Although cute from afar, finding ducks in your swimming pool can be frustrating. There is nothing worse than coming home from a long day’s work – itching to relax in your swimming pool, only to walk outside to find a raft of ducks!
Ducks love water and sometimes may end up in your swimming pool. If this is happening to you, keep floats or inflatable pool toys in the water, maintain your property, use an automatic pool cleaner, or purchase a solar cover to keep ducks out of your pool.
But hey – don’t worry too much! If you’re having a duck problem, we have the solutions you need to keep the ducks away for good. Keep on reading to learn how to get your ducks in a row, literally and figuratively, and by the end of this article – you will know exactly what to do to keep ducks out of your swimming pool!
What Does It Mean If Ducks Are In Your Swimming Pool?
We all know that ducks love water, and being that water is quite literally their livelihood, it’s almost no surprise that ducks sometimes end up in swimming pools.
Ducks end up in swimming pools because water makes a duck comfortable, and water is familiar to them – but if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck – it doesn’t belong in your pool!
Ducks are attracted to your swimming pool because it’s a source of water without any natural predators lurking around – they can take a quick dip with the luxury of feeling safe.
According to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks may also be swimming in your pool because your outdoor space creates ideal conditions for a duck to nest. If your yard has a lot of vegetation, especially overgrown grasses or shrubs, vegetables and fruit trees, or rye, lilies, or clover, you may be attracting ducks to your swimming pool without even realizing it.
Ducks will always build their nest within 100 yards of a water supply, preferably in overgrown vegetation.
Since they can hide in the vegetation, if you have overgrown vegetation in your yard paired with a swimming pool only a few feet away – your backyard has become a duck’s paradise.
Are Ducks Harmful To Pools?
Like we said earlier, we know ducks are cute – we love ducks here at Pest Pointers, but ducks come with some baggage, and that baggage is especially not great for your swimming pools.
If you already have a duck problem, we always suggest consulting with a professional before doing any of the tips below.
Ducks Can Be Messy
No matter what, ducks are wildlife, and they aren’t the cleanest – but they do like to take a bath – does bird bath ring a bell?
Your swimming pool is simply going to act as a giant bath for a duck, and that means, you’re going to have to add more chemicals and clean it every time a duck takes a dip!
Ducks Can Be Aggressive
The truth is, ducks can be kind of aggressive, and once they establish a sense of territory – ducks can become territorial over your swimming pool, especially if they have a mate or are mating .
Yes, ducks are a tad more aggressive when they’re mating as explained in the this paper published in Wildfowl.
If ducks overstay their welcome, there’s a good chance you are going to need professionals to come and get them out of your space. Heck, ducks also sleep on water, so its important to get them out before they make a bed of your pool!
Ducks Attract Other Unwanted Pests
Ducks can attract other unwanted pests into your yards, mostly of predators – predators who are no easier to get rid of.
Raccoons, coyotes, foxes, hawks, and even owls are predators of ducks, and if there are a lot of ducks accumulating in your swimming pool, you may start to attract these other pests.
If you have a duck problem, it’s time to act quickly – that way you ensure the safety of yourself, AND the ducks! So, without further ado, keep on reading to find 8 easy tips to keep ducks out of your swimming pool!
8 Easy Tips To Keep Ducks Out Of Your Swimming Pool
There are many different, easy, and cost-effective ways to keep ducks out of your swimming pool, but the most important thing is to be persistent and establish a routine, and the best place to start is with maintaining the property and surroundings.
Cleaning up and trimming overgrown vegetation, keeping the space and garbage tidy, and being consistent in whichever route you take, is going to help keep ducks out of your swimming pool.
After establishing your routine, it’s time to take action, and with these next 8 easy tips, your duck problem will be long gone.
Reduce The Grass Around The Swimming Pool
The first thing that you should do when trying to keep ducks out of your pool is to reduce the amount of grass around the swimming pool, while also ensuring that the surrounding area is kept tidy by trimming the grass and weeds.
Ducks are attracted to water, so having a swimming pool – already makes your yard a target for ducks, but the second part of this equation is that ducks are going to stay around if there is a place to nest – and grass, especially overgrown grass, is ideal for a duck’s nest.
According to the CDC, reducing the amount of grass around a swimming pool will help keep ducks away. They also recommend putting a barrier between any swimming pool and any grass to keep ducks out of your swimming pool.
Keeping up with a regular grass-cutting schedule to avoid any overgrown vegetation will make your yard less attractive to a duck since they won’t have a spot to nest and no longer have a grassy area that makes them feel secure.
Keep Inflatable Toys In Your Swimming Pool
Another great way to keep ducks out of your swimming pool is to keep inflatable toys or floats in the pool when it’s not in use.
According to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, an additional way to keep ducks out of your swimming pool is to choose brightly colored inflatable toys or floats, as the colors can scare the duck if they are unfamiliar with them.
Inflatable toys, especially in various shapes, sizes, and colors, will look threatening to a duck flying in the sky, and because of that, they will most likely avoid your swimming pool and find another spot to take a dip!
