All About Marie

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Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at www.blogtalkradio.com/petplace; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 18 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of one baby boy, and pet parent of three cats, two dogs, and a cockatoo.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ducks in Swimming Pool

Dear Marie:
Each year, for the last four years, we have been very fortunate to have had our pool selected by a pair of mallard ducks that thought it was the ideal place to raise a family.  We’ve taken video tapes and pictures and have had a lot of laughs watching them.  But this year, we are hoping they don’t come back.  We have new neighbors that keep three outdoor cats that are very proficient hunters.  If the ducks return, I am certain all the babies will be killed.  What can we do to discourage the ducks this year?

Jessica, Fountain Valley

Dear Jessica:
You have brought up a very timely issue.  It will not be long before many homeowners with pools  begin noticing unexpected guests!  Mallard ducks, in particular, seem to be the critters that consider city pools too good to resist.  However, most residents just “plain don’t like ‘em” and want them removed.  They feel that the water fowl contaminate the pool and are a nuisance. 

Yet, most pool filters have no trouble keeping duck inhabited pool water clean.  Furthermore, patios can be hosed down daily to keep up their appearances.  For many, this is just an inconvenience and too much work that they can do without.  Nevertheless, it is important to note that once a pair of ducks has prepared a nest, neither it, nor they, can be removed or disturbed.  The Federal Migratory Bird Act prohibits this and huge fines may be imposed for violations. 

However, there is nothing that prohibits a homeowner from taking measures before nest-building occurs, which is what you are interested in and also what all pool owners should do if they don’t want these wild guests. 

First, begin covering your pool with a solar cover at all times when not in use.  If you are already too late for this, i.e., the ducks have already landed, invest in a dozen or so giant beach balls.  Inflate them and let them roll around in the pool.  This will make the ducks very uncomfortable and they will think twice about building a nest in your back yard.  Under no circumstances should you offer the ducks any food.  Remove any pet food dishes that may be outside.  Thin out dense landscaping so that the ducks have no hiding places to build their nest. 

If you still have no luck and it is apparent that the ducks are staying, talk to your neighbors about keeping their cats indoors after the babies have hatched.  It will only be for a few weeks and then the whole duck family will suddenly disappear to begin a new phase in their life cycles.  (And who knows, maybe your neighbors will continue keeping their cats indoors to boot!)


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