Hand Feeding your Koi

One of the most rewarding and entertaining things about having a
Koi pond is when your fish finally start eating out of your hand.
There is no better way to learn each fishes' personality and
temprament than to have them nuzzle your fingers when they are

The key to training your Koi to eat from your hand is patience
and conditioning. Like any wild animal Koi have a natural
distrust for anything that they think can hurth them, and you're
plenty big enough to do that as far as they are concerned.

If your goal is hand feeding then you need to start training from
the very first time that you feed a new fish. Of course, it's not
too late to start training your existing fish, but it's easier if
you start out that way.

If you have been feeding your fish by simply broadcasting the
food on top of the water then stop doing that immediately.
Instead, bring your feed bag next to the pond and kneel down.
Then, place a few pellets in your hand, submerge your hand, and
let the pellets slowly fall out. Don't worry if your fish seem to
not be paying attention. They know that your hand is in the water
and they know that pellets just appeared out of nowhere.

Eventually one or two will swim up and eat. When that happens,
the rest of them will follow. Continue slowly dropping pellets
from your hand until you have fed your normal amount. Repeat that
process for about a week.

The following week, set up as you did last week, but this time
submerge your hand and hold the pellets in your slightly cupped
palm. Hold your hand steady and don't make any movements.
Eventually at least one fish should come over and eat from your
hand. It is essential that you do not make any quick movements
while this is happening. Remove your empty hand and repeat the
process. If the fish will not approach your hand to feed, then do
not fedd them that day. They won't starve to death, believe me,
and they will be a little bit more likely to eat form your hand
the next time that you offer them food.

Once you have them to the point that they will eat form your
palm, it is time to teach them to take the food directly from
your finger tips. Simply grasp a pellet, submerge your hand, and
wait untilt he boldest fish approaches. Once he eats the others
will follow. If they don't you know what do to. Justfeed the ones
that will eat from your hand and let the others miss a meal.

Hunger is a great motivator for Koi...

Once you have your Koi eating out of your hands you can alternate
between normal feeding and hand feeding for those times when
you're in a rush and just can't sit down and enjoy your fish.

Brett Fogle is the owner of MacArthur Water Gardens and several
pond-related websites including macarthurwatergardens.com and
pond-filters-online.com. He also publishes a free monthly
newsletter called PondStuff! with a reader circulation of over
9,000 pond owners. To sign up for the free newsletter and
receive a complimentary 'New Pond Owners Guide' for joining,
just visit MacArthur Water Gardens by clicking the link above.

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