There are several waterfowl experts who believe that a duck pond is not really a necessity for Indian runner ducks. Of course, there are several flocks where older ducks simply dip their beaks into the water from time to time.
However, the truth is that if good and clean water are available in the pond, your runner ducks will love it. Younger ducks and ducks that are about to breed especially benefitted.
Remember that the slugs and greens available in the pond will provide the best source of minerals for the younger Indian runner ducks.
When introducing a flock into the pond, especially if they are ducklings, make sure they are initially supervised during their time in the water.
The water should also be replaced regularly, as still water will soil easily. If left dirty, it becomes the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes and other undesirable pests.
How To Make A Pond For Your Indian Runner Ducks?
For those who are planning to have Indian runner ducks in their backyard, a duck pond would make a beautiful addition to the landscape. As well as being a great place for your runner ducks to go swimming and just hang out with their group, the duck pond also acts as a great aesthetic piece in your garden or backyard.
Materials You Will Need For A Duck Pond
Setting up the perfect pond is quite a struggle. It involves a lot of labor and can be a bit expensive if you want it to last longer. Frankly, for the amount of effort you would put into designing a duck pond, you might as well make that investment too.
For the basic structure, the polyethylene landfill liner works better. It is durable and resistant to tree and plant roots. You can also choose butyl, but it is not half as robust as polyethylene.
The edges of the pond should be secured with a layer of felt before lowering it to the ground. To make the pond look natural, burying it in gravel or even riddled soil works well. It is also useful to protect the pond from UV damage.
How Big Should The Pond Be?
If your duck pond is too shallow or too small, there is a risk of temperature fluctuations and easy fouling due to the small volume of water. This causes the rapid growth of algae and weeds that are detrimental to the health of your runner duck. In a large pond, it is also not necessary to pump algaecide.
Ideally, a duck pond should be at least 12 inches wide and 24 inches deep. Of course, this changes if the number of ducks increases.
Plants In The Pond
Plants are a must in a pond designed for ducks. They are the perfect spaces for the ducks to move and search for food. They also give ducks a sense of security because ducks instinctively love to hide among aquatic plants.
Oxygenating plants are essential for a duck pond. They will not allow algae to thrive in the water. Algae only flourish in anaerobic conditions, that is, lack of oxygen; these plants add oxygen to the water, making it impossible for algae to grow up.
It is never a good idea to have plants like the lotus and water lily that have floating leaves. These plants cannot withstand the bashing around that ducks love to do.
Therefore, it is better to plant saplings that are marginal: they will border the pond and will not have to encounter the nipping and splashing of the runner ducks.
Some of the most suitable plants are the marsh marigold, the shuttlecock fern, the mare’s tail, and the pickerel weed. Some varieties of marginal plants are not exactly robust. However, they will be able to survive with the ducks.
The advantage of most of these marginal plants is that they will self-seed. So once they are fully grown, you don’t really need to worry about rotating the plants or even planting new saplings.
You should always be very careful when buying plants for your duck pond. If you buy weak plants, the frolicking of your ducks will only leave a big mess around the pond. Ideal plants are those with fibrous stems and roots. You can simply plant these saplings in the ground or in the gravel around the pond and let them grow thereafter.
Safty Measures Before Allowing Runner Ducks To The Pond
You should take some precautions and safety measures before allowing the ducks to enter the pond:
- Keep other wildlife away: A pond that is outdoors can also be accessible to other wildlife. If you have seen the presence of harmless animals and birds around the pond, you need not worry. However, the presence of predators makes it necessary to keep possible entry points closed. Make sure invaders cannot enter your home in the first place.
- Facilitate access: If the pond is difficult to get in and out of, your duck could seriously injure its feet. Be sure to define your pond access points with gentle slopes. The ducks will be able to slide in and then waddle out whenever they want.
- Select plants carefully: Although there are several plants that are sturdy enough to survive these ducks forays and foraging, they may not be the ideal additions to your duck pond. For example, a common pond marginal plant, the parrot’s tail, tends to grow quite large. This plant can become entangled with the duck’s legs or body, making it difficult for it to swim. Ducks are delicate birds and can also suffer sprains and fractures in an attempt to free themselves from the tangles of such plants.
- Separate groups of ducks: If you have ducks and ducklings in your backyard, it is a good idea to prevent them from entering the pond at the same time. There have been several cases where adult ducks kept ducklings underwater and drowned them. The reason for this type of behavior is unknown. However, keeping ducks and ducklings away from each other is a safer option.
- Provide shade: It is a common belief among Runner duck owners that the presence of water is good enough to keep ducks comfortable and cool. However, ducks are easily prone to sunburn. Since they can choose to spend a good amount of time in the pond, providing them with enough shade is a great idea. If possible, you can build a pond in the shade of a tree. If that is not an option, artificial structures such as sheeting and roofs can be placed to protect the birds.
If a pond is not a possibility, even kiddie pools work great with ducks. However, a pond adds to the allure and appeal of having waterfowl in your backyard.