Thursday, November 7, 2013

Building Unity Farm - The Duck Pond

As I've written about recently, Fall has been a busy time at Unity Farm.  We completed our first harvest, pressed cider, picked mushrooms, planted winter vegetables, and cared for young animals.  

Although we have a year round stream running through the farm, we do not have a pond for our ducks, deer, raccoons, opossums, and other local fauna to access standing water during the winter.

This Fall we built a small pond near the barnyard.

In New England, we have very rocky soil, so we had no shortage of boulders for pond building.   Our mushroom farming work generated many spare logs.   All the building materials for a pond were already on the Unity Farm property.

We needed two things to succeed - someone to provide pond building expertise and someone who could move/carve/assemble rocks.   Together, John Novak and Sean Cudmore created the duck pond pictured above.

The engineering includes a bog area that acts as natural filter, many plants to provide oxygenation, and a pattern of circulation that keeps the surface free of debris.

The ducks are 6 weeks old and soon will be given the run of the barnyard.   Our experience with ducks thus far is that they live for water.   Our 10 ducks drink (or groom with) about 3 gallons of water per day.  They have a talent for turning any dry soil into mud.   They're not shy about spending the day in their outdoor pen no matter what the weather.   I'm convinced the pond will be paradise for them.

Maintaining a pond in winter will be a learning experience for me.   As one of the few unfrozen water sources for nearly a square mile, the Unity Farm duck pond will be very popular.

1 comment:

Randall Nielsen said...

In your particular area, are there any State and Federal regulations that limit your access to the stream bed etc? Here in Washington State farmers and land holders aren't permitted to develop anything within 150' of stream beds (either side of the stream for a 300' "green belt") that "could" house any kind of Salmon habitat, or provide run off into such bodies of water.