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How do I get ducks out of my pool?

13 years ago

I have a pair of Mallard ducks that have made my pool a home. This is not only gross but it is not healthy for us when we swim, and there are always duck feces to clean out of the pool.

How can we harmlessly but permanently remove them from our pool? We live on a golf course and no more than 100 feet from our backyard is a beautiful lake and waterfall filled with fish and is everything a duck could want, except these ducks.

I hate to resort to other options people have given me (yes, think the worst) but they have to go, bottom line.

What can I do?

Comments (38)

  • 13 years ago

    Try stringing some fishing line on some kind of supports, crisscrossing about 8 to 10 feet high all across the pool. The birds will hit it once and not again. This is what they do to control marauding seagulls in outdoor areas that serve food here in Florida, such as at the beaches and over amusement park concession areas. This method also works over fish ponds to protect from predatory birds. Maybe after a temporary amount of time they will stop or go elsewhere and you can remove it.

  • 13 years ago

    Float some pool toys - water noodles, balls, floats - that will move with the water and scare them.

  • 13 years ago

    Rita, what are the "some kind of supports" you are referring to? Our pool is a large, irregular shape, and isn't near anything to even tie one string to.

    Elly, they love pool toys, especially the spring floats. They even play with them.

    Rita, let me know what the supports you are talking about are, and thanks to both of you!

  • 13 years ago

    I'm not sure the overhead lines will work with ducks since they can land in the yard and then walk over to the pool.

    I'd first try bird netting, found at most hardware and garden centers. It's not that expensive and you can just drape it over the pool's surface and use bricks, etc. to hold down the edges. It comes in fairly large sizes (I've seen 28'x28') but if you can only find smaller sizes consider connecting them using zip ties. It may not be necessary to cover the whole pool to deter them.
    Plastic sheeting or tarp would also work.

    If you try the bird netting, keep an eye on the pool to make sure they don't get tangled in it!

  • 13 years ago

    By "supports" I mean like bamboo stakes or other types of stakes that you can buy at Lowes or Home Depot. The toy idea sounds good, try that first. Do the ducks fly into the pool or waddle in from the side? All I know is birds won't fly into an area where they know their wings will contact the fishing line, but if they waddle in from the side you might have to use the netting on the sides. Hopefully if you do have to rig up something it will be temporary. Maybe one of those fake owls will scare them off or a giant rubber snake floating in the pool??

  • 13 years ago

    We always enjoyed the duck couple that visited our pool every year. They were always done using it by the beginning of June, which is right about when we were ready to start using the pool for the year, so we were happy to share with them.

    We named them the Duckersons; they've been coming by for the past year, but this year, only Mr. Duckerson came by. He stopped by a few times, and loitered around for a bit, but she never showed. :(

  • 13 years ago

    Cindy and rivkadr, that is definitely the best option! Cute pics Cindy!

  • 13 years ago

    Cover the area with bird netting, and be prepared to rescue the ducks if they get entangles.

    Now that firecrackers are legal, toss a few at them.

  • 13 years ago

    You might want to try a motion-activated sprinkler on a stake - a friend of mine has one of these to keep her little dog away from her garden beds, it works really well.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Scarecrow Sprinkler

  • 13 years ago

    hmmm interesting soilutions. Unless you purcahse a pool cover you are going to have ducks in your pool. If they end up nesting in nearby lanscaping you are going to not only have that to deal with but the babies will imprint on your pool and come back every year and they will call in more of their buddies and you will have whole flocks to deal with.
    You can try blow up alligators, snakes and the mylar ballon tied to a tennis ball and float them in the pool, you could even try placing string or netting across the pool, if you dont have anything to tie the string or netting to you can get some bricks and just secure the rope by tying it to the bricks around the pool, but these are all just temporary and you are going to have to deal with taking all the string or netting off and putting it back every time you want to use the pool yourself. Dont even think about the sprinkler - these are ducks not dogs, they wont care if they get wet.So save your pennies and get a removeable pool cover. It is easy to deal with, will help keep everything out of your pool including leaves and bears and ducks. The cheapest way of course is to go get yourself a dog. If you dont want one permanently go rent one. ***Yes you can rent out dogs. Good luck

  • 13 years ago

    I am having the same issue and thought about making some kind of water friendly scarecrow, maybe make it out of those foam noodles for the body and glue a ball for the head. I'll have my own Wilson floating around the pool
    (forrest gumps side kick) LOL ..

