Big pond or more ponds?

Discussion in 'Habitat Forum' started by The Old Taz, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. The Old Taz

    The Old Taz Senior Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I bought this farm back in 2010 and have been working on it ever since to make it more and more attractive to ducks. Below is an image of when I first bought it. It just farmland mostly used for soya. The soil is clay so it holds water very well. Water runs from the southwest to the northeast and there are many level and undulations but not too bad. We are not on any flyway and not near any large bodies of water.

    upload_2017-12-14_14-55-57.png

    Every summer I would rent a skid steer and do what I could to create the large impoundment (3 acres) and a few retention/fishing/roost ponds. I didn't hunt it for the first 2 years. In 2012 I hunted and shot one duck. Of course I didn't give up. This is what I looked like last summer....

    upload_2017-12-14_15-6-2.png

    Luckily every year got better and better and this year we averaged over 11 birds per hunt over 10 hunts. To see 400 to 500 ducks per hunt in September and October was common. We are frozen out now....-18 Celsius last night.

    My question is should I keep it as it is (I cannot expand on the 3 acre pond whatsoever) or should I add another pond to the west (as shown below)? The second impoundment would be in the 4.5 acre range and a dozer would be needed. It would also sit about a foot or two below the 3 acre pond. The road must be kept for tractor/combine access. Flooded beans is an option but flooded corn is not, we freeze out before it is mature.

    upload_2017-12-14_15-15-30.png

    Thanks, Taz
     
  2. Porter Bayou

    Porter Bayou Senior Refuge Member

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    Mississippi
    Variety is the spice of life. If it were my place, I'd build the second inpoundment. Manage one for moist soil and "hot crop" the other. Down here corn and rice are the top 2 options. Not sure about the "hot crop" options for you canucks. Milo? The nutritional value for soybeans is virtually zilch after about 30 days of flooding. If soybeans were my only "hot crop" option, I'd rather plant willows in the new inpoundment and provide some thermal cover and manage the current inpoundment for moist soil.
     
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  3. DisplacedDuck

    DisplacedDuck Senior Refuge Member

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    Oklahoma
    +2 on Porter's wise words. Many others would agree, if you have the means to provide some more variety, do it. Research what the birds you see the most often prefer in the way of foods and go for that.
     
  4. theduckguru

    theduckguru Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    ohio
    Big pond with varying depths and very irregular shore line with points and bays.
     
  5. The Old Taz

    The Old Taz Senior Refuge Member

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    Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for the responses. Unfortunately it would be very difficult (nearly financially impossible) to expand upon the main pond unless I moved the existing road to the west. The grades are way off.

    My plan (wife permitting) is to expand upon the pond to the west. It would have some varying depths and a more irregular shoreline than shown. I would like to keep the water a little lower earlier so I could farm to the edges and flood to a certain extent later in the season. In our area the ducks seem to hit the beans hard, harvested or not.
     
  6. smashdn

    smashdn Elite Refuge Member

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    Palmyra, KY
    More ponds. Different depths and food sources in them if possible. Would you be able to flow water from one impounded into another?
     
  7. The Old Taz

    The Old Taz Senior Refuge Member

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    Ontario, Canada
    Yes, that pond to the southeast sits about 3 feet higher than the rest and is up to 8 feet deep and close to an acre in area. I have access to a bigger mini excavator this summer and plan to deepen and expand that pond as much as possible. I built and designed it to gravity feed into the impoundment to the north but it could easily flood the new impoundment too.

    That little pond to the northwest holds a fair bit of water but sits ~3 feet below the rest of them. I have a 3" and 2" pump that I use to move that water uphill.
     
  8. smashdn

    smashdn Elite Refuge Member

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    Hard to tell what is going on from pictures and description but I think my plan would be to hold water in my upper most pond, get barnyard grass or jap millet going in the lower ponds and use the upper held water to water or shallow flood the bottom ones to control weeds. As the upper drained down you could plant the edges. All the ponds stay wet or semi-wet so they hold better when rain comes.

    Fall is our driest time of year so water is at a premium. Four you it might be different though. If you are cultivating the ponds then you obviously want them dry enough to disc/plant/whatever.
     
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  9. The Old Taz

    The Old Taz Senior Refuge Member

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  10. DisplacedDuck

    DisplacedDuck Senior Refuge Member

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    Oklahoma
    +1 on what smashdn's plan of action. If you could feed water to impoundments 2, 3, etc. from the main one at will, you could plant what you want, when you want, and then shallow flood for weed control. A lot of folks would give an arm and a leg to have a set-up like that!
     

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