Ducks who have set up camp in your backyard pool can be a real pain. Here’s how to get rid of them!

updated: November 10, 2021

Ducks love pools because it’s in their genes to seek out inviting bodies of water. And what could be more appealing than your gorgeously designed backyard oasis that looks like a fun-to-swim-in pond?

Ducks can be incredibly adorable and a pure joy to watch. However, a pair of these waterfowl cavorting in your beloved backyard pool can be a precursor to them mating and laying eggs near it. This is probably something you don’t want to happen for a variety of reasons. Therefore, you should probably find a way to convince them to fly away to a more appropriate destination before this happens.

Mandarin ducks swimming in the pool.
Having ducks in your pool is as bad for them as it is for you

Wild animals can carry disease-causing bacteria and viruses, including ducks. These include E. coli, bird flu, and salmonella. Typically, the chlorine in your pool annihilates those health-destroying contaminants. However, suppose the pool isn’t correctly chlorinated. In that case, that’s not going to happen, and you can’t really afford to take a chance.

Additionally, some of these diseases might spread through the fowl’s feces. If you accidentally come into contact with the stuff, you could be at risk of getting sick. However, humans aren’t the only ones imperiled when waterfowl populate a backyard swimming hole. That’s because having ducks in your pool is just as bad for them as it is for you. If they drink the heavily chlorinated water in it, they could suffer massive kidney damage.

9 Duck Deterrent Methods

Man covers a swimming pool with the solar cover.

1. Get Yourself a Solar Cover

The way solar covers are usually used is to prevent water evaporation and trap solar radiation. However, keeping a solar cover on your pool at all times will also prevent waterfowl from taking a dip in your pool water. Try to find one that snugly fits your pool, so ducklings won’t find a way to sneak in. If they do, they might get stuck, necessitating a rescue from a human.

2. Invest in a Motion-Activated Sprinkler

A motion-activated sprinkler sprays water once it senses movement. Most ducks will haul tail once this happens.

3. Plant the Right Kinds of Plants (and Avoid the Wrong Ones)

Ducks don’t like to be in places where they can’t spot predators. That’s why it’s best to plant tall shrubs instead of short perennials around your pool. At the same time, don’t plant anything that produces fruit because ducks will only stick around your yard for the all-they-can-eat buffet.

4. Get Yourself Some Scary Looking Pool Toys

Inflatable crocodile floats in the pool.

Wild ducks have evolved to avoid predator-infested bodies of water. You can leverage this bit of knowledge by tricking them into thinking your pool is just that.

To put this brilliant plan into action, keep a few inflatable pool toys floating in your pool when it’s not in use. Get inflatables that look like frightening animals, such as a snake, killer whale, or an alligator.

However, this method isn’t foolproof. That’s because some ducks are too smart for their own good and can’t be fooled by decoys. Once they know the inflated plastic isn’t a threat, they’ll just ignore it.

5. Buy Some Plastic Owls

Owls are natural predators of ducks. Therefore, setting up a few plastic facsimiles of these hooting birds might scare them off. Try to get the ones that make noises and move for the best results.

6. Enlist Your Canine as an Unpaid Duck Bouncer

Dog walking near the swimming pool.

Let’s say your dog has access to the pool area at all times. In that case, he’ll be able to bark at little avian invaders who are undeniably cute but who also can turn your pool into a disgusting mess. This should keep them far away from your backyard. However, I wouldn’t recommend this for dogs who have trouble swimming or tend to fall into the pool and can’t get out.

Keep in mind that not all canines have an inclination to bark at and chase waterfowl. However, you can often train reluctant dogs to be more enthusiastic duck deterrers. On the other hand, not every species of duck is afraid of dogs. There will undoubtedly be some waterfowl out there imbued with massive amounts of courage. These birds will not only not be fearful of canine pool protectors but will dare the dogs to try to come at them.

7. Properly Maintain Your Pool

Keep your pool water fully chlorinated and free of floating debris. That way, it won’t mimic the appearance of a pond, making it inviting to ducks.

8. Have an Automatic Pool Cleaner on Patrol

The strategic use of automatic pool cleaners is an excellent duck eradication strategy. Ducks will think a pool cleaner moving suspiciously about is a predator about to gobble them up. Even the sound of a pool robot’s onboard vacuum is often enough to scare them off.

The robot is cleaning the swimming pool.
Using the automatic pool cleaner is an excellent duck eradication strategy

It doesn’t matter which type of automatic pool cleaner you use. Pressure-side, suction-side, and robotic cleaners all will work as mechanical duck discouragers.

9. Use a Commercial Product

There are commercial products containing a chemical that breaks the surface tension of the pool water. This makes it impossible for ducks to float around. One such product is Duck Off, manufactured by a company called Lo-Chlor. However, this method should be used as a last resort because it’s probably not a good idea to add chemicals to your pool if you don’t have to.

Combine Methods

To keep your pool blessedly free from ducks, you might have to use more than one strategy over several days. As you experiment with methods, keep a close eye on avian comings and goings. When you stop seeing ducks using your pool as their own private resort for an extended period, you will have been successful, and you can cease your efforts. That is until the next duck invasion rears its ugly head…

Yellow and brown small cute ducklings bathing in the swimming pool.
What To Do If Ducklings Hatch In Your Pool

Despite your best efforts, there’s a chance that ducks can use your backyard as a hatchery. Pools are dangerous places for ducklings because they have no oil on their feathers when they emerge from their eggs. This can cause them to become waterlogged and drown if they have no means to exit the pool. To give them a helping hand, provide them with a ramp so they can waddle out.

Methods That Aren’t Recommended

Fishing Line

Some people use fishing line or bird netting they criss-cross over the top of their pools to keep ducks out. The waterfowl can’t see the string until they try to splashdown. Once they realize that a landing is an abject impossibility, they beat a hasty retreat.

However, this method can kill ducks and other animals that have the misfortune of encountering this cruel death trap. That’s because critters could get hopelessly tangled up in the line, unable to escape. This could maim them for life or even kill them.

Animal protection icon.

Killing Them

Whatever you do, don’t kill the ducks. They’re innocent creatures just trying to survive any way they can. We humans have displaced so many animals over the years because of the encroachment of civilization. That’s why many people feel we have an ethical duty to do all we can to protect wildlife from harm.

Besides, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes killing many avian species illegal. This includes 15 types of ducks, some of which are endangered.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it — nine ways to keep impossibly adorable yet potentially harmful waterfowl out of your backyard and away from your pool. Have you had any successes keeping ducks out of your pool? If so, let us know in the comments!

Our pool maintenance expert, Luke Reed, earned his BS in Civil Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1998. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of industries, including design and construction of luxury swimming pools.
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