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5 Secrets to Keeping Ducks out of Your Swimming Pool

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Get the Duck out of my Pool! Ducks in Swimming Pool

Ducks in a Swimming Pool Can Make You Sick

Ducks and geese are naturally attracted to water, especially if they consider that water to be a safe place and a clear swimming pool suggests just that. Migrating water fowl often need a place to take a break and rest their weary wings, then there are those that opt for what seems to be a permanent residence. There are lots of remedies out there that you hear time and time again: Get a solar cover; Don’t feed them (duh); Plant tall plants; and, a personal favorite, Floating Eyeball Balloons. We wanted to add 5 lesser known options to the list. Ducks in Swimming Pool.

Get a Gator Decoy

A floating alligator decoy will do the trick, but find one that is designed to keep unwanted guests away from koi ponds. They tend to be a bit more realistic. The floating gator heads that are designed for swimming pools do not have the same success. I’ve actually used the Aquascape model (pictured) in my personal pool and found that the movement in the “hinged” sections adds quite a bit to the decoys value as a deterrent: Aquascape Koi Fish Pond Floating Crocodile Alligator Predator Decoy (2 Pack)

Ducks in Swimming Pool 🦆

Motion Activated Sprinkler

Motion activated water sprinklers do a great job startling ducks and geese. When ever the sensor detects movement it shoots out two to three bursts of water in the direction that you had aimed it. This unit, the Critter Ridder Motion-Activated Animal Repellent & Sprinkler (shown), can both detect motion and send bursts of water up to 100 ft from the sprinkler. Bursts are quick and short using only 3 to 4 cups of water. Gives your pool 24/7 duck monitoring prevention: Havahart 5277 Motion-Activated Animal Repellent & Sprinkler, 1 Pack, Green

Bird Netting

Folks have reported some success in running fishing line above the pool in a crisscross or lattice-style pattern to provide a barrier overhead. Bird Netting will provide the same barrier, but the pre-woven design will be a heck of a lot easier to install overhead. Made of UV resistant nylon multifilament, these aviary nets provide a reusable barrier to all water fowl up overhead. Large pool? No problem. The netting is available in both 1″ & 2″ mesh and in sizes from 25′ x 50′ feet through 100′ x 100′: boknight 25′ X 50′ Net Netting for Bird Poultry Aviary Game Pens New 1″ Square Mesh Size (25’×50′-1”)

Automatic Pool Cleaner

An automatic pool cleaner may do the trick. Any type, suction or pressure side, will help to startle unwanted feathered guests, but these solar-powered skimming models add a whole new level of fowl frightening technology as they travel about the surface. Birds, including geese, are fairly skittish to start with, add something to the pool that will actually sneak up on them and you are likely to see them flying. We had actually conducted a product review on these Solar Breeze units about a year ago to access their benefit as a cleaner and did have quite a few positive things to say about the units themselves, but in the process we found that startling wildlife was an unexpected surprise. Scares Ducks and Skims the pool To see our review on the Solar Breeze NX2: Solar Breeze NX2 Product Review
Solar Breeze – Automatic Solar Powered Pool Cleaner NX Cleaning Robot

Add a Surfactant

Adding a surfactant to water will actually make water “wetter”. Water molecules are fairly sticky with one another and this allows them to have quite a bit of strength, or surface tension. When a surfactant, such as Jack’s Magic Surface Magic, is added it reduces that tension by pushing those water molecules further apart. The main purpose in the product is to rid the water of surface debris, such as leaves, dust and pollen by forcing them closer to the side of the pool for easy removal. The side benefit of reducing surface tension is that it makes it more difficult for things to float. Birds will have to put in a little more effort to swim in your pool and when made slightly uncomfortable will likely leave. On top of that, water bugs and water spiders will face similar difficulties and will not frequent the swimming pool either: Jack’s Magic Surface Magic, 2 oz

Why Keep Ducks out of The Pool?

Ducks and geese carry different diseases that people can get. They can be introduced to your pool when they defecate in the water. Chlorine, at the recommended ranges, can easily destroy many of these waterborne zoonoses, but others can be quite resistant. According to the CDC, duck and goose droppings may might contain germs such as E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, or Cryptosporidium (“Crypto” for short). Cryptosporidium is the same protozoa associated with a human diarrhea incident and is one of the most chlorine resistant zoonosis we see in recreational water illness treatment/prevention. The CDC recommends treating your pool the same for bird poop in the water as you would a human solid stool: CDC Fecal Incident Response Procedures

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Related Story: is it safe for a dog to swim in the pool


Rudy Stankowitz is a 30-year veteran of the swimming pool industry and President/CEO of Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants

This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Jennifer Rock

    Oh my goodness! I can’t imagine ducks in my pool! We just set up a pool for the very first time so hopefully this won’t be a problem!

