How to Winterize Backyard Duck Ponds
You can use duck ponds on your property for many purposes, from hunting to conservation to providing water supply for firemen. However, a pond will be no use to you or to any wildlife if it freezes over during the colder months. You can winterize a duck pond so that ice does not form and that the ducks and fish in the pond will be safe and thrive. Follow the simple steps below to effectively prepare your pond for winter.
Step 1 – Remove the Fish
The exchange of oxygen and CO2 is very important in duck ponds as it keeps the fish happy and alive. If the duck pond is going to freeze over, it is important to remove the fish or else they will die. A completely frozen pond does not allow for the gasses to escape.
Step 2 – Stop Feeding Fish
During colder months, the fish in the duck pond do not eat as much. Their metabolism slows down, and when temperatures reach near freezing, the fish will stop eating. If you continue to feed the fish during this period, they can die from overeating.
Step 3 – Clean the Duck Pond
If you want the pond to remain healthy through the winter, you will need to take care of it before the ice begins to set. Use a pond skimmer to remove all organic material, including twigs, weeds and leaves. If you allow these to remain, they will rot and contaminate the water. In time, mold will form, which could cause the sea life in the pond to die. The ducks will no longer want to visit your pond if they become ill from it.
Step 4 – Clean the Equipment
All of the equipment in your duck pond is very important to maintaining its beauty and health throughout the year. Remove the filter from the circulation unit and rinse it off. Take apart the pump, and remove the hoses and other attachments. These pieces can become clogged with sludge, algae and other things that, when kept unchecked, can freeze and damage them.
Fill a bucket with hot water and several drops of the oil-free liquid soap until it is sudsy. Immerse the parts in the bucket, allowing them to soak for several minutes. Scrub the parts with the brush to remove the algae, mud and other debris. Rinse the pieces with clean water, and then allow them to dry prior to putting the parts back together.
Step 5 – Create Water Circulation
The duck pond needs open water in order to maintain the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. You need to create and maintain a hole in any ice that forms. Place a brick in the center of the duck pond, and then move the water pump to the center, placing it on the brick. Move the outlet so that it is pointing upward. This circulation will prevent the ice from accumulating over the center of the duck pond.