Geese Management—page 2   click to return to page 1

2 – Habitat Modification: 

         Habitat modification involves making the environment less favourable to geese.  Geese like wide open spaces.  This allows them to clearly see any predators that might be approaching.  It also provides clear paths for take-off and landing.   They prefer short cropped grass that can easily be plucked for food.  Geese also like locations where the ground slopes gently to allow access to a water source.  You will also want to make sure that your habitat does not provide good nesting spots for geese.  The document that we have linked at the bottom of this section is an excellent source for exact specifications for habitat modification.  We suggest you read it and use it to plan your modifications. 


To discourage geese you would want to make some of the modifications listed below.  Some are natural modifications, while others are suggestions that produce the same effects.  Use whatever suggestion works best for your location.


Provide Hiding Places for Predators

         The hiding places don’t have to be actually for predators, they just need to be something that a predator COULD hide behind.  The geese will look at them and worry that a predator MIGHT be behind it and they will be very nervous and will likely go somewhere else.  Here are a few suggestions:

· Bushes & Shrubs — plant bushes & shrubs in locations that will prevent the geese form having long straight views.   Several small grouping work very well, as do long hedges.  Just make sure that there aren’t clear views in any one direction for a long distance!  Check out the document listed at the end of this section for suggested plants.

· Trees — plant trees that will make it difficult for the geese to fly.  If they can’t escape quickly, they will not feel secure and won’t stick around ling.  Also, many of their predators live in trees, so they will be naturally fearful of what might be watching them from above.   Check out the document listed at the end of this section for suggested trees.

· Boxes — for a temporary solution, large cardboard boxes can be used.  They should be painted to waterproof them and they should be anchored using tent pegs or something similar so they don’t get blown over.  These have the added advantage of being able to be moved.  If they don’t work in one grouping, you can rearrange them into a new grouping. 

· Picnic Tables & Benches — parks usually have picnic tables and Benches and you’ll notice that geese usually won’t go near them  - UNLESS SOMEONE IS FEEDING THEM there, see notes in public education.  Tables & benches provide obstructions to the “clear view” that geese prefer.  They don’t provide much of a block to their vision, but they are a functional choice for a large public area.  These too can be rearranged as required.

· Flower Gardens — flower gardens with large bunches of plants will obstruct the view and they are a natural and attractive choice for any open space.

· Decorations — decorations such as waterfalls, fountains, statues, etc.  all provide barriers.  They are attractive choices for any open space.  Many of these can also be rearranged as required.

· Children’s outdoor toys — large children’s outdoor toys can provide nice hiding places for predators—especially the kids that are playing with the toys!  So, let your kids leave their tents, 4 wheelers, small slides, pools, inflatables, etc. out in the open where they can block the geese’s view.  Don’t worry too much about the geese coming too close — if the item is big enough to hide a predator, the geese won’t likely go near it!  


Provide Grass that is NOT ideal

           The geese want short cropped grass and they prefer specific types of grass — they love Kentucky Blue Grass.

· Don’t cut the grass — geese like short cropped grass, so be lazy and let the grass grow!!  They will have more difficulties eating the grass if it is long.  It will also provide a potential hiding place for predators as it gets taller.  Another advantage of taller grass is to keep the geese from moving into specific areas.  Tall grass is very difficult for them to push through.

· Plant grasses they don’t like — geese don’t like all types of grass.  IF you purchase new grass seed, purchase one that is less tasty!  The document at the end of the Habitat Modification section and other links provided at the end list some grasses that could be useful. 

· Sprays — there are sprays on the marked that can make the grass less palatable for geese.  We will discuss this further in its own section below. 


Make it difficult to access the water

           Geese don’t like to have to battle to get in and out of the water.  They like level entry points without obstructions.

· Don’t cut the grass near the water — geese will not want to push through thick & tall grass to get to or from the water.  They will also avoid such areas as a predator could easily be hiding in or behind the grass.  If you don’t like the look of “regular grass”, you might want to consider planting a wildflower grass mix.

· Place obstructions at the waters edge — geese don’t like to climb and can’t always to get out of the water.  Objects such as rocks and large driftwood can deter the geese from accessing the water.  For height specification, please read the document linked at the end of this section.