  • 13 years ago

    I would try the floating alligator idea.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Repelling ducks

  • 13 years ago

    Ducks and many other birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Act as well as other laws. I haven't read every word of the laws but I do know some residents have run "afowl" of the law for harming the ducks in their yards.

    As I understand it you can turn a water jet on them but you can't shoot them. You can have a dog bark at them but not chase them. It's a duck's life. The local Audubon Society or similar group can often give you help in dealing with the ducks.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Migratory Bird program

  • 13 years ago

    to followup, I do think maybe the inflatable alligator may be your best bet. I've never tried it. My 3 large dogs simply ignore the ducks now (which I find strange). I think they are so use to them that they just figure they are a regular member of the pack.

    If the dogs do approach, they simply hop back in the pool. For some reason, my dogs refuse to go into the pool.

    They also don't seem to mind floats left in the pool.

    Btw, I haven't noticed any other visitors. I have seen another male try to land in the pool when only Hillary was in there. She quacked loudly a few times, and Bill flew in to the rescue! Immediately he went on a flapping screeching rampage and ran him off. I guess he got a case of "protective jealousy" around Hillary. I watched him chase that duck from neighboring pool to neighboring pool, quacking all the while, until eventually 30 minutes later, only Bill returned to be with Hil. I had to laugh.

    I noticed they have been absent some this week, and though it seems early, I wonder if she didn't lay some eggs out by the lake that she's nesting on.

    In our area, with the lake so close, it is notorious for ducks (hundreds if not more). If driving into town, its not uncommon to have to pause traffic and wait for ducks to cross the road. We even have a restaurant on that road named "Mallards". That section of the lake is considered protected for them.

  • 13 years ago

    I put a leaf net across my pool. It works great and i use a few plastic welding type clamps to hold in to the pool. A bit of a pain everytime you want to swim.. But better than cleaning the duck poop each time, and reshocking the pool.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Like This Net. Above or inground you can buy

  • 10 years ago

    Here's what we did. Hit a basketball against any kind of hard object near the pool - pool filter door, fencing, etc. They flew away instantly.

  • 10 years ago

    Lots of good ideas here, and I hope something works for you. While I really don't know if the water continues to be safe when ducks defecate in it, I would not want to chance it. You are wise to "encourage" them to go elsewhere.

  • 10 years ago

    I think the best idea is to borrow a dog. Not one big enough to kill them just one to run and bark.

    Don't they foul the water with their poop. Yuck!

  • 10 years ago

    We bought a house with a pool that hadn't been opened for at least 4 or 5 years. It was more solid than liquid, an awful smelling opaque green when we got the cover off. That first year the ducks left as soon as the water got to be more pool than pond.

    The next summer, they were back, swimming on the little puddles on the cover like they were feet, and not inches deep. We uncovered the pool and opened it, but they didn't leave. We tried inflatables, but they didn't help at all. A plastic owl, filled with sand, and moved around every few days did the trick.

    The next summer, I'd go outside and find the ducks, cuddled up to Spike, the owl,so we needed a new plan. We bought fiercer animal inflatables, we got more owls, that had spinny heads and looked more lifelike, I bought inflatable snakes and threw them in the pool. Then we read about putting rope or twine over the surface of the pool. We bought colored rope and looped it around the lounge chairs and solar lights to keep it afloat over the pool and they left.

