Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ducks and water.

We've had ducks for about a month now.  They love water.  They're in it all the time. 
It doesn't take them long to make the water look like this.
I don't know how often their water needs to be changed, but I think once or twice a day seems like a good idea.  Tipping the tub over and dumping all of the water at once will get the job done.  It also washes away the mulch.  This was no good.  So I decided to install a drain.
I started by drilling a hole and then installed a uniseal
Then I inserted a 3/4" section of PVC pipe with a valve on it and refilled the tub with clean water.
The ducks approve!
They've gotten big.
Now emptying the tub is as simple as turning a valve.  The pipe allows it to drain much more slowly so the mulch isn't washed away.

The next step was to automate the filling process.  I've been filling the tub from the rain barrels.  I have to keep an eye on it though and shut the water off when the tub is full.  Since I'm dealing with low pressure this can take a while.

The solution?  I picked up a float valve at Agri Supply.  I installed it by drilling a 3/4" hole near the top of the tub.
 I also had to remove some of the outer lip.  Otherwise the threads on the float valve wouldn't be accessible.
I screwed a drip irrigation fitting to the float valve and attached a short piece of irrigation tubing.  That tubing was connected to a garden hose by another barbed fitting and a FPT to FHT adapter.
I opened the valve on the rain barrel and the tub filled with water.  It took a while to fill, but eventually the water rose enough to close the float valve.
 The ducks were curious about the float valve.  They nibbled on it for a while. 
After the ducks finished their play time I decided to turn the float upside down.  This allows the tub to fill with an additional inch of water.  I don't know if the ducks care, but I figured why not.
This setup isn't fully automated.  I still have to manually drain the tub.  I could put a timer valve on the drain, but I haven't decided if I want to make that investment or not.

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