Geese Management

Less than forty years ago, the Canadian goose was rarely seen in many parts of the lower forty-eight, but as a result of restoration projects and an increase in both urban and suburban bodies of water, Canadian Geese are a common sighting. Many people recognize the sight and sound of the geese as the beginning of a new season.

But while there are those who enjoy the geese and their goslings, the issue of too many geese in one area is a completely different subject.

Depending on which side of the fence you work or live, it’s best to view this issue from above. Generally developers and landowners unwittingly cause problems by creating habitats that are ideal for the geese. As grazers, they feed on short, fresh green grass. If adjacent to a body of water, such as those within golf courses or homeowners developments, and you’ve created a perfect goose environment. To add insult, once geese begin nesting in an area, they have the tendency to return year after year to the same body of water.
Add the tendency of well-intentioned people to feed the geese, and the problem begins to multiply.  Artificial feeding encourages concentrate larger populations of geese in places that under natural conditions would support only a few geese. Feeding also may disrupt  patterns of migration with geese staying longer than they would in a natural environment.

When geese from colossal congregations, damage to landscaping is often significant and costly to repair. The excrement can close swimming areas, make parks and golf courses undesirable, and leave lawns and patios unfit for use.

Most issues  in metropolitan areas occur in early spring during nesting season. Eggs are laid soon after the completion of nest construction. Female Canadian Geese lay one egg every 1.5 days, and average a clutch size of five. The incubation period begins after the female lays the last egg and lasts 28 days.

Hatchings and  goslings are not able to fly for the first  70 days, so they graze near the nesting area during this time. Adults molt their flight feathers in late spring, early summer, depending on location, which renders them flightless for the next 15 to 20 days.

Border collies are especially useful for geese management, although it is important to work according to the schedule outlined in the previous article. Success is based on understanding the Canadian Geese calendar, and getting out there before they have a chance to settle in for the season.