How To Deter Ducks From Getting Into Your Pool
It’s important to keep ducks away from your pool in order to keep it clean and safe for your family and guests to use, but this can present a challenge. Those pesky ducks can be harder to get rid of than you might think!
To help, we’ve gathered a list of the most recommended methods to stop ducks from getting in your pool, sourcing information from real people who have tested these methods.
#1 - Keep Your Pool Covered
One of the easiest ways to keep ducks out of your pool is to keep your pool covered. Many types of covers are available, such as a leaf cover, which can be used to cover your pool while it's not in use.
This method keeps ducks out of your pool directly, but there are some drawbacks. Some pool owners note that duck visitors are not deterred, and instead choose to sit on the pool covers.
This is especially common if water has accumulated on top of your pool cover. To avoid the chance of your pool cover attracting ducks, regularly drain any rainwater off of your pool cover.
Another downside of using pool covers is that they can be a more labour-intensive option, making it less than ideal for those who like to use their pool frequently. Removing and re-securing the cover each time you want to use your pool is a more viable option for those who only use their pool every now and then.
#2 - Remove Bird Feed and Baths
If ducks are still drawn to your yard even though your pool is covered, there may be other reasons why they are showing up. Sometimes ducks can be attracted to bird feeders and bird baths, especially if they are able to access them.
Luckily, bird feeders and bird baths do not always have to be removed if they are causing a duck problem in your yard. Before tossing these landscaping decorations aside completely, consider ways that you may be able to duck-proof them.
For example, bird feeders are mostly fine as long as ducks cannot access them, but you should also watch out for scattered bird seed underneath your feeder that may be appealing to ducks and work to prevent any spillage.
Bird baths that are attracting ducks can be moved to locations situated underneath awnings or shade trees, which will deter ducks from them while allowing you to continue to enjoy other birds.
If you are not able to keep ducks away from your bird baths or feeders after making these adjustments, it may be time to consider removing any accessible bird feeders and bird baths from your yard.
The biggest disadvantage of using this method to keep ducks away from your pool is that native Australian birds like mynas, kookaburras and lorikeets may also stop visiting your yard, which is probably why you installed it in the first place!
#3 - Keep Tall Plants Around the Pool
Ducks are the prey of many natural predators, so they instinctively seek out environments where it is easy for them to observe their surroundings. They prefer to choose wide-open settings that allow for a quick escape when necessary.
By keeping taller plants around your pool, you can discourage ducks from landing in your yard because they will not regard the area as safe. Some examples of plants that people use to discourage ducks from hanging out around pools include shrubs, hedges, and tall varieties of decorative grass.
This method is recommended by the RSPCA.
When selecting plants, it is important to keep the type of plant and its proximity to your pool in mind to avoid creating extra debris in your pool. Using flowering plants or plants that drop leaves early in the season may increase your chances of pool contamination.
While some pool owners find pool debris such as this to be a nuisance, automatic skimming machines make a great option to remove any potential debris with little hassle. Many pools come pre-equipped with a skimmer, but you can also find independent ones available for purchase.
Also bear in mind that plants with large root systems can damage the finish around your pool, cracking tiles and anything else in their path over time. This can be an expensive problem, so it might be worth using potted rather than in ground plants!
Discuss this with a landscaper (example of some pool landscapers in Brisbane) before committing to any particular trees or plants!
#4 - Animal Shaped Pool Toys
It may sound funny at first, but many pool owners say that leaving large, animal-shaped, inflatable pool toys in your pool is a great way to deter ducks. The reasoning behind this is that ducks may mistake these pool inflatables for predators, which scares them away from your pool.
Animal-shaped inflatables with large eyes are typically the most effective. Some people have even used batches of beach balls with eyeball designs on them to scare away any potential duck visitors, but as you can imagine, this would largely affect the aesthetic of your space and may scare away more than just the ducks!
If you are considering this method, you should also consider the cons of leaving pool toys in your pool for long periods of time. Increased exposure to sun and pool chemicals like chlorine will cause your pool toys to degrade faster than if they were stored away.
#5 - Using Predator Decoys
Using decoy predators, such as faux crocodiles, owls, or snakes can be a great way of deterring ducks, but this method is not foolproof. Many decoys are not realistic enough to trick ducks, which can make them entirely ineffective.
Some decoy-users have even reported seeing ducks sitting right on top of their decoys, which is not something anyone wants to see after investing in a new duck repellent method.
In order to find good decoys, we suggest finding animal models with large eyes. Additionally, animal decoys that imitate natural movement have been noted to be especially effective by other pool owners. Many decoys are available that come equipped with mechanically operated or wind activated motion.
A downside of using predator decoys is that it can be hard to estimate their effectiveness before investing in one. It is always crucial to thoroughly check the customer reviews of any decoy you are considering purchasing.
It’s also important to remember that a decoy that works for one person could be ineffective for your pool for a number of reasons. Because using predator decoys yields unreliable results, we recommend investing in more consistently effective methods.
