Migratory geese, namely Canadian geese, are a common problem for the households that play unwitting hosts to their flock. While the thought of having geese in your backyard may seem quaint, the amount of droppings they leave will soon convince you otherwise. Here are some tips to help you get rid of those geese.
Things to Keep In Mind
While it’s true that geese can be a pest, there are laws that do protect their welfare. Any action that you plan on taking to keep the geese away may have serious repercussions in your state, so it’s better that you get in touch with your local conservation office. Permits are sometimes required not just for hunting geese, but harassing them too! It’s also illegal to harass geese during their nesting season. Bottom line, make sure that your methods are legal in your state.
Method 1: Don’t Feed the Geese
Feeding the geese will not only encourage them to stay in your property, but the human food you’re feeding them is most likely bad for them. Make a concerted effort with your neighbors not to feed the geese roaming your area.
Method 2: Decoys
Geese have survival instincts like any other animal, and they will avoid predators or other animals that can cause serious harm if they can. Swan decoys repel geese because they know how territorial these fellow birds can be. You can also use geese carcass decoys to send a signal that your area is not safe for their kind. Crocodile decoys that employ plastic crocodile heads that seem to bob out of the water will also seem very convincing to the geese that the famed predator is lurking nearby.
Predator decoys such as gator decoys can be used in your ponds or waterfront property. Decoy dogs, hawks and owls can also do their part in driving away geese. Remember that you should move the land-based decoys around daily to effectively fool the geese. There are also modern motion-activated hawk decoys that act like the real thing which will provide for a bigger scare for the geese.
Method 3: Use Real Animals
Use herd dogs like Labrador retrievers to help chase geese away. Make sure that your dog is from a large breed as smaller breeds tend to be attacked by the geese themselves. You should also make sure that your dog does not bite, attack or kill the geese—just chase and scare them around. If you don’t own a dog, there are some companies that offer their services with their border collies, guarding your property from those invading geese.
For ponds, you can get a pair of swans to stand guard. Swans will fight fiercely for their territory and the geese will usually give way to them.
Method 4: Make Your Pond Restrictive to Geese
Properties with a waterfront or ponds are most attractive to geese as they feel safest in the water. Before the migratory season comes in, you can opt to encourage tall grasses growing up to at least 18 inches high to grow in a ten feet wide area from the pond’s shoreline. Geese like wide open spaces, to be able to see predators from afar at the shortest notice, so tall grasses are suggested to make them feel more uncomfortable.
You can also put up a bird fence near the shoreline of your pond high enough to prevent geese from coming in. Again, geese feel safest in the water and a restriction from getting there at a moment’s notice will make them too uncomfortable to stay.
If you can’t afford to put up a fence, you can use some sturdy sticks and black mylar tape to make a restrictive area around the pond. Tie the mylar tape at different heights, and even though they can be flown over by the geese, they will be unable to see it, making it difficult for them to get back out of the pond. They will soon tire of it and look for somewhere else to stay.
Method 5: Change the Landscape
Again, geese like wide open spaces, and if your lawn fits the description, that may be why you are dealing with geese right now. Plant low-growing shrubs all around the vicinity to make them feel a little less at home.
Method 6: Use Technology
The problem of getting rid of geese has been around for a while, and as a response, some fairly simple technological solutions have been created. Audio repellents have been created to transmit recorded distress signals that are amplified across your property. This method can be quite effective, especially if you don’t mind the noise.
If you have a sprinkler system installed in your house, the Havahart Spray Away is a technology that you can build in your sprinkler system. The spray away is equipped with a motion sensor that will give a hard squirt of water at anything (or anyone) loitering in your grounds. Make sure it’s turned off when you’re doing chores in your lawn to avoid becoming a target.
Geese sleep on the water to avoid easy attack from predators. There are companies who have created a device that would float in the water and flash light every two seconds during the nighttime. This will disturb the geese’s sleep throughout the night, and come a few days, they’re likely to choose another place to sleep in.
Method 7: Chemical Means
There are a number of goose-specific chemical repellents that are available in the market today. They are all non-toxic substances and have varying chemical effects on the geese. Some make your lawn grasses smell and taste bad, while others cause indigestion in the geese. Depending on the brand you get, these chemicals can stay on your lawn for two mowings. They are also safe for humans and plants.
Method 8: Hunting Geese
As mentioned, the numbers of migratory geese have been dwindling and hunting may not be an option for many parts of the country. However, you can apply a permit to hunt down geese or tamper with their eggs that are within your property. You will have to prove that the geese are making substantial damage and distress for you to take such measures.
Some states also have goose hunting seasons for the local goose population (not the migratory), which can help with the problem. Keep in mind that you will have to be licensed to hunt geese, and the gear that you will need to do so may probably cost you more money than you expect.
Keep in mind that hunting geese should be your last option among the many options that you can explore. While it’s true that geese can cause property and crop damage, consider that they’re only doing so to survive and multiply.
There is also an international organization called Geese Peace dedicated to the elimination of geese without breaking any laws. After all, a concerted effort is still best in getting rid of a common problem.
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