By Kathy Ray
When you or your children were little, playing duck, duck, goose was an all-time favorite. However, now as an adult, I bet geese in any form are not on your list of fun. Oh sure, the first time I saw a goose heading to our pond, I was in awe. We all have that moment when nature’s beauty walks into our city and suburban lifestyle and we think we’ve hit the jackpot. Then, reality soon hits! You just wanted to enjoy the visual beauty; not turn your yard into a goose dropping slime pit.
Unless you have a proper hunting license for geese, these creatures are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Here are some facts about geese:
- Geese overgraze on lawns, eat crops, and trample turf.
- Each goose creates approximately three pounds of fecal matter daily.
- Their droppings create a health risk to humans and can cause nutrient loading in water; which in turn triggers algal blooms and excessive plant growth in lakes.
- Geese are very territorial and will return to the same location year after year.
- A goose can live upwards of 24 years and weighs approximately 12-14 pounds.
- When a female is nesting, she is unable to fly and the male will stand watch. Many humans have been attacked by the aggressive male during the nesting season, which is early spring.
- If geese are not deterred from nesting, they have been known to nest near each other in gang broods of up to approximately 20 birds.
There is a chemical that can be administered to your grass that upsets a goose’s stomach and the concept is they will not return to graze after getting ill. Unfortunately, after lawn mowing and heavy spring rains, this chemical is soon gone. Another form of deterrent for business and homeowners to try is fencing. Again, you might get a few who waddle away, but most often geese will fly into another location and walk to the best eating area.
This all probably sounds depressing and you might be thinking it’s impossible to rid your property of geese, but there is a humane and effective way to rid geese from your home or business. That is by using a Border Collie. The goose has only one predator and that is a wolf. The Border Collie’s body shape and stance mimics that of the wolf and, coupled with their ability to learn how to “sneak attack,” makes them the perfect weapon for goose control.
About now you are probably thinking that you have a dog and don’t really see how a Border Collie would be any different. The process is very different. First, the Border Collie used for goose control should have been professionally trained for this type of work specifically and two, the dog should be controlled by a handler at all times. Geese are smarter than most of us think. When you monitor their habits, a handler learns what times they are most prevalent at a property and works on a “plan of attack” with the trained dog.
Another reason a specially-trained Border Collie works so well and is supported by the US Humane Society for goose control is their plan of attack never harms a goose or nest and the dog rarely makes a sound. Sometimes the excitement of charging into a large group of geese that take off in flight will cause the dog to bark, but normally no sound is made. Again, it’s all about the “sneak attack”.
In our area of the country if you are going to have a goose problem at your home or office, you most likely will start seeing them frequently into late fall and winter. Even though Border Collies will also go into the water after the geese, the temperatures are usually too cold and the possibility of being injured from ice floes is too great until the weather warms in the spring. Sometimes that can be too late to begin a plan of action. So, to supplement the use of the specially-trained Border Collie during winter months or in an area that is difficult to get to, an approved laser light at dusk and dawn and a remote boat during daylight hours is often used. Geese are creatures of habit and want to be comfortable. Not really so different from all of us! If someone was aggravating you in your home several times a day, you would probably pack up and move on too. That is exactly what happens when you institute these effective tools into your arsenal.
The main ingredient to any of these modalities is consistency. Your property should be evaluated by the goose-chasing professional prior to outlining a plan to determine how many times a day he or she will need to get the goose population under control. A heavily-populated area with geese usually requires three to four times a day at the start of goose chasing.
Vic was born in Georgia and sent to one of the top trainers in the country who is at Big Bend Farm in Virginia. After extensive training, in 2012 Pond Wiser brought Vic to Ohio where he currently resides and works diligently sending geese to public wetlands. For more information about Vic, visit the website for Pond Wiser, Inc, at www.pondwiser.com or contact them at 330-833-3764.
Goose Control Ideas