#6 - Chemical Duck Repellent
Chemical duck repellents can sound intimidating if you are unfamiliar with them, but they are a safe option for both humans and ducks, as well as any other animals. They’re easy to add to your pool, and one five-litre jug of No More Ducks can treat a pool of up to 50,000 litres.
Chemical duck repellents work by introducing more minerals to your pool, which changes the surface tension of the water and makes ducks less inclined to float on it. This explanation may seem overly scientific, but the same thing also occurs when you dissolve epsom salts in your bath water, or in float spas.
There are minimal downsides to using chemical deterrents for ducks, but a few users have mentioned foaming or a noticeable smell when adding the product to the water for the first time. Although these effects should only be temporary, they are important to consider if you intend to use your pool shortly after introducing the chemical duck repellent.
It’s also worth noting that No More Ducks can make it difficult for ducklings to get out of the pool, and there is the potential for them to drown, so only use this product if you are dealing with some insistent adult ducks!
#7 - Netting Over the Pool
One widely discussed option for deterring ducks is installing netting over your pool. You can purchase nets intended for this purpose, or you may choose to make your own netting at home. Some pool owners use fishing line to create their own netting, but there are risks involved.
While netting can be effective at keeping ducks out of your pool, it is not a very safe option for the ducks. Netting that is hard to see, especially such as the fishing line netting mentioned above, can be undetectable by ducks that are coming in for a landing. This can cause ducks to get tangled up.
Ducks that get tangled up in netting can be difficult and stressful for you to remove. Being caught in the netting may also cause damage or death to the duck, which is not an enjoyable sight for you or your family members. For this reason, we recommend other methods of keeping ducks away from your pool.
#8 - Outdoor Dog or Cat
An outdoor dog or cat can be a great option for keeping ducks scared away from your swimming pool. Pets that are naturally playful will chase after ducks instinctually, and ducks will begin to learn that your area is unsafe for them.
This method sounds easy enough, but it is not always guaranteed to be effective. There are a few things you should keep in mind if you are considering using this method to stop ducks from occupying your pool.
First it is very crucial to make sure that your dog or cat is comfortable and safe around your pool. Animals can fall into pools accidentally when you least expect it, so if you are unable to keep an eye on your pet, it is important that they are a confident swimmer and can get out of the pool on their own.
It is also important to be realistic about the effectiveness of your pet. While a younger, more energetic cat or pup may chase after any animal that moves, an older animal may be more inclined to let the ducks roam unbothered. Consider your pet’s nature around wild animals before employing this deterrent method.
#9 - Ultrasonic Animal Repellers
Another commonly used option for keeping ducks away from your pool is an ultrasonic animal repeller. These machines work by producing a high-pitched tone that ducks and other animals find disturbing.
While the tone produced by these emitters is inaudible to humans, it is supposedly uncomfortable for ducks to be around, so they will avoid spending time in or around your pool.
In saying this, I have tried this method personally and found that it didn’t work very well. The birds seemed to be unaffected by the ultrasonic noise, yet I could hear it sometimes and it made me uncomfortable!
Basically, it was worse for me than it was for the ducks! For that reason, I don’t recommend this method, but your mileage may vary.
Another negative aspect of ultrasonic animal repellers is that it likely will be disturbing to your own pets, if you have any.
#10 - Pool Cleaning Robots
This next deterrent method gives a second use to something that you may already own by using automatic pool cleaners to scare away unwanted ducks. The idea behind this method is that the motions, noise, and water disruption produced by these pool-cleaning machines may disturb the ducks enough to keep them away.
Although this is a good idea in theory, many people find that this method is not very effective. Lots of pool owners with automatic cleaners report just as many duck invasion problems as owners without these cleaners, making this deterrent a fairly unreliable option.
If you are considering investing in an automatic pool cleaning machine for duck deterrent purposes, then your money is likely better spent elsewhere due to the unpredictability of results. However, if you were considering investing in a cleaner anyways, it may be worth testing as a duck deterrent method.
#11 - Automated Sprinkler Systems
Automatic sprinklers on the other hand are a widely trusted method for deterring all types of animals, and are an extremely effective way of stopping ducks from invading your pool.
A motion activated sprinkler can be a more affordable and natural option that many people consider more humane than other deterrents.
Automated sprinklers make a great option for keeping ducks away from your pool while maintaining the aesthetic of your outdoor space. Compared to other deterrents, this sprinkler system takes up less space in your yard, and can easily be shut off when you want to access your pool.
Another important feature of automated sprinklers is that they make efficient use of water, so they require essentially no upkeep cost compared to chemical deterrents or other physical deterrents that may degrade over time.
Because automated sprinklers are great at deterring other types of animals as well, this duck deterrent option can be even more useful for pool owners with other animal problems. However, it should be noted that these sprinkler systems rarely deter cold-blooded animals, such as lizards or frogs.
There are many effective methods available to deter ducks from your pool. Before investing in any duck deterrent method, it is important to review the benefits and drawbacks of that method for your particular space.
Have you had success with any of these methods? Be sure to let us know about your experiences and leave any questions you may have down in the comment section below!
A chemical engineer by trade, Louis is committed to debunking myths in the pool industry by explaining the underlying chemistry and making it accessible to all.