    This year, nothing works. My new schnauzer puppy took on the job of running off the ducks. (She loves to watch things that fly). She would see the ducks and go and run circles around the pool to get them to take off. We got rid of the ducks and she got to watch them fly. That worked until a couple of weeks ago. Now, they land with us standing there, waving them away. Greta stands in front of them barking her highest pitched yelp at them and they pay no attention. We throw tennis balls to make a splash near them (I don't want to hurt them, but I'm very cool with annoying them to get them to leave) and startle them away, but they don't even care. I'm at my wit's end. There is duck poop everywhere. In the pool, on the apron, on the deck near the pool. I've tried everything and nothing works... for long. Help!

  • 10 years ago

    Maybe really loud noises? Throw a fire cracker??

  • 8 years ago

    We are at wits end as well, our neighbour feeds them all year round and we have up to 10 enjoying a dip in our pool several times a day. They are beautiful to watch but leave an unbelievable amount and mess of poop all over the pool deck and in the water. Running a line diagonally across the water, about 8 feet above with old CDs dangling from it seems to be effective - somewhat - as their numbers are down but not eliminated. Duck poop contains a lot of parasites and is messy, smelly and on par with dog poop, suggesting it's as simple as raising your chlorine level to compensate is ridiculous, aside from environmentally irresponsible - not good for kids, adults OR ducks! obviously that previous poster didn't see have children or grandkids that love the pool. Any ideas to get them diverted back to the river for their dip are appreciated.

  • 8 years ago

    How about the above-posted leaf net or something like that. Probably not the expense or "look" you want of a lovely pool, but I would find the ducks intolerable. Good luck.

  • 8 years ago

    I hesitate to suggest that this should be as easy as shooting ducks in a barrel.

    I am just kidding. lol

  • 7 years ago

    We are having the same problem and yes, raising the chlorine level does not help as a healthy pool is a balance. When the cyanuric acid * a crystalline weak acid C3H3N3O3 used especially in swimming pools to protect the available chlorine from dissipation by sunlight, is out of balance it causes harm making the water unhealthy and causes possible damage to the pool. One year we had to empty and refill half the pool water to get the water in balance. Over time it finally did enough damage to the plaster that we just had our pool re-plastered. This year I am going to try a solar cover that sits directly on the water-deny them access. We have never had them this late in the year either, June at the latest. I thought they were so cute in the beginning, but now that we have spent thousands of dollars fixing the mess, I'll be glad to see them go. I believe Audubon recommends homeowners discourage ducks from neighborhood pools and nesting in the yard because, as those of us that have this issue know, the ducklings do not survive more than a day... Birds of prey, cats, dogs, etc. Mallards are a federally protected species too, so put your guns away. And it is true, the string, floats, work for a while but then they figure it out. Thankfully they do not land when my dog and I are outside, so at least we have a little 'cred' left!

  • 7 years ago

    My question is ... will they eventually go away?

  • 7 years ago

    No, they have not gone away. My city is somewhat 'over-run' with ducks since city officials decided to stop allowing feeding of the ducks at the Duck Pond...

    The ducks definitely get used to anything we try, scary-eyed balloons, ribbons, reflective tape, alligators (the plastic sort!) Even the $160 pool cover we bought didn't work. They just floated on top of it and messed it up-yuk! The only thing that really worked is when I used ALL of the above together (save the cover) and criss-crossed so much reflective tape and string across the top and floating things, which looked lovely by the way, it rendered the pool unusable... Brilliant!

    Guess I'll just watch them ruin our 15k pool remodel. Oh well! :-/

    It's just a bummer situation all the way around...

  • 7 years ago

    It could be worse ... you could have geese! They poop even more and will attempt to attack people and dogs.

    In our previous house part of our property line ran along a large pond. Keeping the geese off our lawn was a full time job! I wasn't afraid of them, but I always went "armed" ... a big golf umbrella works for offense and defence!

  • 6 years ago

    I have tried blow up Allogators, I have an automatic pool cleaner, I have tried Duck off in fact I have tried everything above except for the Solar cover!!! So I am going to give that a go!!! It's horrible having to clean around the pool every second day due to all of the duck droppings!!!