· Create a cliff at the water’s edge — geese can’t “jump” out of the water.  They prefer to walk out.  If the level of the land is increased high enough so they can’t step out, they will not climb out.  You can add fill to increase the height or cut the banks back to make a sharp edge or you can deepen the waterway where it meets the land — the geese cannot put their feet down to step out if it is too deep.  Make sure that you have water modification permits if they are required in your area.  Also check the document we have linked to for suggestions.

·  Use plants to deter the geese — like tall grass, plants such as hostas can be difficult for geese to push through.  Use plants that love wet areas and are bushy.  There are lots of nice looking plants that you can use.  Please check the document we have linked to for suggestions or ask your local garden center for advice.


Make it difficult to find a nesting spot

           Geese look for a location where they can easily defend their nest and hide it from predators.  Some of the habitat modifications may actually provide nesting sites for the geese.  In this case, you may want to use some of the scare tactics to keep the geese away from these locations.  You will need to check your location for places that the geese could put a nest and the parent could sit on the nest without being seen.  Details on nesting behavior and what to look for can be found in the document linked below and in other “geese” links on our site.  Contact us if you need additional information and we will send you some suggestions!


**** The link below will take you to a fantastic document on habitat modification.  We suggest you take the time to read it thoroughly!

http://www.animalalliance.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Goose_Manual-Habitat-Modification.pdf + Appendices

If you find this manual useful, please make sure you support them by donating to their cause — a link for donations can be found at:   http://www.animalalliance.ca/


3 – Barriers: 

           Barriers can be used to keep geese out of an area and/or to frighten geese.  They can be natural barriers, such as grass and plants (as mentioned in Habitat Modification) or they can be man made fences and barriers.  Barriers can be used to keep geese off walkways, out of specific zones and from leaving the water. 

Natural Barriers:

· Grass — as mentioned in the Habitat Modification section, grass can be used to keep geese from going into an area.  Simply don’t mow the grass in a patch the length you want your barrier to be.  If you don’t like the look of it, you might want to consider planting a wildflower grass mix.

· Hedges — a thick hedge makes a great barrier.   Choose bushes or shrubs that grow closely together to create a barrier that cannot be pushed through easily, especially near the waters edge.

· Water plants — use tall & thickly packed water plants to create a barrier the geese cannot push through easily.

· Flowers and plants — use plants that are bushy or thick growing and fairly tall so the geese cannot push through them or see above them.  The plant must be a bit taller than the geese to act as a decent barrier. 


Man-Made Barriers:

· Stones — carefully piled stones can prevent the geese from entering a location.  Make sure the wall or pile is high enough to prevent the geese from climbing.  Also make sure it is stable so no one — human or animal — can get hurt.  You might want to consider cementing or “gluing” the stones together.

· Twig Fence — use fallen tree branches to make a fence.  Make sure the pieces are tied together well and cannot be pushed loose by animals.  Also make sure there aren’t any locations where an animal can get itself caught in the fence.   To be an affective barrier it must be tall enough to keep the geese from climbing it.

· Standard Fence — use lumber or pre-made fencing to create a barrier.  The barrier should be at least tall enough to keep the geese from trying to climb over it.  If you also want to scare the geese away, the fence should be taller than the geese so they cannot look over it.  You may also want to let the grass grow next to the fence for the “hidden predator” effect.

· Stake & Wire Fence — there are a number of “goose barriers” fences available online.  They usually involve a stake and some kind of wire and are designed primarily for use as water barriers.  Please check the links provided on our site or online resources for more details.  If you need help, please contact us.

· Garden Netting Fence — a cheap barrier can be made using stakes and garden netting.  The stakes need to be pounded into the ground and secured very well.  The garden netting also needs to be attached very well.  It is best to create a simple frame with wood (stakes, dowels or garden poles) and drape the netting over it.  The netting should be “stitched” to the wood.  Make sure the size of the holes is not too big or too small; you don’t want animals to get tangled in it!  Also note, if you do not cut the grass next to the fence, the geese will not be able to see through it and will be much less likely to “challenge” it.  This type of barrier can be constructed for very little cost and can be removed when it is not required.   If your location has a gravel walkway and you simply want to keep geese away from the walking path, this is a great choice for a barrier.  The fence can be placed 2-3 feet away from the path (which allows space for people to walk their dogs) and the grass should be allowed to grow on 1 or both sides of the fence.  The grass will frighten the geese and provide a “pee barrier” for the dogs. 




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