Ducks are going to see these inflatable toys as predators, and if you purchase some cute pool toys such as this Ride-on Sea Lion Pool Float or this Intex Giant Gator Ride-On Pool Float not only will they be fun for the whole family, but ducks are going to think these are actual sea lions and alligators, and will surely stay far away.
Keep Your Swimming Pool Covered When It’s Not Being Used
Arguably one of the most fool-proof ways to keep ducks out of your swimming pool is to cover it when it’s not being used. Purchasing a solar cover like the Blue Wave Solar Blanket is perfect way to protect your water while it’s not in use.
The Blue Wave Solar Blanket comes in various sizes and can fit all types of pools. Besides helping with your duck problem, this solar blanket conserves energy, minimizes heat loss, reduces evaporation, and is extremely durable.
Pool covers of any kind will help keep ducks out of your swimming pool, because ducks want to land on water, and will most likely not land on an unfamiliar surface.
Keep Plants Away From Your Swimming Pool
Although they may be pretty to look at, if you’re having a duck problem, it is best to keep all plants away from the pool.
Ducks are attracted to plants that provide edible nuts, fruits, or berries. To keep ducks out of your swimming pool it’s best to completely remove the plants or keep them at a distance.
Ducks, like most animals, like to eat. If you provide not only a swimming pool of water, but now some food right alongside the water – you are creating a duck’s dream location right in your backyard.
Not only is this a problem for you, but this will make wild ducks reliant on people, which is not good for them in the long run.
Run an Automatic Swimming Pool Cleaner
Ducks like still, relatively calm waters. So, if you add an automatic pool cleaner to your swimming pool it will create a ruffling under the water which will scare them and will make them think that a predator is nearby.
Not only is an automatic pool cleaner a new and unusual “predator” for a duck, but it also roughens up the water, and makes a loud vacuum noise that the ducks will hear coming from your swimming pool.
Plus, the fact that it moves around underwater, you will surely keep any ducks and any other pests away from your pool once installed because they will be fearful of it.
If you’re looking for an automatic pool cleaner the Dolphin Proteus DX3 Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner is an amazing option! Not only does it clean the pool with the touch of a button, but it’s a plug-and-play system which means no hoses or pumps are needed!
Equipped with a weekly scheduler, you can set it to clean at your own pace – every day, every week, or every month!
Add Bird Netting To Your Swimming Pool
Much like a solar cover would function, bird netting is something you can add to your swimming pool after hours, to keep ducks out of your swimming pool.
Made out of nylon with a square mesh design, bird netting is lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to use to cover your pool, especially if you know you won’t be swimming in it for a few days.
A good starting spot is this Bird Netting 50’x50′ with 2.4″ Square Mesh, it’s easy to use, extremely durable and long-lasting, easy to install, and provides maximum protection without harming any animals.
Let Your Dog Patrol The Area Around Your Swimming Pool
It may seem too easy, but if you have a pet – let them patrol the area!
According to U.S Fish and Wildlife Services, if you have had duck problems in the past, live by a water source, or know that there are a lot of ducks nearby, letting your dog snoop around your backyard will keep ducks away from your swimming pool.
And the best time to let your dog do this is when you notice a few ducks around, so they won’t stay and nest.
Your dog becomes a natural predator, even if your dog wouldn’t hurt a fly! Ducks are never going to take a chance to see if another animal is friendly or not, and it’s very unlikely that a duck will take a dip in your pool or start to nest in the surroundings if they know that a dog patrols the area.
Using Scents To Keep Ducks Out Of Your Swimming Pool
According to a journal article in the National Study of Medicine, ducks have a strong sense of smell that hasn’t always been considered. This piece explains that a duck’s sense of smell has a great impact on the sociability of ducks, which in turn, means that certain smells can keep ducks away from a space they are not welcomed.
AKA – your swimming pool!
So, with this information, there are some scents you can add to your outdoor oasis to keep ducks away!
Pet Hair Can Scare Ducks Away From Your Pool
One scent you can add to the backyard, especially if you have a pet, is taking clumps of your pet’s brushed hair, and adding it around the perimeter of your pool and outdoor space!
If ducks smell an animal, they are not coming close to your swimming pool.
Ducks don’t like the scent of Cayenne Pepper due to the strong aroma it provides.
If you want to add an extra layer of protection to the surround of your swimming pool, sprinkling cayenne pepper around the perimeter, or adding little cayenne pepper sachets in nearby shrubs, will help keep ducks away from your swimming pool.
Chili Pepper Will Deter Ducks
With the same idea as cayenne pepper in mind, the scent of Chili Pepper can also be extremely overwhelming to a duck and will definitely deter it.
There are a few ways you can use the chili pepper to keep ducks out of your swimming pool. You can create a chili pepper spray by boiling or soaking chili peppers in water and using the water in a spray bottle.
Generously spraying the chili pepper spray around your yard and the perimeter of the pool will likely keep the ducks out of your swimming pool.
If you are interested in using smells to get rid of ducks, consider reading our article on 7 scents that ducks hate.
