I’ve been involved with managing a humane goose control program on an 100 acre property for about 8 years now, and here are my suggestions for what works A-Z, from simple homemade deterrents to canine control methods.
The most important place to start when you are trying to combat a large Canadian Goose problem is to understand when the geese are looking for nesting ground, and to have a monthly understanding of when to target them for eviction to increase your effectiveness in removing the flock.
Month To Month:
In January and February Canadian Geese are generally in their over-wintering areas beginning to look for mates, and beginning the earliest migrations back to their nesting grounds in late February. Canadian Geese spend the majority of March and April looking for the ideal nesting area, or returning to the specific place that they themselves were raised to set up a nest. As part of their hatchling “imprinting,” Canadian Geese will return to the area that they were hatched in to see if there is enough room for a new nest there with their current mate. If you have had problems with geese in the past, March is the best time to begin harassing any geese who show up on your property to discourage nesting, and those long summer stays. May and June are the months where new goslings are the most likely to be present. Adult geese line their nests with down “flight feathers,” and both the parents and goslings are physically incapable of flight at this time until all their sets of feathers have grown back in around July. Occasionally, a mated pair will then begin a second nest in the late summer, and raise a second family in late summer and early fall.
Products and Strategies:
- The most easily aquired Canadian Geese deterrents are plastic forms, and motion activated “prop predators,” and these include everything from plastic alligator heads to moving plastic coyotes. These goose control methods work for a maximum of a few weeks, and in my opinion are waste of money and resources. Canada Geese figure out rapidly that these pieces are not threatening to them, and establish permanent nesting grounds within eyeshot of the props. Effective controls include homemade goose fences, and “line of sight” rope techniques over smaller sized ponds. These methods are DIY friendly, and all the necessary supplies can be picked up at your corner hardware store.
- Other ways to successfully manage a goose population are with other animal species. One especially effective means of goose control in areas where geese are being fed by park-goers and the like is to provide an alternative bird pair to the pond that are territorial, and aggressive with geese. Mute Swans are large and beautiful birds (although not native to the Americas), and they do an excellent job of policing a pond and providing goose control 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Another great bird that keeps Canadian Goose numbers low is the North American native bird the Trumpeter Swan. Trumpeter Swans are approximate in size to large Mute Swans, and less aggressive with humans than Mutes can be. Trumpeter Swans can also assist in monitoring your pond for you, and keeping resident goose numbers minimal. Trumpeter Swans make an excellent addition to the pond as well, being beautiful and interactive, while also providing those who enjoy feeding birds with another bird to feed in the absence of the Canadian Geese.
- Due to the boom in the Canada Goose population in recent decades, there are government approved provisions for humane egg reduction procedures as a new Canadian Goose control method. The (mandatory) registration paperwork for these governmentally approved programs can be completed for you by a licensed goose control expert, or you can complete them yourself as a home or business owner, once you have followed a licensing and registration procedure mandated by DNR and your local state government. The licensing procedure is much like acquiring a hunting or fishing license, and monitors the number of removed geese or eggs as part of a complete species management program.
- The most effective way to control goose populations is through highly trained goose herding Border Collies, which can be contractually hired on through companies like “Geese Police,” or purchased individually for a corporation through a breeder and trainer like Big Bend Border Collies. The best of these companies and trainers have rigorously trained their animals to herd to precise commands, and the dogs are responsive, obedient, and excited to preform the work for you. There are a few companies I have run across that espouse the effectiveness of goose herding Border Collies, but run businesses where the dogs are not actually trained for off-leash commands or obedient, so doing your homework with this option is necessary to achieve a good result.
When looking for the right goose control option for yourself or for your business I would encourage you to try several of these methods beginning with the cheapest. In some areas the simple DIY fixes will send the geese away for good, or leave you with only a pair or two as residents. Work your way through this list, and you are 100% capable of fixing your goose infestation for good.