Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How to Get Rid of Geese: Goose Control Products


      Many people research how to keep geese out of their yards and off of their properties.  Most of our customers tell us that they get their information and products from internet.  This is all well and good but if you do not know how to use the information and products properly you will lose your hard earned money and still have geese in your yard.

   Canada geese are beautiful birds. Their honking high in the sky signals signs of spring and fall migration.  In many cases these beautiful geese become a territorial nuisance and unwelcome guests to our properties. So exactly how do you resolve this nuisance geese issue by yourself? 

    There are several products that can be purchased as 'deterrents'. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.  There are coyote effigies in many forms, lawn spray on deterrents from different companies, noise makers, streamers, bird bangers, motion detecting sprinkler and bottle rockets.  We have seen alligator heads and fake swans used also.  There are blinking lights that turn on at night and various types of string grids and borders to stop geese from landing or walking on your property.  There are many product to deter geese from eating your grass, pooping on it and when nesting, attacking people.

    There are several lawn treatments that claim to repel geese.  Flight Control Plus is what we use if our client prefers not to use dogs for one reason or another.  This liquid is effective against repelling geese because it uses a visual deterrent and a physical deterrent.  When Flight Control Plus is applied to lawns it makes the grass look different to the geese than untreated grass.  The physical deterrent is when the geese eat the treated grass it upsets their stomach.  The Canada geese put two and two together and decide not to eat this funny looking grass anymore because they get stomach distress.  The geese, then, ultimately decide to find someone else's lawn to feed on.  Flight Control Plus does not wash off with rain or snow.  It will also lasts for a few lawn cuttings.  This is beneficial because it does not have to be applied as much as other spray on goose juices.

    Coyote or dog effigies can be effective for a while and in some instances work depending on the size of the area.  Effigies are not a maintenance free tool however.  In order to give them a chance to work they must be moved frequently. If they are placed at the center of a soccer field for instance it may stop geese from landing initially. Geese will land as a far away as possible from it after a while. They will then move closer and closer to it until they realize it is not real or a moving threat.  However, if the decoy is moved throughout the day it may fool the geese into thinking it is real.  We have seen them work better in smaller areas where geese do not have an alternate landing area.  
There is also a dead goose decoy that is sold. We have never seen one employed.  The reviews on them are not very good.  

    Plastic swans in your pond or lake usually do not work well at getting rid of geese unless you had a live aggressive pair of swans nesting there before.  Again if you place a plastic swan in the middle of a 15 acre lake a flock of geese will just land far enough away from it to feel safe.  Once they realize Mr. Swan is always in the same spot, Canada geese will continue to come.   If you have two, 1 acre ponds and one pond has a live pair of geese in it and the other a fake, the set up will probably work.  The live swans are giving the fake swans some credibility.

    There are large propane noise canons that can be purchased that blast off on timers.  These work if you are in a large unpopulated area. Otherwise your neighbors will hate you and call the police. These are somewhat appropriate for farmlands and out of the way golf courses. But like the other tools the direction and location of the canon is critical and needs to rotated on a frequent basis.  The time of day would also be critical as you would not want a noise canon going off while people are golfing.

    There are solar yellow blinking lights that turn on when it gets dark to deter geese from roosting in your pond our lake. On small ponds these can be effective as geese cannot get far enough away from them.  If one blinking yellow light is placed on a 20 acre lake geese will just stay far enough away from it for their comfort.  These lights are relatively expensive so purchasing many could be cost prohibitive.  These lights also do not work during the day.  Used in the correct manner for night roosting geese they can be effective.

    Setting up a grid system with string  or wire on a pond is considered inhumane as geese may not see the grid and get tangled up in it. This could lead to broken legs, wings or death if the goose gets snagged in an awkward position and drowns.  I have seen some grids set up on flat roofs to deter geese but they also become a nuisance to HVAC guys who service air conditioners.  One simple thing we have seen work quite well is a rope used to separate a pond from a lawn.  If geese are wading out of a pond and onto your lawn, a 1/4" rope strung about 8" off the ground will deter geese from crossing over it.  Geese are  somewhat lazy and do not like having to fly over it for some reason. It is a real simple set up depending on how far you need to stretch the rope to keep geese away.  We use 18" flat wooden stakes  (Menards,Walmart ) and drill a hole at the top of it each one. We place the stakes 6'-8' apart and tie knots at each end.  Due to weathering, the rope will sag so leave room to pull the stakes further apart from each end.  I am truly amazed at how simple this is and how well it works. If the rope stretches and falls to the grass however, the geese will cross over it. So keep it raised up to be effective. 

     Canada geese are relentless once they find a place to their liking.  More than likely it will not be the same geese visiting your property every day as geese love to property and pond hop.  Your efforts must be as relentless as their willingness to stay. If one thing does not work, try another or try it in a different manner and location.  Remember you are dealing with nature and wildlife and both are pretty unpredictable.  Be inventive and consistent using your Canada goose deterrents and you will have a better chance at success.  Please always remember to be humane and considerate to your neighbors.

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