    Not to mention the health hazard that the ducks faeces causes on humans!!! I have had a double lung transplant so for myself it's a serious concern as it is for all of you!!! These ducks are so arrogant lol they just keep coming in all the time as I live on acreage!!! I have lived out here for 40 yrs and never seen so many ducks before!!! It's crazy!!! It truly is upsetting to see the beautiful pool area spoiled by Duck Poo!!! My dog runs around the outside and that does the trick but only for about an hour!!!

    So I am going to give the Solar cover a go!!! Thanks for all of the information!!! It's fabulous living in sunny Queensland OZ but it's not so good not being able to use the pool due to the above reason or the health hazard for myself due to the transplant and not having an imbue system!!!

    So fingers crossed the cover will work!!!

    again thank you

    hodes xxx

  • 6 years ago

    Hi jodiestar2, In response to your statement that you are going to now try the solar pool cover... If that comes from my comment, please read my response again, as I said the COVER DID NOT work. They simply messed that up, leaving an even bigger and unwieldy mess to clean. I threw the cover away. I would call your city, pest control or some sort of professional if there is something/someone available to you in your area. Like you, we have wasted plenty of money trying to resolve the problem to no avail. It is most frustrating.

    But again, I WOULD NOT recommend the SOLAR POOL COVER.

    Hope this helps!


  • 6 years ago

    Seriously, could you have one of the screen rooms that they use in Florida put over your pool?

  • 6 years ago

    I have seen those (or similair) for pools, but aesthetically, that would be a deal breaker for me. I have a free form lagoon pool with natural stone and granite, a rock waterfall, tropical plantings along the perimeter... It is my oasis. I get why the ducks like it! ;-) I am amazed, though quite thankful, that they have never nested in my yard. Anyways, I would fill it in with cement before I screened it in.

    Love the link btw!!! :-D

  • 6 years ago

    Maybe not a screened room, but just some tall poles inserted around perimeter with heavy duty bird netting stretched over it? or as you suggested, just cover it when not in use.

    I had a pair move in my pond one year but the cat scared them away. It was funny. It took a while for the cat to decide they were prey.... I mean it obviously looked like a bird but... a mighty big bird. Then once he decided to go for it, he started stalking and circling around through the bushes, like he was getting ready to pounce. The ducks saw him and as he inched closer they took off never to be seen again. Genetics is a powerful thing! Cat behaves as predator, ducks as prey.... even though the reality is those ducks could have done some damage to the cat if they had really tried.

  • 6 years ago

    a very large pool toy, like a shark or whale

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Dog silhouettes that you move every day have worked to keep the geese out of our yard. you have to move them when the geese aren't looking. And if you don't move them, the geese figure they aren't a threat

  • 5 years ago

    Check out the Bird B Gone website and look at the Bird Volt Flat Track. I have tried all of the gimmicks above and spend over a thousand dollars trying to keep the ducks out. I laid the flat track around my pool and plugged it in. The ducks only have to step on it once to know the pool is off limits. This only works for ducks that go to the pool edge before jumping in. If they fly in it wont work. I was surprised how quickly it worked and it is very humane. Only a little jolt to make them uncomfortable. This track is used mainly by commercial applications like grocery stores, etc. You do have to remember to turn off before using the pool otherwise you will get a little jolt as well. Would not recommend for households that have little kids as they will forget to turn the zapper off. Please read the instructions and warnings. I only had to turn it on for a week for them to learn and now I keep it off but they still know its there.

  • 5 years ago

    If you want to get rid of Bill and Hillary, introduce a third duck named Donald.

  • 4 years ago

    Yep I named my two Fred and Ethel. I have lots of pool toys including one of those huge blow up swans and they just swim around it. My dog a yorkie just ignores them now. They sit on grass too and just stare at her. I cant hurt them so I just have to live with them every year. I go and hose the deck off when they fly away and the pool gets cleaned every week. So I just came to accept them. They are not mallards they are brown ducks. They also are kind of cute to watch in the morning.

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