Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Meanwhile, At the Duck Pond...

Part of my every day chores is a stop at the duck pond to feed the ducks and fish.


We have kept a stable population for several months now...
5 tame ducks and 4 wild mallards that now call our pond home.
At one point we were up to 36 ducks,
but the local fox population caused our numbers to dwindle significantly.


Sadly, all of our tame ducks are males, so we have no hopes for repopulating our flock 
with its present members.
I will be ordering new ducklings next year, instead.

As for fish...
there is a school of several koi who are descendants of two koi that were
dropped off in our pond about 12 years or more ago.


Over the years we have enjoyed watching koi of all sizes in the pond.
However, presently there only seems to be a group of this large size living.
Perhaps there are other pond inhabitants that eat their eggs...
or perhaps, like the ducks, there are only males left.


Regardless, each morning I throw several scoops of fish food into the pond for the fish...


and each morning, a lot of that food gets snatched up by hungry ducks.
There is always a dish of duck feed on the bank of the pond,
but they seem to prefer the fish food.
This was a problem when we had ducklings,
because fish food is too high in protein for ducklings and can cause a deformity called "angel wing"
in youngsters.


The fish food doesn't seem to cause any harm in adults, however.

And for the life of me I cannot figure out a way to feed only the fish
and not the ducks as well.
If you have any suggestions...they would be greatly appreciated!

Up in the barn, I have noticed more than one "Lucille" visiting with our Kenny Rogers.
Although all of the "Lucilles" are identical (and there are several of them)...
the way that I know that two have been there is the presence of two eggs in the wheelbarrow
by noontime each day.


Kenny....you lucky fellow!


Lastly, I wanted to share yesterday's sunrise with you.


The horizon was ablaze with a fiery orange...
with the gradients of tangerine to lavender in the sky above.
What you cannot see in the picture is a line of heavy grey clouds in the west
that moved quickly over the farm bringing rain.


It ended up being a good day to work on Christmas presents (knitting).

9 comments:

An American in Tokyo said...

I wish I could just spend a week at your farm, helping with chores and just enjoying your critters! Your grandkids are so lucky!

GeorgiaHoneyBee said...

I LOVE starting my day with you and your farm! :-) Hope you have a wonderful day!

Missy George said...

"Red skies in the morning"....... Wonderful fishy pics! We only had a little bit of rain in the morning. Have a happy day.xxoo

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Glad to see that poor old Kenny is getting lots of company.

Lynne said...

Bee Haven Acres gives me daily stories, pics and some Kenny news too!
What fun it is . . .

NanaDiana said...

I know that years ago when we had fish that only the BIG ones seemed to survive. Not sure if they ate the smaller ones, or what...

We have geese resting in ponds all around us as they get ready to head south. They are late this year, I think, because we have had such a long, warm fall.

I love "spending time" on the farm with you-thanks! xo Diana

jaz@octoberfarm said...

unlike most dogs, teddy likes to have her dry food changed on a regular basis. i recently fed her a new bag and she gobbled it each time i gave it to her. this was very strange because she has to be coaxed to eat. chows are so fussy. i thought it was a miracle that she liked this new food so much. the bag was almost gone so i looked at it closely so i could buy more for her and found that it was cat food!!! i need new glasses. chows were bred in northern china and fed fish and seafood.

Country Gal said...

Lovely photos . I know that goldfish grow to what ever size their habitat is as we had a pond with them in and they grew huge lol . Thanks for sharing always enjoy your goings on at the farm . Have a good day !

Laura at Firelight Heritage Farm said...

I think the answer to the fish and duck feed is one of looking at the whole system, not just at one or the other.

Koi are omnivorous. They will eat duck food just fine. Omnivorous fish tend to eat more meat as they get larger - which means that small Koi will not be cannibalistic (or they won't eat much of their own kind), but bigger ones will. Once they get to a certain size, if the habitat is limited in size, they'll eat so much of their own young that none survive.

Ducks also eat fish eggs and fish fry. They'll eat both aquatic and land plants also, and insects, etc. They are also true omnivores.

So really, you are not looking at two separate issues where feeding is concerned, you are looking at one symbiotic issue. The question is not how to feed the fish without feeding the ducks, but how to create an environment where both can be fed in a single operation, and where they each provide maximum benefit to one another. If the solution allows them to require LESS feed from you (and more that is self-sustaining), then so much the better!

I think I'd start by stocking the pond with some other fish or crustacean types. Maybe some kind of freshwater shrimp that can reproduce in freshwater (some require brackish water for hatching), or some smaller herbivore fish that multiply rapidly and feed on algae and the waste products of other animals and fish (there are a number to choose from, so you don't feed them). Something that does not grow very big, so it always stays in the middle of the food chain, and which is only herbivorous, so it won't eat its own fry or the Koi fry or eggs. This would provide alternate food for both the ducks and the Koi, and reduce the need to feed the Koi at all.

Good plants in the pond will also help. I can't see if you have duckweed, cattails, or reeds around the edges, but that helps to both give hiding places for the young fish, and to provide additional forage vegetation.

Just be careful to avoid invasive species of plants or fish, and you can balance out the pond with the addition of a few simple things. :)

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