  2. Kelly

    I love the floating alligator decoy. If we ever install a pool, I’m going to get one just to have

    1. Deevon Schisler

      Our community bought one…It cost us 79.00 at the pool supply house. We found a duck sitting on it’s head…Save your money.

      1. Rudy

        Deevon – Great point, and that is exactly the reason we recommend the decoys designed for koi ponds versus the decorative types common for swimming pools.

  3. Janell MCKinney

    I found this pretty funny, I guess its just something we don’t have to worry about around here. I am sure these are great tips though and the choice of rubber ducky images was great

    1. Rudy Stankowitz

      Hi Janell! Thank you & thank you for reading. Surprisingly, we get call on this exact subject from cities across both North & South America. I like the rubber duckies too ?

      1. Mike Mulvutn

        My pool is in a downtown area. Neighboring buildings have many pigeons a.k.a. “sky-rats”. Aside from keeping chlorine around 7ppm and constantly scooping feathers, what other precautions should be taken?

        1. Rudy Stankowitz

          Hey Mike, thanks for reading! Birds, ducks & geese carry crypto, as stated in the article. You’ll need to be on the lookout for droppings and treat accordingly.

  4. Craig Sears

    Great article, Rudy. I am also wondering if you have tips to rid pools of frogs. 🙂 Will the surfactant have any effect on frogs in the pool?

    1. Rudy Stankowitz

      Thanks Craig! I have a few tricks up my sleeve in that area as well. ? Info coming shortly.

  5. Clyde

    I don’t have a swimming pool but these are really great tips and very helpful in case I’ll have a pool in the future. 🙂

  6. Hoang Vi Fessenden

    Hahha omg I didn’t know this was such a problem, we have a swimming pool also on the water as well and it’s not happened once. Crazy.

  7. Neil Alvin Nicerio

    Thank you for this informative post. 🙂

  8. The Frugal Samurai

    Haha, great post! We don’t have any ducks in our pools thank goodness.

  9. Nicole Marie

    I think that gator decoy would scare me more than the ducks!

  10. Haroon Ejaz

    I love ducks they are adorable… but they should be kept away from pools… So thanks for the tips!

  11. Nursery rhymes girl

    Ha ha 🙂 I never knew this happens and I love the very 1st idea 🙂 I read you regularly. Thanks for all the things that you write. Gonna join a swimming class in the future, cuz um still not an expert. Thanks again 🙂

  12. Lorita

    But ducks are so cute ! Why would you want to keep them away? I’d keep them as pets. Lol Luckily I don’t have a pool!

  13. siennylovesdrawing

    thanks for sharing this, so cute & lovely. A refreshing read I had. cheers, siennylovesdrawing

  14. Tracy C.

    I love the hinged alligator decoy! So cute, yet effective!

  15. Ashley

    I do not have a swimming pool but this was informative. I didn’t realize that ducks cause illness.

  16. Everything On A Plate

    We love ducks! Though yes, they can be a total nuisance for pool owners! some really great tips here.

  17. blair villanueva

    I think it looks cute to see ducks enjoying the swimming pool. You can’t blame them 😀

  18. Hackytips

    Summer is here and it’s time to protect pools. Very useful post!

  19. Kay Enslin

    We are having a problem with what I would call a “married” couple of ducks. It has gotten to the point when we get them to leave, they either go sit on the outside of the fence or up on our roof and wait until we leave and go right back into the pool. Our dog will chance them away, but again they just come back. I’m going to try some of your other ideas, and see if any of them work. Thanks for the ideas.

    1. Rudy Stankowitz

      Fishing line strung back and forth above the pool, zig-zag & criss-cross, above reach seems to work as well.

  20. Linda Sutkiewicz

    We just started getting ducks in our pool after 30 years of owning it! The only thing we can think of is 2 summers ago we took off the side rails. Maybe they just now noticed. Lol We have a Solar cover yet the first duck we had was standing in the middle of the pool on the solar cover! 3 days later 2 ducks were standIng on the side. I think we will try putting a pool float out on the middle of the solar cover see if that helps. Thanks for the tips. Can’t believe after all these years we are now having this issue..

    1. Rudy Stankowitz

      Oh wow. It has taken them some time to find you. Perhaps with all of the recent travel restrictions in place, they are opting to vacay closer to home and your site is offering the best amenities. ? Many have had good luck with the tactics mentioned. Best of luck in evicting your new tenants. ??

  21. William Mather

    I’m considering a pool specifically for my ducks, the only concerns I have is drainage & durability,

    1. Rudy

      Thank you for reaching out, William. However, it is because of your reasons noted that a waterfowl equipment & supply site may better suit your needs. Best of luck in your search!

  22. John B.

    I installed a whirligig next to my pool and have not had any problems with ducks since. Make sure its large and colorful. Mine is bright red in the shape of a cardinal. I used a flower pot with rocks to mount it and set it on a table so its high and very visible.

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