How To: Keep Geese Off Your Waterfront Property or Pond

rope fence 300x214 How To: Keep Geese Off Your Waterfront Property or PondIn 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.

Want some more tips to keep geese off your property?  Click here for more articles!

About Amy


  1. shone.willym says:

    ya i read your blog it gives info about 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!

  2. Cecil says:

    I have had a problem with the geese coming into my back yard off the river and eating my garden. It was so bad that I only planted a real small one. Now I have retired and wanted to plant a garden and I tied a white rope at the river from a tree to a stake. One about 6 inches off the ground and another about a foot above the ground. I have not had a goose in my yard since. Thank-you for this tip. Cecil

  3. Amy says:

    That’s great news, I’m glad I was able to help!

  4. gus says:

    I live near a pond and also have geese problems. I used stakes and actually tied 3 rows of string from post to post. I almost fainted when i saw the geese stepping over the bottom string and ducking their head under the second. THEY LOOKED LIKE PRO WRESTLERS ENTERING THE WRESTLING RING. My string was about 4 inches off the ground 8 inches and 12 inches. now what?????

  5. Amy says:

    There are a few harassment techniques that I have heard work well for persistent problems. If I were you I would look into non-toxic pellets for sale on the mass market that render grass disgusting to water bird for a few weeks at a time. These work well to train the birds that your grass isn’t food, and the birds move on to other locations. This type of product needs reapplication every few weeks. Another technique involves playing the sounds of distressed geese around the area you find the birds frequently visiting. This sound distresses the birds and puts them on edge, also causing them to move to a new location. The last trick I’ve received from a friend who accidentally stumbled across a goose near his house that had been hit by a car. He bagged the bird, and moved it to the water’s edge where the flock of geese would be sure to see it, and the birds promptly left the area for an entire season.

    I hope one of these tricks can help you manage your little wrestlers! Best of luck, and let me know if they work for you!

  6. John says:

    Border Collie, the answer. They never harm the geese, they just herd them back into the water. The geese don’t stay around long after the Border Collie shows up. We use this method a lot and have 100% success.

  7. Angela says:

    I have a photo of geese walking over and under rope, didn’t work for us.

  8. Ed says:

    Residential geese are becoming more and more of a problem especially in warmer climates. Our company has a low barrier unobtrusive solution to keep geese off of your shoreline, docks, decks and seawalls.
    Please check us out and call us for a free consultation on goose control and geese control. 1.877.NO.GOOSE

  9. Aaron says:

    I have 200′ of water front and at this point, if i had my way, every one of those geese would end up on my dinner table. However, I don’t have it in me to kill them. I’ve tried the rope trick and all they do is go down to the stream and come back into my property from the dam area. I’m looking into purchasing a dog and putting a run line along the water front, but hate seeing my pet tied up 100′ away from my home. My grounds are groomed, gardened and lawned. I’ve never had this severe of a problem before. Today there were at least 20 or so of these fowl and disgusting creatures almost up to my house, crapping and laying around. I’m at my witts end with these fowl birds. They ruin properties and destroy the lake when there are so many of them. HELP!!!!

  10. Jen says:

    I tried every method out there from scent repellant to flashing orange lights. The only thing that worked for me was this product called the goosinator. I was considering buying a border collie but you can not compare the prices (let alone commitment) of buying a dog to the goosinator. And the kids help me out and have a blast driving it and its humane! Their website is

  11. BJ says:

    Or… you could try this. It’s new, inexpensive and it works.

  12. Reuben says:

    The goosinator is like $3000, and you have to control it. Get real, sorry, nice pet project by those college kids. They’ve probably sold none and just want to get rid of their prototype.

    I’ve tried the scarecrow sprinkler and it works at first, but give it another day or two and the geese don’t care about it at all – they come right up to it, get wet, when it stops sprinkling – they go back to eating. I have expensive landscaping theyre pecking at pooping on (an artificial putting green), so I was going to put up a rope fence today – I’m surprised I read comments here that it doesn’t work!

