Ducks are delightful creatures to have in your pond. And aside from being entertaining additions to any space, they also help to keep bugs under control.
What if your ducks don’t find your pond all that appealing, though? How do you get them to start swimming in your pond?
Read on for some simple yet highly effective tips on how to attract ducks to your pond.
If you want more ducks in your pond, consider the following tips:
Ducks look out for their safety. So, the first you need to do is pick an area for the pond in which they’ll feel secure.
The space should be quiet and far from harsh and threatening noises, like sounds from traffic, buildings, and other animals. If you have pets, don’t house them near the pond.
Additionally, it’s much better if the pond area is near a flyway where migrating birds pass.
To avoid predators, it’ll help if the space is on open ground and away from dense covers. This will make it harder for the predators to hide and harm the ducks.
Nevertheless, a bit of tall grass around the pond can also provide a hiding place for the ducks in case a predator is nearby.
Finally, once you’ve chosen your pond area, remember not to spend too much time in it. Give your ducks their space.
Common duck species, like wood ducks, shovelers, and mallards, prefer shallow ponds. Thus, you don’t have to dig a deep artificial pond.
To guide the ducks and to make the pond more accessible, you should provide gradually sloping sides instead of steep ones. These slopes will also make it easier to plant marginal and aquatic plants that attract ducks.
You should likewise make room for a shallow as well as a 6 feet deep or more area in the pond. This will bring in both dabbling and diving ducks.
Dabbling ducks have tiny feet placed close together to make moving on land and shallow waters smoother. On the other hand, diving ducks have large feet further back on their body to aid them in navigating underwater. They dive deep into the pond to feed on food.
3 – Maintain Water Clarity
Not only does clear water look inviting, but it also indicates a clean and healthy pond. Moreover, it encourages aquatic insects, snails, and plants, which ducks find appealing.
You can shape gullies with vegetation around the pond to reduce erosion that causes muddy water. You can likewise put rock weirs in the gulley.
Spread seeds with fertilizer on bare soil to hold the ground together. In addition, maintain thick grass adjacent to the pond to act as a buffer or biofilter against erosion.
When certain undesirable fishes such as bullheads, common carp, and grass carp cause clay turbidity and inhibit plant growth in the pond, consider treating the pond with a fish toxicant like rotenone.
Avoid using chemicals such as insecticides, algaecides, and herbicides in the pond and the surrounding area. They will only kill bugs and other food sources.
Besides, the chemicals can be poisonous to the ducks. Keep in mind also that the ducks will migrate around so they could carry detrimental chemicals they come in contact with to another body of water.
Instead, choose natural methods for removing unwanted insects, algae, and weeds.
Add plants in the pond and the surrounding area to draw the ducks and encourage them to stay.
If you keep a garden near the pond, use mulch to attract insects and earthworms that ducks can eat. In addition, ducks like feeding on berry bushes.
Other plants ducks find appealing include:
Mallards and wood ducks are attracted to oaks that bear acorns.
In planting, take note that it’s recommended to erect net wire beaver exclosures to prevent stray beavers from cutting them down.
Both mallards and wood ducks love pecans. Pecan trees drop their nuts, which ducks are quite fond of, around September to November.
Just like the oaks, consider erecting net wires to keep beavers away from the trees.
Japanese millet produces rice grains that the ducks love to eat. These millets thrive in wet environments.
First, plant them on dry ground near the pond. They quickly grow and reach up to 2-4 feet when matured fully.
Chufa is a nut grass that grows in wet environments. It’s a great source of protein and fat for waterfowl.
You can plant them in rows 2-4 inches apart and about 2 inches deep into the soil near the pond. It’s a low-maintenance plant that doesn’t require much upkeep or fertilizer.
Wild celery is an underwater plant that shoots up to the water’s surface. They produce seeds that ducks eat. Additionally, the ducks also eat their tubers.
Make sure to plant them in less than 3 feet of water. Also, cover the bulbs with cheesecloth to protect them from sunlight.
Widgeon grass is another underwater plant that gives food to ducks. They also provide food for geese and fish.
Similar to wild celery, plant the bulbs in shallow water that’s not under direct sunlight.
Aside from all of these plants, several others are awesome food sources:
- Barnyard grass
- Water lily
It’s best to figure out first which plants are native to your location. Knowing that will prevent any potentially invasive or problematic plant species.
Finally, plants don’t just provide food, but they also act as cover for ducks from any potential predators. Plants are also effective for protection during times of inclement weather.
6 – Add Nesting Boxes
Enough vegetation in and around your pond can already be sufficient for nesting ducks. Still, chances are high that they will more readily go to a pond with nesting boxes.
Duck species like buffleheads, goldeneyes, wood ducks, and some mergansers prefer nesting off the ground. Therefore, you can build or purchase duck nest boxes and place them on trees or five-foot poles around the pond. They should be at least 100 feet apart from each other.
Additionally, be sure that the boxes are made of untreated wood. Many wood treatments are toxic and can cause birth defects, serious health issues, and even death.
Nevertheless, many nesting ducks make use of hollow logs. If you don’t have nesting boxes, you can create an opening in a solid log by hand and place it around the pond for the ducks to nest in.
They will be more encouraged to stay if you put duck and fresh water near the duck boxes’ area. Ensure to maintain a reasonable distance between the food and the nesting places.
7 – Keep the Pond Accessible
Keep your pond accessible for the ducks all year round.
Use a heater or de-icer to prevent the water from freezing during winter. You can also use an aeration system to create water turbulence, making the water ice-free and allowing the winter ducks to browse for food.
If you build a dam to control the water level, remember not to drain the pond during the summer. The summer pond will provide nesting habitat for the ducks.
During fall, avoid using pond netting to cover the pond.
So, how to attract ducks to your pond?
First, provide a hospitable environment by choosing a secluded area away from distractions. Second, build a clear pond with varying water levels to accommodate different kinds of ducks, such as dabbling and diving ducks.
Next, maintain a natural and chemical-free pond. Chemicals are harmful to the ducks and will just kill off bugs and other food sources.
Additionally, grow plants in and around the pond. Plants are not just food sources, but they’re also efficient protection from inclement weather and any predators.
Aside from these, provide nesting places for nesting ducks. There are duck species that will readily use man-made nesting boxes.
Finally, keep the pond accessible throughout the year by preventing it from freezing during winter, maintaining the water level during summer, and not covering it with netting during fall.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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