How to Keep Ducks Out of Your Pool (& What Not To Do)

Written by Michael Dean
September 21, 2023

duck in a swimming pool

Do you have ducks hanging around your swimming pool? They are intelligent and beautiful birds, but they are a bit of a nuisance if they regularly hang out in your pool water. Ducks are naturally drawn to water, so your pool may be attractive to them, but having them cruise around your swimming pool makes cleaning your pool an even more difficult task.

Below, I cover 16 strategies to keep ducks out of your pool, along with some risks of having them there, what not to do to remove them, and more frequently asked questions.

Main Takeaways

  • Pool covers are the best way to keep ducks out of your pool because the water is not exposed, so they won’t be able to land on it.
  • Ducks prefer natural bodies of water, so the cleaner your pool is, the less likely ducks will gather there.
  • It is illegal to harm ducks that enter your yard, so avoid any methods that could hurt or kill the ducks.

16 Strategies to Keep the Ducks Away

The good news is that there are countless ways to keep ducks away from your swimming pool area. All of my proven methods are safe for both you and the ducks.

1. Automatic Pool Cleaner

When ducks see an automatic pool cleaner, they will likely think it is another animal that lives in the water. When they see this strange creature moving around, they will get scared and likely vacate. Little do they know, this potential enemy is just the resident cleaner.

2. Pool Cover

You should cover your pool no matter what. But it comes in extra handy when fending off ducks. If your pool is covered, the ducks won’t be able to swim in your water. This method alone may not completely ward off ducks from your yard, so it may need to be combined with others. Be sure to wash any feces off the cover before removing and storing it.

3. Tall Plants

Ducks don’t like being around tall plants because, in the wild, they could harbor predators. Use this to your advantage by putting tall plants around your pool area to prevent ducks from making your yard their home.

4. Sprinkler

Another way to prevent ducks from swimming in your pool is strategically placing your lawn sprinkler near them. You don’t need to be running your sprinkler 24/7. A motion-activated sprinkler that turns on when it senses ducks will suffice.

5. Dogs

Dogs aren’t natural predators of ducks, which is good because you don’t want the ducks to be harmed. However, your dog’s existence and bellowing barks will deter ducks from wandering into your pool. Ducks are not likely to settle down in a backyard where a dog is constantly roaming.

6. Animal-Shaped Pool Toys

Toys may not be the most effective method, but it is proven to work in many instances. Look for pool toys shaped like different animals, such as alligators, sharks, killer whales, and more. Ducks will likely see the toys as predators and avoid your pool.

7. Get Rid of Bird Attractions

Bird attractions like bird feeders will attract ducks to your yard as well. They may stick around your yard even after you get them away from your pool. It’s unfortunate to take this action, but you may need to remove the feeders to prevent ducks from living in your yard. You should also avoid planting fruit-bearing trees in your yard, as this will attract ducks and other birds.

8. Use Surfactant

Surfactant is a product that lowers the water surface tension making it harder for things to float on the water. This means that birds, water spiders, and other insects will have a harder time staying comfortably in your pool water. Ducks will likely leave and not come back after you use surfactant in your pool.

9. Duck Repellent

Another great way to duck-proof your pool is to purchase Duck Off. It is entirely harmless to the birds and will prevent them from swimming in your water. Duck Off breaks your pool’s surface tension. As a result, ducks will avoid swimming there.

Unfortunately, Duck Off could negatively affect your pool by bringing in unwanted chemicals. I only recommend using it as a last resort.

10. Ultrasonic Pest Repellent

An ultrasonic pest repellent sends out high-frequency sounds that humans can’t hear but drive many animals crazy. It is harmless but effective at shooing them away. Be careful about solely relying on this method. After a while, the ducks may get used to it and resume their residence.

11. Windchimes

Windchimes work wonders at keeping birds out of your yard. The sound they make may be relaxing, but it annoys birds so much they will stay away from your yard and pool.

12. Place Shiny, Reflective Objects Around The Pool

Ducks are threatened by shiny objects and reflections. Try placing some CDs, a disco ball, mirrors, or other shiny objects around your pool’s perimeter to scare off the birds.

13. Lights

You may also consider installing flashing lights around your pool to scare off the ducks. Similar to how shiny reflective objects threaten the birds, flashing lights will scare them away from your pool.

14. Inflatable Eyeballs

While these items might seem better suited for Halloween, they can really help. They are inflatable balls covered with an eyeball design. To a duck, they look like a predator ready to attack, so they will fly away.

15. Fake Owls

Owls are natural predators of ducks, so putting up a couple of plastic owl props should scare off most birds. You can also purchase fake owls that make realistic owl sounds.

16. Keep Up With Pool Maintenance

It may sound repetitive, but weekly pool maintenance and cleaning is the best practice I can preach. Not only does it keep up the appearance and safety of your swimming pool, but it will also likely lessen the chance of ducks swimming in the water. Ducks prefer natural-looking bodies of water. So when pool water has balanced chemicals and no debris floating around, it is not as attractive for them.

What Not to Do

All of these methods will help you harmlessly get rid of ducks. Each method has pros and cons, but none of my strategies will hurt the birds.

Other sites may recommend using a fishing line or bird netting to handle your duck problem. But with these methods, the ducks can get tangled up and seriously injured. Your solution to ducks in your pool should never be a harmful one.

It’s not just an ethical matter. Ducks are among the fowl included in the Migratory Bird Act. This law means that harming a duck on your property by your efforts could land you in legal trouble.

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Why You Should Keep Ducks Out of Your Pool

It can be exciting the first time you see ducks in your pool. However, the novelty wears off quickly. They can be highly annoying when you are trying to swim. Plus, they can severely toxify the water, leading to potential health problems for you and your family.

Ducks nesting in your swimming pool could potentially spread E. Coli or salmonella, among other diseases. Furthermore, ducks can wreak havoc and leave their droppings on the area surrounding your pool.

Not only are they bad for your pool, but the pool is also bad for the ducks. Regularly ingesting chlorine-filled water can lead to the ducks becoming unwell and could even result in death.

It is best for both parties to prevent ducks from making your pool their home in the long run.

Why Do Ducks Like Pools?

Ducks love calm and spacious bodies of water. They are water birds, so they thrive in water, and during the summer, a pool can be a great sanctuary from the heat.

Ducks also have many predators, like coyotes, badgers, and foxes. These creatures can go after their eggs and ducklings. Unless your backyard runs amok with these animals, ducks will feel safe in your yard and pool area.

Get Rid of Ducks Safely

These animals don’t mean to cause you any trouble. Many of their populations are endangered. With natural predators on the loose and the overdevelopment of forested areas, ducks are being forced to interact more and more in residential areas.

There are so many harmless ways to keep ducks out of your pool. Whether you’re looking to evict ducks from your pool or create a general barrier, these methods will do the trick.

Let me know how these methods work for you, or tell me if you have any other safe methods to keep ducks out.

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