white and blue and red and brown feathered bird

Can Ducks Swim in Saltwater Pools? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Ducks are adorable birds that enjoy spending time in the water.

Ducks may make floating on a pond surface appear easy, staying afloat on the water is as simple for ducks as taking shelter on dry land. This is because they have a few key biological adaptation features.

Ducks have specialized feathers that can trap air, allowing them to float in water. Can ducks, however, swim in any body of water?

Are there any specific water types that they should avoid? Continue reading to find out!

Can Ducks Swim In Saltwater Ponds

Can Ducks Swim in Saltwater Pools

Yes, Ducks can swim in salt water; in fact, these birds love to swim in salt water.

They prefer saltwater to fresh water because salt water has more density. This density enhances the buoyancy of ducks.

Saltwater also has increased surface tension, which reduces the chances of ducks getting wet.

Although, ducks have feathers that naturally do not get wet no matter how deep or how long they stay in the water.

Generally, ducks have a natural ability to float on water, and this is determined by the contact angle of water on their feather.

When the contact angle of water on their feather is 90 degrees, their feathers can trap air which reduces the chance of their feathers getting wet.

There’s a lot to find out about ducks and saltwater! Keep reading for more!

Is Saltwater Good For Ducks?

Saltwater is good for ducks, both sea and domestic ducks possess salt glands that help them handle high salt content.

However, sea ducks have a high chance of surviving saltwater compared to domestic ducks. Here are some points to note about salt glands and how they help ducks;

  • Salt glands are salt-secreting nasal glands; they can excrete hypertonic solutions of sodium chloride.
  • The kidneys of ducks are unable to excrete high concentrations of salt that can be ingested from salt water. Salt glands, however, are a necessary adaptive feature that relieves the kidney of such levels of stress. The concentration of the salt ingested from salt water is usually several times as high as the maximum urine concentration in birds. This is why this gland is super important.

Can You Put A Duck In A Chlorine Swimming Pool?

Ducks love swimming pools and can you blame them?

They are waterfowls after all. These water birds can swim in chlorine-treated pools; however, this isn’t advisable, especially for long-term swimming.

Although chlorine does not affect the body of ducks, when ingested it can damage the internal organs of the duck.

It’s nearly impossible to prevent your duck from ingesting water when they are in the pool. So, to save the kidneys of your ducks you have to keep them out of reach from chlorine pools.

Getting a chlorine-free pool will be good for ducks, however, if humans are going to make use of the pool, then this option isn’t advisable.

Your only option would likely be devising a means to prevent your duck from getting into your pool. Wondering how you can achieve that?

Here are some options you can try out;

·       Use decoys to scare them away

Ducks wouldn’t settle in pools if they sense the presence of a larger animal.

Over time, decoys have proven to be the easiest way to prevent ducks from getting into pools.

Simply use a floating animal decoy and be rest assured that your ducks wouldn’t come close to your pool.

Ducks are really smart birds, so ensure you opt for decoys that look very real. 

·       Get a pool cover or hedge 

If you aren’t using your pool you can simply cover them, this way your ducks can’t get into the pool without your notice.

This cover is also important in preventing unwanted guests, falling leaves, and even your pets from getting into the pool.

Having a hedge around your pool is also a good way to prevent your duck from getting into the pool.

Hedges are a fence-like structure, and it serves as a resistance for your duck from getting access to the pool.

It’s however advisable to use pool covers and hedges together because certain ducks can jump over these hedges. 

·       You can scare them with motion-activated spray

Motion-activated sprays are mainly used for hydrating gardens however this spray can be used to scare ducks and keep them far away from your pool.

Ducks are practically put off by the smell of the spray.

·       Install an automatic pool cleaner to scare them

An automatic pool cleaner will cause movement in the water both on the surface and underneath. If a duck finds its way into your pool, the unexpected motion will most likely scare it away.

Chlorine isn’t the only thing that can affect ducks; detergents are also a no-no when it comes to swimming pools.

This is because when detergents are introduced into pools ducks can sink. This is because detergents drastically reduce the surface tension of the pool water.

This prevents their feathers from trapping water hence they can’t stay afloat in water.

What Are The Effects Of Saltwater On Birds?

Saltwater is a type of water with high salt content, not all birds are adaptive to this type of water.

Most birds have salt glands and this helps them thrive in saltwater.

For birds that lack salt glands, salt water has a bad effect on them because they lack salt glands that should help them excrete excessive salt.

This puts a lot of pressure on their kidneys and causes damage to them. However for birds that are well adapted to saltwater, here are some benefits they stand to gain.

  • It enhances buoyancy 

Buoyancy is a force that enables objects and animals to float.

Buoyancy can be affected by water density. Saltwater has a very high density which in turn increases buoyancy. So then, the chances of ducks drowning are zero when they are in saltwater.

  • Increased surface tension 

Naturally, ducks have waterproof feathers which prevent them from getting drenched. Saltwater has high surface tension which helps keep the Duck afloat.

When the feathers of ducks fail them, they have a high chance of drowning.

But this is quite impossible with salt water; the high surface tension prevents ducks from drowning regardless of the situation of their feathers.

Can Mallard Ducks Live In Saltwater?

The mallard ducks are a breed of duck called the wild ducks. These ducks are dabbling ducks that can be found in temperate and subtropical Americas, Eurasia, and North Africa.

Mallards can live in saltwater however they love calm, shallow sanctuaries.

They can live in saltwater because they possess salt glands that help them get rid of excessive salt in case of ingestion.

They can also be found in freshwater and brackish water. They can be found in wetlands also.

Does Pool Water Harm Bird

As much as some birds love to swim, swimming pool water can harm them. Swimming pool water contains tons of chemicals that can destroy the internal organs of birds.

Birds wouldn’t just swim in pools, they can also drink from them and this is unavoidable.

You can prevent birds from having contact with your pool by covering it up.

In other not to deprive your birds of having a good time swimming, you can set up a bird bath for them.

This bird bath should be void of chemicals; that way, it would be 100% safe for them.

Can Swans Live In Saltwater

Swans are the largest species of waterfowl in the subfamily Anserinae.

These aquatic birds have excellent swimming abilities and can fly as well.

They are also renowned for their incredible speed while flying and swimming.

Just like ducks, swans can live in saltwater. They have glands below their eyes that extract excessive salt from their bloodstream.

Swans however prefer freshwater bodies; this is because their bodies are naturally designed for freshwater habitats.


Ducks are water-loving birds, they can thrive in extreme water conditions like freshwater and saltwater that have a high concentration of salt.

Ducks have an adaptive feature that enables them to withstand the saltiness of saltwater.

However, these birds should be kept away from pools. Since pools contain chlorine, they pose a threat to ducks and other ducks as well.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox

Leave a Comment