  13. Big Ed says:

    We can solve your nuisance geese problems. Similar to what is offered above.
    We have an inexpensive, humane way to control geese. Residential geese are becoming more and more of a problem especially in warmer climates. Our company has a low barrier unobtrusive solution to keep geese off of your shoreline, docks, decks and seawalls.
    Please check us out and call us for a free consultation on goose control and geese control. / 770.544.8374

  14. lee says:

    hi, what i’ve been doing for the past 7 years is to string a piece of rope across our 1 1/2 acre pond. the geese don’t like it at all, but the ducks, great blue heron, and other water fowl don’t mind it. occasionally a goose will land in the pond and all i have to do is go out and wiggle the rope and they fly off. it doesn’t seem to matter if the rope is in the water or strung above the water level. we get wood ducks, buffle heads, and others without any problems with the rope. only the geese seem to dislike it.

  15. Jami says:

    We have tried rope. They figure it out–we watched them go under it when we had it at a foot and over it when it was low to the ground. We tried fluorescent orange ribbon and they did not like that…for a few weeks. Last year we did the ribbon at a few inches off of the ground and about a foot off the ground-that worked for a little bit. This year, they have figured out how to fly “over” the fencing? Seriously? My dog USED to chase them until they chased the dog back…so much for that. The threat of a paintball gun (wont’ kill them, just paints them) worked for a few weeks…Our home has been invaded by them for the past 7 years. The bonus, when the dogs eat the goose shit…they get sick…and get worms…

  16. Aaron says:

    I have 200 feet of water front and nicely groomed ground. The geese are a major problem for me. The are belligerent and I’m sick of picking up goose poop. The only thing that I see that really works to keep them out of my end of the lake is swans. The male hates geese. If the swans are on the other side of the lake and see them in my area the male almost runs across the lake while flying and attacks the geese. The geese leave. I’m going out today to buy 200 feet of rope to string across the water line. I’ve read that geese require running start to fly and won’t come onto a property bound by rope. We’ll see.
    I just wish I could hunt them, but alas, I can’t kill anything. I will admit I do like goose for dinner.

  17. IHATEGEESE says:

    I wish this worked on my yard. I used yellow and white thick rope and at one point I even put on “bird scare” tape on the stakes so that it would flap around. The geese stay away for a day or 2 and then start marching through the ropes.

    Huge plastic swans, plastic owls, inflatable coyotes : all failed over time.

    A home made water balloon launcher is effective and so is a 15 dollar daily bb gun. Both of which can’t really reach the geese from my deck,but bugs them enough for a while.

    We have over 60 geese moving through our yard.Fun…

    Too bad you can’t hurt them (legally)

  18. cp flowers says:

    we live on tidal water on intercoastal waterway. tides change height of water twice a day. there is cord grass and (ugh) phragmites edging the water up to 60 feet making it difficult for us humans to access. but a pair of geese are hanging around where only herons have in the past. what to do what to do??

  19. Lisa says:

    I used a yello rope and it’s incredible how God it worked. They swam around and looked at it but did not come in they even honked for a while but then left. I really believe the rope works

  20. Gail says:

    We have swans and they are constantly on our patio and back yard. They leave such a mess and our little one can’t play in the back yard because of the mess they leave. We are constantly chasing them away plus spraying our yard to get rid of the mess they leave. Any ideas?

  21. diana tomasello says:

    I had hoped your fence would work. It didn’t. I installed the fence exactly how you described. 75 wooden stakes (1″x2″x4′) with holes drilled 2-3 inches from the top. Used 1/4″ white nylon rope with swag down to a foot or less from the ground. Ran fence across shoreline and up the side of my abutting neighbors. Today a goose stalked my fence for a half hour trying to figure out how to cross. Finally did. Came underneath and up to my lawn. I’m sure he’s the ‘lead dog’ and will communicate this to the rest of the geese. Had 22-24 geese regularly on my lawn last year.
    Tried everything: 2 foot white garden fence, scary eye balloons, mylar ribbon on stakes, owls with eyes that blink and heads that rotate, rubber ferocious looking coyote and more. Found that firecrackers worked but only when I’m home and the wind’s not blowing. Going to try electric fence next.


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