SPRING AND KOI
It’s time to recognize the glorious signs of spring. Everyone is talking about the record breaking warm temperatures and early spring of 1212. The crocuses were blooming in March, and so are the daffodils and forsythia. Cherry trees are swollen with new buds and the maples are leafing out. But nobody has mentioned the Koi. Koi are a species of fish originating in Japan and known for their beautiful colors, graceful movement, and impressive size. Koi ponds are becoming popular as highlights of home gardens; they add a fascination for living creatures to the plant world. Our Koi Pond “came with the house.” We didn’t install it: the former owners of our house did. Therefore we inherited a Koi Pond.
Our friends, and anyone who stops by to read meters, deliver packages or cut grass are fascinated by them. The most common question they ask is, “What happens to them them in the winter?”
In winter the Koi’s metabolism slows down and they go into hibernation, much as bears do. They need no food during those cold months. Only when the temperatures creep back up to 50 degrees can they resume their normal feeding schedule.
Early in the spring, when the temperatures fluctuate so wildly, they start the season with light snacks. Surprisingly, a favorite choice for beginning the feeding is Honey Nut Cheerios. Imagine children of Koi hobbyists wrestling with the Koi for their Honey Nut Cereal. If General Mills knew about this extra use for their product they could launch a new advertising campaign aimed at fish hobbyists.
The Koi zoom to the edge of the pond to get their first season’s taste of their favorite cereal to get them eating again after their long winter of hibernation. From Honey Nut Cheerios they graduate to regular Cheerios, then on to wheat germ pellets, which accelerate the digestive process.
Then comes the big day: the Koi finally get to eat their normal diet of Growth Pellets: a blend of protein, fats and fibers laced with dried seaweed, soybean and vitamins. Their feeding schedule increases up to four times a day. Their growth rivals that of thriving summer flowers.
But all is not perfect in the peaceful Koi pond. A dangerous creature lurks overhead, longing for a tasty meal. The Heron. Herons fly overhead searching for a substantial feast. They do not swoop down from the air and catch a fish, as a pelican would. They land nearby and walk to the pond, seeking entry to their quest.
That is why ponds are built with steep rock walls; if the access to the pond were easy to walk to and wade into, the Koi would suffer large losses. To protect them from heron attacks we installed a motion detector called “The Scarecrow.” Every time anything approaches the pond a noisy, powerful spray of water turns on, frightening living creatures from getting too close. The Koi become quite tame, and swim to the edge of the pond when they sense a human bearing food pellets. Welcome, summer, and welcome to our Koi Pond.