quack. The real problem comes when you have an established folck of ducks and you bring in some new ducklings. When the females are still pretty small, the drakes try to breed them, and yes, if you let them, they could drown. asolution is to keep motherless ducklings out of the pond until they have feathers ( you should do this anyway unless they have a mother)and shut the drakes up in a pen until the new ducks are full grown. We had two geese for a while and didn't notice any aggression. They left the ducks alone. I guess that in small quarters it could be a problem. But, I would like to know why in the world you want ten geese,unless you are raising them up to eat? Two would be plenty for me. Geese are not nice and friendly,happy birds the way that ducks are. I would think twice about getting so many. A mated pair will raise up goslings every year that you can eat. Now about shelter; it gets 30 below here and our ducks stay out in the pond all winter long.They keep a swimming hole thawed throughoout the winter. The only reason you would need a pen and coop for ducks is to protect them from coons,dogs,etc, and to get at the eggs without having to fish them out of the pond. I don't know if you want to eat the eggs, but if not,you don't really need a pen. Their best defense against predators is the water anyways. we did have a cold snap when their hole froze over and they looked so sad that we put them in the greenhouse. In a day or two they had their hole thawed out again. They are very hardy birds. Ducklings without mothers need to be kept in a warm place until they are six weeks old.Hope this helps.
-- Rebekah Leaf (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 15, 2000.
I can't help you with stocking density however its my guess you could increase the carrying capicity of the pond by intoducing plants into your pond. They will help to consume some of the nitrogen in the ducks manure, thus less food for the algae that will otherwise result. However, be careful of what you plant. Some plants are very invasive so try to keep them on the downwind shoreline. That will help to slow down the spreading and in your planning keep in mind that you may ocassionally have to thin the plants so make accomodations now to avoid a big hassle down the road. Also, if aeration is an option, that would help too. If you have a springfed pond or something that will be fairly easy to keep water in, water your garden with the pond water. The plants will love it.
-- john leake (email@example.com), January 15, 2000.
The ducks will clean up most of the pondweed and algae that they can reach. You don't need to feed them a whole lot in the summer.Our experience has been that the ducks eat most of the growth that occurs because of the increased manure. The pond does grow more algae, but because the ducks eat it it's not a problem. What is a problem is the slimy consistency of the pond if you have too many ducks and want to use the pond to swim in. The pond is wonderful though, it promotes a whole eco-system of it's own.
-- Rebekah Leaf (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 18, 2000.
What breeds of ducks and geese do you have? We raise Toulouse-Embden cross geese, which are wonderful for roasting as well as feathers. (We dry pick in spring and summer...you don't kill them to pick their feathers.) Have 10 now and are hoping for more little ones come spring.
Our ducks are Khaki-Campbells which we raise for eggs mainly, eating the extra males.
Neither of these breeds are overly agressive, the ducks being extrememly friendly to the point of driving one to distraction at times...especially when your trying to weed in the garden. The geese are noisy and nosey, but that's something you learn to live with (or not).
We don't have a pond for the ducks and geese as we have small grandchildren whom we worry about drowning in one. The birds do fine with just their water buckets so long as we keep the buckets filled 2- 3 times a day with fresh water. I put shallow pans under the eaves troughs to catch rain water early spring through late fall and that helps somewhat in keeping them supplied with water to splash in.
-- Kathleen (Kalfy53@hotmail.com), January 22, 2000.
Ducks can be a bit of a feast or famine proposition. You either want more or want less. Be very careful what you wish for! We design aquatic habitats for fishing, swimming, ducks, and for aesthetics. If you build a productive environment, chances are you will over shoot your goal and have a crowd of ducks which can be very diruptive to a nice clear pond. We design to be a bit less productive when ducks are the goal. This seems to limit the population and avoids health threats to both the pond and it's human inhabitants.
In order to avoid a "polluted pond", I suggest a lot of aquatic vegetation be avoided so that the pond doesn't become too attractive.
Spring Creek Aquatic Concepts http://www.AquaHabitat.com
-- Brad@AquaHabitat.com (brad@AquaHabitat.com), February 10, 2001.
A friend gave me a goose last week.How can I tell if it is a male or female?
-- Bettie Ferguson (email@example.com), February 15, 2001.