In my area in particular, Canadian Geese are a large seasonal problem. With each goose producing a pound of poop a day, they can quickly wear out their welcome, and your lawn! I’ve seen several suggestions online, as to how to control a goose population, including swan decoys, lawn treatments, and planting options, but I want to share with you an idea that is cheaper, and that will produce far more consistent results! I manage several large community ponds, mowed and natural. I have tried versions of many things to humanely reduce and control the goose population, but for the homeowner who wants to discourage water birds in general from landing on your yard and grazing there, here is a quick and cheap way to keep waterfowl out, without using chemicals, or repellents, and without planting shrubs that will distort your water view.
What to Do: Measure the perimeter around the body of water that borders your property, preferably 2-3 feet from the water line. Divide the perimeter number by five. This is the number of posts you will need to buy. The second calculation you need with the original perimeter number is for the length of rope you will need. To get this number, multiply the perimeter number by 2.
What to Buy:
- Purchase 3-4 foot stakes, or posts (metal, wood, bamboo, or pier pilings, depending on the look you want to achieve).
- Purchase commercial-grade rope, of white, or yellow color. The thickness of the rope doesn’t matter, thin rope will work just as well.
How To Build Your Goose Fence:
- Place the stakes you purchased at five foot intervals, approximately 2-3 feet from the water line, in a row, hugging the shore line.
- Tap these stakes into the ground ideally leaving 30 inches to 3 and a half feet above the ground (depending on the height of the stake you purchased). You do not need a tall fence to keep geese, or other water birds away.
- Tie the rope from post to post, leaving a generous swag bowing down in between each post (this is the key to making this fence work). The rope must not touch the grass line, and should be about one foot off the ground at it’s lowest point.
- This idea works best with regularly mowed areas, although it will work in more naturalized areas as well.
- White and yellow rope are easiest for waterfowl to see, as opposed to other colored rope that may blend in the water or grass.
Why This Works:
Geese love large ponds and lakefront property! The reason they happily target these areas is because they may associate close proximity to humans with a free food source, and (especially if the area is mowed), because in these areas it becomes easier for the geese to see predators a long way off, which gives them a feeling of safety. What this little rope fence does is unsettle geese, who do not understand navigating over and under rope lines. It plays into their fear as water birds, that they will not be able to reach the water in time, if they are running to avoid a predator. Water birds absolutely know how slow and akward they are on land, and they know that it is on land that they are the most vulnerable to predation.
This method of goose repelling, will last you until the rope dries out (and needs to be replaced – every couple years), and will pay for itself rapidly in the time and money it saves you cleaning up goose poop, and buying and applying chemicals to deter the birds.
I personally recommend this method for homeowners above every other method. This method works better than planting grasses, and shrubs as well, and here’s why: Geese love open spaces to graze in, but lets remember what geese are looking for in a sleeping ground, and a nesting area. For a goose looking for an area to rear her young, a planted area is best for protecting herself, or her mate while they incubate their young, hiding them from predators, and observation. A planted area is also ideal for entire goose families to sleep, while feeling sheltered, and hidden. Waterfowl can be creatures of habit, choosing a designated “home” area to frequent for the weeks before migration practice lessens their visits to your property.
I also recommend this method over Mute Swan decoys, or “tame” live Mute Swans (especially those that are used to close contact with humans). In a heavily human populated area, there is a high probability that not only geese, but swans, and ducks are being fed by picnic goers, and joggers. There is no Mute Swan in the world, plastic or otherwise, that will chase families with goslings away from free food for any long period of time. I have personally seen Canadian Geese chase swans twice their size across entire lakes if the swan got too close to a group of goslings. Since most goose control issues occur during the months of goose reproduction, this is not a method that I recommend relying on. Live Mute Swans can shorten the duration of Goose occupations, and prevent nesting from occurring, but a plastic swan will not deter geese reliably for any period of time.
NOTE: This rope fence method of goose control is not recommended for areas where tame waterfowl are being kept, or in areas where birds like ducks are welcome. Water birds of all kinds will swim by this fence, but will not cross the perimeter. Bird watchers are advised to use this method only when they are happy to accept a certain amount of distance between themselves and the subjects they are viewing.
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