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How to Live With or Get Rid of Canada Geese

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Canada Goose
© Doris Lin 2011, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Humane, Nonlethal Canada Geese Solutions

While it may be impossible to get rid of the geese completely, a number of things can be done to reduce the number of geese on your property and minimize conflicts.

Always consult an animal-friendly professional, such as Geese Peace, before beginning any of these efforts. Some of them will require a permit from the USFWS, and depending on the time of year, could inadvertently hurt the geese. You can also contact USFWS to ask if your plan will require a permit from them.

  • Covering eggs with corn oil or shaking ("addling") the eggs will prevent them from hatching. The eggs must be returned to the nest or the female may build a new nest and lay a new clutch of eggs. If it is late enough in the season, destroying the nests can be done without worrying about the female building a new nest. This is the cornerstone of the Geese Peace program to humanely reduce human/goose conflicts.
  • As with other wildlife conflicts, as long as the attractant is present, new individuals will take the place of the ones who are killed or chased away. One way to make the area unattractive to geese is to allow grasses to grow to their full height, or replace the grass with vegetation that is less attractive to the geese. According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, geese do not like mature tall fescue, periwinkle, myrtle, pachysandra, English ivy, hosta or plantain lily, ground juniper, and witch grass.
  • Stop people from feeding the geese. Feeding corn or bread to the geese is bad for the geese, encourages the geese to approach humans and may cause them to become aggressive.
  • Make it more difficult for the geese to enter/exit the water by turning the gentle grassy slope into a steep drop.
  • Repellants may discourage geese from the area, but must be re-applied to the grass regularly.
  • Visual barriers like strips of mylar tape may scare geese away from the area as they catch the sunlight and flutter in the breeze.
  • Fencing off the property can discourage geese from the area, although geese may still fly in. Installing a fence to separate the grass from the lake or pond will also discourage the geese.
  • Noisemakers and bright lights will scare geese away, but the geese may grow accustomed to them over time.
  • Trained dogs are sometimes used to scare geese away, although the breeding, training and selling/renting dogs to work for humans is problematic from an animal rights perspective.
  • Sometimes, a life-sized wooden silhouette in the shape of a dog discourages geese from the area.

Canada Geese and Animal Rights

From an animal rights perspective, killing the geese can never be the solution to these conflicts, especially when something as simple as changing the vegetation will repel the geese. Also, the situation with resident Canada geese is yet another example of human interference with wildlife having an untintended effect that causes some people to call for the animals to be killed.

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