teaching your koi or goldfish to eat out of your hand

Many of our customers want to teach their koi and/or goldfish to eat from their hands. It is fun and this trick will not take long to learn! Go to the same spot by the pond each time you feed your koi. Start out by being as slow in movements as you can, so as to not startle the fish, and be as quiet as you can. Toss the food to the far side of the pond, away from you. The fish need to first get used to eating in front of you, but at a ‘safe’ distance away from you.

After about a week, slowly bend over or get on one or both knees and gently place your hand underwater right after you tossed the food to the other side of the pond, holding your hand still. Continue this step of letting them eat safely ‘way over there’, with your hand in the water for another week or so.

Then week by week toss the food about a foot or so closer and closer to the location of your hand. Remember to stay as still and quiet as you can so as to not spook them.

Finally after they are comfortable eating all around your hand, start putting the food in your closed hand underwater. Do not toss any loose food into the pond at this point. Try not to release any of the food from your hand. Try to only release one pellet at a time, after the first fish has tickled your hand. Yes, it tickles, as there are no teeth in their mouth area. Even after you have most of the fish eating from your hand, release the pellets very slowly so they will tickle you more and for a longer period of time. Believe me, they can smell the food in your hand. It may take a few feedings before one fish gets brave and comes right to your hand, but it’s usually very quick at this point. This is all about gaining their trust and this entire process will take around four weeks.

After you have really gained their trust the fish will tickle your hand any time you put it in the water. The koi and goldfish may actually start following you around the pond when you are walking by. Sometimes an individual koi will seem to ‘show off’ in some way as you are nearing the pond to feed them. Many times the koi and goldfish will trust you so much that they will sit in your hand or want to be gently petted.

A possible downside to training your koi and goldfish to eat out of your hand is that they will also come right up to a predator as well. If you believe there is a possibility of predators visiting your pond you may not want to train them to come up this way, but it is a lot of fun!