Interacting with the koi in your pond on a more personal level is not only a source of great fun, but it can also be a very rewarding experience. Koi (like humans!) are known to have changes in mood and this is all related to how comfortable and safe they feel in their environment. One way to ensure that they remain happy is by building a relationship with them through this act of hand feeding. By the stage that your koi are at ease with you and the home you have given them, you’ll have them eating out of the palm of your hands!
One of the first things to attend to even before you attempt to build this relationship is the pond conditions. By observing the movements of your koi, you will be able to see if they are at all anxious, stressed or scared in their environment and that is all to do with the conditions of the pond and its surroundings. Take care of this and you will have happy koi, and with happy koi you might just have yourself some long-lasting friends.
Making your koi comfortable
It might seem odd to call your koi friends, but it is the case that koi have quite impressive memories, loyalties to their owners (and food providers!) and also individual personalities. Evidence to suggest that koi remember a face, much like a dog, indicates that it is a more than worthwhile endeavour to build a relationship with them up close and personal. Not only that but, by getting close to your koi at feeding time, you will be able to inspect them for any signs of injury, disease, or other health related issues which might be present.
So, what is the key to getting your koi to come up to you at feeding time? Well, one of the most important things to consider is location and timing. As koi have an evolutionary suspicion of anything approaching the pond at random times in the day (as they construe such an occurrence as the sign of a potential predator) it is crucial to come to the pond at the exact same time in the day each day, and also approach the water from the exact same spot. With your koi attuned to this consistent routine, they will understand not to be wary or afraid.
Building a relationship
Also very important is to temporarily cut off feeding and then after six days or so recommence by throwing small amounts of food in one spot nearest to you in the pond whilst either standing or sitting close by to the water’s edge. As the koi are hungry, they may well venture over. But, if they do not then have no fear! Though they might not yet have been comfortable enough to approach, they will have seen you and so the next few times you approach (at the same point in the day and at the same spot by the pond) they will be more likely to come over.
Eating out of the palm of your hands!
Soon enough, after consistent repetition, they will be associating you with feeding time and will come over to feed at that spot. At this stage, try to pinch the food in your hand above the water and they should start to be confident and comfortable enough to take the food from your hand. And from there, the relationship will grow stronger and stronger. The only things you need to bear in mind is that you should wash your hands thoroughly before and after feeding time, and also that, whichever way you are feeding you koi, the quality of the food remains paramount.