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nidz 05-01-2008 04:07 PM

Heron Deterant - Please Help
 
Hi, just looking for some advice.

Does anyone know how to keep herons away from ponds?

I opened by blinds this morning at 6.30am to find a grey heron (the big massive ones) stood next to my pond. I banged on the window and scared it off but by the time my dad went outside, all the fish had gone in both ponds :cry:

We're all really gutted. Some of the fish in the pond we've had since I was little (about 12 years). We have two ponds and five fish in each pond. One pond had a 30cm gold koi and a smaller goldfish, which then had offspring over the years to populate the rest of the ponds. Giving a total of a gold koi, a big goldfish and three black/gold smaller fish in one pond, and five black/gold fish in the other pond.

We have since found one black fish in each pond now and the gold koi carp. Totalling three ramaining fish.

We initially thought we'd lost the koi carp because we couldn't find it and it's so big to hide, but it appeared later on it the day. However, it does have scales missing where the heron has obviously grabbed it.

The gold koi is the fish we are most bothered about because we've had it such a long time. It's gone really quiet and is keeping very still at the bottom of the pond. I assume it's in shock (as I would be), especially losing its wife and its children in one day (we're assuming the koi was a male and the goldfish female, though that's probably completely wrong).

I know the likelihood of the heron coming back tommorow morning is very high so we've put a big wooden board over one pond so it reduces the herons chance of getting it and the koi has a big hiding place, we're also putting the net over the other pond to try and help the remaining fish.

Obviously these are not long term options and theres no point restocking the ponds for a good few months because it will just encourage the heron.

Anyone have any suggestions or experience in this?

Also this may sound like a really stupid thing to say but the koi and the goldfish swam everywhere together, I now think as well as being in shock my fish is mourning the loss of his wife. :?

Oh, just to mention, we have a big plastic heron which is suppose to deter them but the real heron was stood right next to the plastic one and was double its size. I thought I was seeing double until it moved.

willow 05-01-2008 04:34 PM

hello and welcome.
i can feel the upset you are going through,as i had the same thing
happen to me.
the netting is the best option i think you have.
the heron will return without fail in the morning,and will continue
until the food sorse has gone.
buy a fine netting like the ones for garden use.i found this the be
a huge help.
the fish were very quite for days,and i was not sure of the extent
of missing fish,until they began to surface.
it took even longer for my fish to even except me coming to feed them.
they use to eat from my hand.

nidz 05-01-2008 04:48 PM

I think that was part of the problem, the fish were too tame. The koi used to come to the top of the pond so you could stroke it and feed it.

We've had the ponds for about 5 years and not had any problems previously, we live near a big lake which regularly has a heron on.

Because of the time of year we've set all the filters working a couple of months ago and cleared the ponds out, the plants are just starting to grow back but because they're all cut back for winter it's very easy to see the fish at the minute as there isn't much shelter from the plants.

I was also thinking of getting lots of sea lettuce I think they're called, we've had them before and they have covered most of the pond but they die off in winter. I was hoping that would stop a heron seeing the fish.

nidz 05-01-2008 04:51 PM

Oh also does anyone know how long I don't feed a shocked fish for? We tried it with food this evening but it wouldn't surface. I assume it's like other animals where you don't feed them if they're in shock.

I'm also hoping my koi won't die overnight like some animals do with shock. :(

willow 05-02-2008 03:00 AM

personally thinking there should be sufficient grazing for them,
and as it's not really warm yet,i wouldn't worry
about feeding them just yet,give them a few days,and try again
with a very spare amount of food,so you don't end up with lots
of waste.
until the plants really make a come back,use the net.

finsNfur 05-04-2008 03:24 PM

I am so sorry for your loss! Fortunately I've not had any herons at my pond, but it worries me. One thing I've read you can do is provide a safe hiding place for your fish, such as a large flower pot turned on it's side under water. That and the net are the only deterrents I know of. Oh yes, I just remembered, you can buy some kind of motion sensor water squirter, that squirts water at detected movement. I can't remember what it's called, though.

nidz 05-06-2008 02:28 PM

Thanks for all the advice.

We have put a net over both ponds. Today the fish from one pond finally came up for food and the situation isn't as bad as first thought. There was the koi and three remaining black fish so we only lost the one big goldfish.

Still unsure about the other pond though because the fish are more cautious and they are really hard to see because they are all black. Hopefully most of them will have survived.

We have also put two large flat rocks over one corner of the pond so the fish have somewhere to hide and we are moving the plastic deterant heron around daily (which i've been told also helps).

The heron hasn't been back that we know of but is still around because my dad saw it this morning on the lake. It was being chased by some smaller birds/ducks, so I think it's busy causing trouble down there now :?[/list]

willow 05-06-2008 03:23 PM

glad you have had no more fish losses. :)

nidz 05-06-2008 04:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by willow
glad you have had no more fish losses. :)

Me too. I'm just glad I disturbed the heron when I did or it could have been a whole lot worse. Starting work at 7am does have some benefits.

I do dread every morning now opening the bedroom blinds, incase the heron is there again :cry: It was a horrible thing to wake up to and they're just so big, they remind me a bit of something from Jurassic Park. :?

willow 05-09-2008 02:50 AM

nice to watch at a lake,but not in your garden. :)
must have been awful to see,hope all goes well now,
and thing get better. :)


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