Last Updated: October 20, 2020

How To Keep Ducks Out Of The Pool

Written By: Pool Care Guide

Ducks love water, and your pool has a lot of it. If you are here, then you likely need to know how to keep those bacteria and virus-spreading ducks (CDC Information) out of your pool. Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this list, I will categorize the solutions into three groups: most effective, moderately effective, and least effective. Let's start with the most effective:

Product / SolutionCostEffectiveness
Pool Dome, Pool Enclosure$4,000 - $10,000A+
Vinyl Dome, Inflatable Dome$3,000 - $5,000A+
Pool Covers$50 - $15,000A-
Bird Netting$10 - $30B
Duck-chasing dog$0B
Fishing Line$3 - $20B-
Block ViewVariableB-
Bird B Gone$80C+
Decoys$7 - $40C-
Remote Control Toy$20 - $120D

Most Effective Solutions to Keep Ducks Out of Your Pool

Motion Activated Lights or Sprinklers - The Recommended Choice

These are the best deterrents that I have come across. Both options can startle ducks into their flight response. They don’t work 100% of the time. However, unless you want to invest in a pool dome, enclosure, or cover, a near 100% success rating is difficult to find.

Pool Domes and Enclosures

For most people, these aren’t going to be the right options. Floridians have to be extra cautious because we have a lot of alligators and crocodiles. Also, the occasional hurricane can make quite a mess. Over here, most homes have pools and most of those pools have tent enclosures. However, that is a crazy spendy option if you just want to keep a few ducks out of the pool. It is the ultimate solution if you are willing to pay for it.

  • Pool Enclosures
    • Average cost is between $4,000 to $10,000. (Parts and Labor)
    • Keeps out all wildlife, and it greatly reduces the ability of insects to access the pool area.
    • The need for maintenance goes way down. Leaves and dirt can’t blow into the area.
  • Vinyl and Inflatable Pool Domes
    • Cost $3,000 to $5,000.
    • Same basic benefits as a pool enclosure
    • Not attached to house
    • Covers a smaller area than a pool enclosure.

Pool Covers

There are many types of pool covers, and their prices and quality can vary significantly. The good news is that all of them can keep the ducks out, so you don’t need to be picky. Here’s a super brief rundown of what covers are available to you:

  • Tarp
    • Cost: $50 to $200
    • Requires a pool cover pump to keep it from being overloaded by rainfall
    • Looks Ugly
  • Solar Cover
    • Solar Cover Costs: $50 to $300
    • Solar Cover Reel Costs $200 to $500
    • Traps heat already in the pool, and it collects more heat from the sun
    • Solar cover reel will cost between 
  • Mesh Cover
    • Cost $1,200 to $3,000
    • Doesn’t need a pool cover pump because the water can flow freely through the cover
  • Vinyl Cover
    • Costs $1,200 to $3,000
    • Requires a pool pump
    • Solid material
  • Automatic Cover
    • Costs $5,000 to $15,000
    • Traps heat inside the pool which can help to keep those monthly costs down

Bird Netting

If you want to cheaply cover the pool, you can use some bird netting. It is inexpensive, and won’t require a pool cover pump. I might recommend this purely for its ability to keep the ducks from swimming in the pool. However, it can look really messy after it starts collecting debris. If you aren’t on a tight budget, I would personally go with something else.

Block the view

If they can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, birds are great at scouting for places to live and land. They don’t have x-ray vision though, so one spendy option is to shroud your pool from the birds-eye view.

If the ducks can’t see or access the pool, they won’t have any reason to land there. While their birds-eye views can easily spot most bodies of water, you can use trees, bushes, and pool awnings to limit their perspectives. Obviously, this can be effective, but it is an effective way to prevent waterfowl from landing in your backyard.

Moderately Effective Solutions to Keep Ducks Out of Your Pool

Get a dog and train it to chase ducks

I’m going to place this one in the moderately effective category. Dogs can be fantastic for duck problems. However, you will probably have to train to make this an effective solution.

