Duckaponics Muck

Now in a normal aquaponics system, provided it is properly designed, the gravel doesn’t get clogged up and it doesn’t need re-washing.

However, Duckaponics is a different situation. Or should I say I didn’t design my duckaponics right. Now you get to learn from my mistakes.

Duck tank

Duck tank


1st, my duck tank is fairly large and I don’t think the grow bed was really large enough to filter for it in the first place.

2nd, the duck bed got partially filled with wood chips on one end when it was first set up and I didn’t have enough gravel, this has been slowly breaking down into muck.

Duck mucked gravel

Duck mucked gravel

3rd, I think a duck bed probably needs to be done with larger gravel to help keep from clogging.

Duck mucked gravel 2

Duck mucked gravel 2

Duck muck closeup

Duck muck closeup


4th, having it right on the ground where the chickens can easily scratch dirt and mulch into the bed means the duck bed clogged up very quickly!!!
Duck muck

Duck muck

I’m not quite sure what to do about #4 since having the bed right on the ground (and it’s more like duck river/stream than a grow bed) is wonderful for the birds since it gives them shallow water to play in (the ducklings can’t climb up to the big tank easily.)

Anyway, I’m in the process of upgrading the duckaponics a bit. The old water tanks have been taken for use as rain water tanks so I don’t have them as settling tanks before the duck tank anymore so I’ve built a new small grow bed that is set up above the duck tank and the pump floods it and it siphons into the duck tank which still flows out to the far end of the duckriver bed. Once I have finished washing gravel for that new bed (which should be a great place to grow plants for the ducks/chickens to eat) I’ll look into mucking out the mud from the pump end of the big duck bed. I need to add some more filtration and perhaps some way to easily pull and clean some net filters down near the pump. I’ll probably try to block the ducks/chickens further way from the pump end so I can get more plants going and keep the filtration cleaner on that end.

pump pit

pump pit

8 comments to Duckaponics Muck

  • Phil

    Ha! Duck-a-ponics. You guys never cease to amaze me! Has anyone ever tried it with chickens or cows? Obviously they’re not in the least bit aquatic, but you people are awfully creative!

  • TCLynx

    Well, I do the duckaponics to be able to provide nice water for the ducks. Since ducks, chickens, and cows are warm blooded and their wastes can carry pathogens I don’t recommend this as a way to grow veggies for humans and mixing manure with water really isn’t an efficient means of sending it to compost so no I would not recommend cow or chicken ponics. Far better to compost the manure in a more traditional method before using the manure to enrich the soil of the garden.

  • Phil

    How interesting. So soil breaks down pathogens and water doesn’t? Interesting. What do you do with the plants you raise with duckaponics? I assume you can’t use these plants to feed other warm blooded critters either (same problem). Does this mean that I shouldn’t feed my aquaponics fish worms that I’ve rasied in manure?

    • TCLynx

      I haven’t done much research into the safety of feeding worms grown in fresh manure so I can’t really answer that. Perhaps purging them would be what is needed.
      It isn’t the soil that breaks down the pathogens but the composting process and time. The hotter the composting process the faster the break down of things like e. coli. This is why there is a wait period between when fresh manure is spread on fields to when you are allowed to harvest edibles off that same field. If the manure is composted properly it is safe but it isn’t the soil that does it.

      As for the plants grown in the duck-a-ponics well I haven’t managed to grow much plants in it but what plants I have managed to grow in it I’ve let the ducks and chickens eat seeing as they are already drinking and swimming in the water I figure the plants can’t be any more dangerous to them.

  • Phil

    Out of curiosity, what if someone heated the heck out of some manure to kill all the pathogens (stinky!). Could they then use it as fertilizer? So interesting. Thanks so much for the advice!

    • TCLynx

      I find composting to be a good way to “heat the heck” out of the manure to kill the pathogens but I have heard of solar sterilizer units made in a relatively low tech fashion to render even human sewage useful as fertilizer.

  • Right now my ducks’ bath water is used to water the grapevines that are trained up and over their pen. The leaves that grow high provide shade and the leaves that grow low on the vines provide forage for the ducks. I’ve eaten the grapes, my ducks don’t care for them, without any ill effect. I’m trying to come up with a grander scale permaculture garden that involves less daily labor on my part (I currently drain their water every two to three days, sun it out for a day or two, and then refill) and more of a deliberate harvest.

    • TCLynx

      I see little/no danger of problems eating fruit that doesn’t touch the duck water directly from a duck system. I probably wouldn’t recommend lettuce and other raw veggies grown from duck water but I grow bananas in our set up and the ducks and chickens love the banana leaves.

      Now I’m still working on figuring out the best Duckaponics system since mine seems to need overhauls every 5 months but that is better than weekly I guess.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>