Types of Ducks Most Commonly Found In Swimming Pools
More than anything, Ducks are a type of bird.
Going a bit further, we call ducks waterfowl which means that they are federally protected animals that are a valuable natural resource. Ducks are often referred to as waterfowl when speaking about game animals.
There are two main types of ducks that we often cross paths with, Puddle/Dabbling Ducks or Diving Ducks, however, there are many other types of ducks, and we’re going to talk more about that below!
The most commonly seen duck in your swimming pool is most likely called a Dabbling Duck or Puddle Duck – and their name speaks for themselves.
As mentioned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, ducks are commonly found in more shallow waters like marshes, ponds, lakes, smaller rivers, and you guessed it, the occasional swimming pool, the Dabbling Duck “dabbles” on shallow water surfaces eating small vegetation and aquatic plants, insects and larvae – anything at surface level.
You can recognize a Dabbling Duck because it often searches for food with its head while in the water, while its behind is pointing upright!
Dabbling Ducks can also feed off land and waddle around.
The most commonly seen duck species lies within this type of Dabbling Duck Category: The Mallard Duck.
The Mallard Duck
The best way to recognize a Mallard Duck is simply by listening! A female Mallard duck offers the trademark “quack” that we all learned, know and love.
Other than their signature sound, other ways to identify a Mallard Duck is by its exquisite colors! Male Mallard ducks have bright and beautiful metallic green heads, a white ring around their neck, a white tail, and black feathers on their body, while a female Mallard Duck has brown all around.
Both female (hen) and male (drake) Mallard Ducks have metallic feathers with a white border that can be seen when they spread their wings.
Other types of Dabbling/Puddle Ducks include The Black Duck, the Blue-Winged Teal, the Green-Winged Teal, the Wood Duck, the American Wigeon, and Pintails.
Other Types of Ducks
Other than the Dabbling Ducks, there are quite a few more types of ducks and waterfowl out there and can be divided into five categories:
- Dabbling Ducks
- Diving Ducks
- Sea Ducks
- Whistling Ducks
- Swans and Geese
Diving Ducks And Sea Ducks
The next most commonly seen ducks are Diving Ducks, also considered Sea Ducks – and these ducks are seen floating around in larger, deeper bodies of water. Think more ocean and less swimming pool.
Diving Ducks get their name because they will dive underwater for food. Rarely seen on land, a Diving Duck’s body is made to float on water and live amongst the sea.
A Diving Duck has large feet and legs that are positioned further back on its body – all of which help them swim in deep waters.
With duller, more neutral-toned, white, black, and brown colors, Diving Ducks are a sight to see and are commonly seen in large groups.
The most common type of duck in the Diving Duck category is called the Lesser Scaup – and get this – quacking isn’t their trademark. A hen makes a purring or growling sound, and a drake, although can make a very loud quack, typically makes a one-note whistling sound instead.
The Lesser Scaup duck has an overall purple-black color, while both females and males have charcoal-brown wings with a prominent white stripe or patch that’s on the perimeter of the wing.
The male will have a mostly black appearance, with a whiter-gray belly. A female is more dark brown with the same white belly.
The least common out of these 5 commonly seen ducks is the Whistling Duck, and one reason is that they’re not at eye level. Whistling Ducks are also known as Tree Ducks.
The Whistling Duck hangs out in the trees, dives down in the field to eat insects and vegetation, and will float in ponds. But when thinking of a pond, envision a golf course (surrounded by trees with decorative ponds), and more man-made habitats.
A Whistling Duck also gets its name because it has a very noticeable whistling sound!
Swans And Geese
Swans and Geese are another type of Anatidae (classification of animals that live in aquatic habitats) and are considered a type of waterfowl.
The largest aquatic animals, Swans, and Geese live amongst ducks, usually in lakes or ponds. They actually will live on the water and will nest nearby on land, much like a duck.
Swans or Geese can also find their way into your swimming pools, and the same ways to keep ducks out of your swimming pools will also work for Swans and Geese!
If you have geese near your home, take a peak at our guide on the things geese hate and how to use them!
If you’re having a duck problem, it’s best to get ahead of the game and try some of these easy tips to keep ducks out of your swimming pool.
Whichever tips you try, always remember that maintaining your property, keeping it tidy, and taking care of your surroundings is the best and easiest, and most effective way to keep ducks out of your swimming pool.
All in all, if these tips don’t help you, don’t be worried, check out these 8 other ways to keep ducks away for good!
Caro, Samuel P, and Jacques Balthazart. “Pheromones in Birds: Myth or Reality?” Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
PRANGE, H. D., & SCHMIDT-NIELSEN, K. N. U. T. (1970). The metabolic cost of swimming in ducks. Journal of Experimental Biology, 53(3), 763-777.
Biewener, A. A., & Corning, W. R. (2001). Dynamics of mallard (Anas platyrynchos) gastrocnemius function during swimming versus terrestrial locomotion. Journal of Experimental Biology, 204(10), 1745-1756.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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