Fishing line

Birds have a strong natural aversion to being trapped or cornered. They don’t have any strong natural defenses except the ability to fly. If chased, they fly. If startled, they fly. In this case, if they keep getting caught on the fishing line, they also tend to fly.

There are two methods, and both of them are as cheap as they are inconvenient. The first one is to string the fishing line around the outside of the pool, and the second is to string the inside. Keep the lines low to the ground, so that they won’t be too annoying; about an inch off the ground will work.

Use separate pieces of fishing lines around the pool entrances. That way, if you trip on a piece of the line, you will limit the damage of the clumsy moment.

Quick Warning - This solution can be decently effective, but there is a chance that the ducks can be injured. If they get stuck on the fishing line, they might hurt themselves. Many people that use this method also string up the pool too. However, that can cause the ducks to drown themselves, so please don’t do that. 

Inconsistent Solutions to Keep Ducks Out of Your Pool

Bird B Gone

Avian Migrate Goose & Bird Repellent

This one almost made it onto the moderately effective list. This product primarily targets geese that feast on areas with a lot of grass. We expect that there will be a decreased effectiveness when targeting ducks and the pool area. It claims to be effective against most “nuisance birds,” and it is considered non-toxic to birds, humans, and plants.

It works by irritating the mucous membranes of the birds. For added effect, the company adds a colorant that humans can’t see, but birds can. As the birds repeatedly encounter the substance, they are trained to avoid it. This means that you might not notice the effect the first time. However, over time, it should become increasingly effective.

We aren’t saying to pour this into the pool. Just spray it around the place. If you can add the proper dosage to the motion-activated sprinkler system, it will definitely keep those ducks out of your pool.


Several predator decoys exist on the market, but the results are usually less than impressive. On average, they work about half the time. Some a little more, and some a little less:

  • Inflatable Predators - 50% effective

Although it is easy to implement, this only works almost half the time. For that reason, it isn’t my go-to solution.

  • Rubber Snakes - 50% effective

Rubber Snakes are inexpensive, but they hardly ever work. If you are planning on using a fake predator decoy, consider buying one of the inflatable crocodiles. I wouldn’t recommend either one, but the inflatable crocodiles provide more consistent results.

  • Fake Owls - Ineffective

Nope, you should pass on this one. Real owls are predators and ducks are the prey. These decoys are just irrelevant. Ducks are rarely intimidated by these almost useless pieces of plastic. 

Reflective Strips and Pinwheels

The reviews are mixed. About half of the reviews say that they haven’t seen ducks in months. Others say that the ducks are completely undeterred by the reflective material. According to the reviews, the pinwheels are slightly more effective when the wind is blowing. If you live in a windy location, they might be worth a bit more of your money.

Wild Card Solutions to Keep Ducks Out of Your Pool

Remote Control Water Toys

Okay, I don’t recommend this one because it requires human supervision. However, it is a fun way to do the job, and it can have a decent effect. Ducks return to the same nesting grounds each year. There is a decent chance that you are dealing with the same ducks whenever they migrate back to your area. If you keep a remote-controlled water toy in your pool, you can use the controller to pester them, from the comfort of your home. Teach them a lesson that will remember for the coming years.

Common Questions

Is it safe to swim in a pool with duck problems?

If it is chlorinated and cleaned on occasion, a duck infestation should not pose any serious health risks. If maintenance is neglected, the contaminants, such as feathers and poop, can cause some mild concern. The additional nitrates, phosphates, and a few other chemicals can tip a pool into an unhealthy state and provide a breeding ground for bacteria: E. Coli, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, and Campylobacter. Those four specific breeds of bacteria will not survive life in a chlorinated pool. They might last a few days, but they will all succumb to the cleansing power of chlorine.
If you have any related questions, please ask. We will do the research and add the information to the Common Questions section.

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