Can My Ducks Swim in My Pool?

Rubber Duck in Pool

There’s nothing better than sliding into a swimming pool on a nice, hot, summer day – and not just for people, either! Our pets also love to jump in the pool to cool off, and that extends to our backyard ducks as well.

But should ducks be swimming around in your pool? Some folks feel it’s perfectly fine – a safe stretch of water for ducks to paddle around him. And often there will be no noticeable adverse effects, yet I highly recommend that you keep your ducks out of your pool.

A swimming pool filled with chemicals such as chlorine can hurt a ducks’ health – especially if they drink the chlorinated water. It does not take much for your ducks to become very sick if they spend even very limited time in a swimming pool.

So, it’s not a good idea to allow your ducks to swim in your pool (for the most part), and below we will dig a little deeper into why that is.

A Health Risk to Your Ducks and You

Sure, your ducks could physically swim around in your swimming pool.

After all, the water in the pool is almost identical to the water found on any pond, lake, marsh, or puddle – as far as its physical properties are concerned, anyway.

But as highlighted above, the chemicals that are intentionally dumped into swimming pools to keep them clean and hygienic for humans to swim around in can ruin the health and wellness of your ducks.

At the same time, ducks make absolutely no distinction between using your swimming pool as a toilet just the same way they would any other body of water out in the wild.

It doesn’t take long for ducks to pump a lot of waste into your swimming pool just by paddling around. As ducks often carry diseases such as Salmonella and E. Coli, their waste can pose a health risk to you and your human loved ones, too. Although most germs are killed by the chlorine in the water, some are more resistant than others.

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep your ducks out of the pool as much as possible.

What Makes Swimming Pools So Dangerous for Ducks?

The number one thing that makes swimming pools so dangerous for these feathered friends has to be the chemicals pumped into our pools to keep them clean and sparkly.

Chlorine is used in almost every single household pool out there (in pretty large doses, too), and your ducks simply can’t spend a lot of time in chlorinated water – and definitely can’t drink a lot of chlorinated water – without their health becoming negatively impacted.

Ducks drink a lot of the water they swim around in, and the chlorine will quickly damage their kidneys. You’ll likely end up poisoning your ducks by letting them swim around in your pool – probably the last thing you want to do.

On top of that, though, you also run the risk of poisoning their bodies through their skin as well. Duck feathers are naturally resistant to “regular water,” but the chemicals inside a swimming pool will undermine that natural resistance.

All of a sudden the feathers that were keeping your duck dry aren’t as effective. They aren’t able to fluff themselves any longer, and those same chemicals are going to start leaching into their skin and into their bloodstream.

That’s definitely going to spell big trouble for your flock!

Chlorine’s Negative Effect on Egg-laying

Researchers have also reported negative impacts on a duck’s ability to lay eggs after being exposed to chlorine and other pool chemicals.

Even if your ducks will survive their time in your swimming pool, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to lay eggs moving forward – or that those legs won’t become compromised because of the chemicals we highlighted earlier.

The Dangers of High Pool Walls

There’s another risk that swimming pools pose to your ducks that shouldn’t go overlooked, either. And that’s the danger of ducks not being able to get out of your swimming pool after they drop in.

Ducklings in particular are going to be very vulnerable, as they won’t have the strength, the wings, or the “know-how” to get themselves out of the swimming pool. Traditional marshes, ponds, lakes, and creeks or rivers always have areas for ducks to walk out of the water onto land.

Swimming pools have high walls above the waterline that might keep your ducks or ducklings trapped inside the swimming pool. Why we think of these birds as being almost completely aquatic, they can actually drown – and they can drown faster than most of us realize, too.

How Can I Keep My Ducks Out of the Swimming Pool?

There are a few things you can do to keep ducks out of your swimming pool.

For starters, it’s generally not a bad idea to have a small fence that circles the entirety of your pool.

This fence can be used to keep ducks and other animals (as well as children) out of your swimming pool without direct supervision. The majority of heavier ducks and young ducks won’t try to fly over the barrier, though that’s not exactly a guarantee.

Secondly, it’s not a bad idea to have a thermal pool cover that stretches over your swimming pool to keep ducks out of the water and to heat your swimming pool at the same time.

With a thermal cover, you get the best of both worlds here. On the one hand, you create a warm and comfortable swimming pool without spending a fortune on heating. And you have an effortless way to keep ducks and ducklings out of your swimming pool.

Motion-activated sprinkler systems that scare ducks away from the pool, automatic pool cleaners (that do the same thing), and bird netting can all be used to keep ducks away from this danger as well.

Provide your ducks with their own pool

Depending on your lot size, you could also dig an unchlorinated “pool” specifically for your ducks. I.E., a small lake in which they have sufficient to swim.

While ducks do not absolutely need more than a small kiddie pool, a larger body of water will make them less interested in getting to your pool.

You may have to get a little bit creative, but the odds are pretty good you’ll be able to come up with a few more ways to keep your ducks safe without getting rid of your pool completely.

All in all, when you get right down to it it’s never a good idea to let ducks go crazy in your pool.

In summary

Your ducks can get sick (or even die) just by swimming around or drinking the pool water itself. And anyone that swims in the pool after the ducks have been in the water can become sick, too. It really just doesn’t work well for anyone involved.

Take the necessary steps to try and keep your ducks away from the pool as much as you can. To keep them away from the pool, try to create obstacles and barriers that prevent them from getting curious about this very appealing body of water. And remember to keep an eye on your flock of ducks as well.

A little bit of research, a little bit of effort, and the inside information we shared above will help you protect the health and wellness of your ducks from here on out.

You’ll also find it a lot easier to keep your swimming pool nice and clean without a lot of ducks or ducklings paddling, and pooping, in it!


Hi, My name is Rasmus. I am a hobby "polytarian" and a backyard farmer. Ever since I was a baby, I have been surrounded by poultry of all kinds. This blog is my way of sharing what I have learned from my bird-crazy family, books, and my personal experience.

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