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Canada Geese and eating crops

 
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We've inherited wild Canada geese on a small pond located on property we've just leased. We're in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, so they apparently stay here year-round. I'm sure someone at some point elsewhere in the forum has discussed this question, and if so, please direct me, I couldn't find it. Other than hunting (because the pond is close to neighboring houses and there is a very reasonable by-law about discharging firearms near habitations) and the obnoxiously loud cannons used to frighten them away (re. neighbors), are there other ways of discouraging or making the pond unattractive to these geese? The property we've moved onto has been abused and some intensive rebuilding of the soil is necessary. The geese will eat anything we put down to try and repair the damage. I can't imagine a scenario where the geese become part of the solution, and I'm casting around for any kind of solution at this point.
 
steward
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I'm not sure if this would help but if you put a stakes up and a string 12" off the ground at the water's edge, apparently they won't come on shore at that place.  Maybe this is best with a big lake and you just want the geese pooping on the neighbor's yard instead of yours.
 
pollinator
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Yes, while Canada Gooses are magnificent in their massive V formations, they can also be very destructive on the ground. And then there's the "infinite poop factory" problem.

As I understand it, CG populations are exploding. In this area, controls are being used to limit population growth -- such as oiling eggs in nests. (if you remove or destroy the eggs, they will just lay more. If the eggs are coated in vegetable (?) oil, they won't hatch, and the geese say "oh well, next year I guess" or something like that.)

My parents had half their garden eaten for the first time last year. It's by a nice pond, and too many pairs moved in. The reseeded and put up physical barriers, successfully. Note that they don't bother potato plants.

I came across this after reading your post. It seems to be rational and research-based :  https://stoppestinfo.com/406-how-to-get-rid-of-geese.html

Way back when, Lee Valley sold a motion sensor that turned on a sprinkler system. Could something be improvised?

Or keep a terrier -- they love the exercise.
 
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The goose manure could potentially be helpful for repairing of soil. The nutrients they bring from the pond will be brought to the soil from their manure too. My ducks live in the backyard and I have little kid pools they swim in. When the water is fowled up I dump it and it has a bunch of nutrients in the water, it then is dumped and goes into the soil. The ducks put their beaks into that, and can attempt to further aerate the soil as they try to find food in the wet soil. I try to make my ducks work more than me, they also keep my lawn trimmed without having to mow ever.

It sounds like you are trying to grow edible garden near the pond, and deterring the geese might be necessary so you all can enjoy the harvest instead of them. My ducks ate my garden to bits when they had access, but deterring may be time intensive. Especially wildlife. Perhaps plant something along the pond they can fill up on before going to your growing space. Otherwise may need a plan of multiple deterrents, they could get use to one method (according to link below), and geese love ponds. In the US the goose is protected as a migratory water fowl, but I hear they are tasty. I wonder if trapping could be an option instead of firearm use.

This link might help with deterrent ideas
How to Deter Geese From Your Lawn
 
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I'm not too far from you.  We have a pair of Canadian Geese (before anyone complains, they are 'Canadian' because they are non-migratory and reside in Canada most of the year and also happen to be Canada Geese) that come to our yard for about 8 to 10 months of the year (although they nest on the nearby flats).  They eat our grass and chicken feed, but leave the crops alone.  They act as livestock guards for our chickens and ducks.  I'm very glad they made this their home, although, to be frank, they have been coming here for 40+years before we moved in (wild geese can easily live 50+ years and have a fantastic memory) so we're lucky they adopted us and our livestock as part of their flock.

A pair won't eat that much, but if you have a gaggle, that's another matter.  They can decimate (reduce by one-tenth) a grain crop in a matter of days.  But these are usually the migratory flocks, not the year-round ones.

The first thing to find out is if they are actually eating your crops. My wild geese don't and my domestic geese adore pulling up weeds and eating the roots (especially speargrass).  Most of the time, wild geese are very happy to nibble the tops of grass and we haven't had to mow our lawn in nearly two years and their favourite places to nibble are the places with the most regrowth. The geese (both domestic and wild) are very fussy and have their own individual favourite foods.  

I've read lots of things that animals are supposed to do, and even read these books to my animals - the animals have their own opinions as how they act.  

If they are actually hampering the rebuilding of the soil, then there are ways to scare them off.  Dog, sounds, those motion sensor water sprayers are very popular.  
 
Roland Maurice
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Thanks everyone, in reading your ideas and experiences, it occurred to me that I barely considered habitat. As you've indicated, an open lawn leading to a pond is what they like and are attracted to. I'm sure my neighbors will prefer this over any noise-making device to scare them away. I'll start research on this to see if I can build an ecosystem around the pond that would be unattractive to them. I've noticed another pond a few dozen meters away where they never seem to go - it's surrounded by a dense regrowth of alder, but it's also maybe a third smaller than the pond they like. Do they avoid this one because of the trees or because of its size or because of some other factor I don't know about? Hey, and if we grow a food forest around the pond with trees shadowing the water, it'll also help reduce evaporation over the summer.
Lawns are not important to our project, but grazing for a mixed use farm is, which is why I want to address the Canada goose situation ASAP. If I find that shrubby or forested habitat is unattractive to them, perhaps silvopasturing would work.
 
Roland Maurice
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Roland Maurice wrote:Thanks everyone, in reading your ideas and experiences, it occurred to me that I barely considered habitat. As you've indicated, an open lawn leading to a pond is what they like and are attracted to. I'm sure my neighbors will prefer this over any noise-making device to scare them away. I'll start research on this to see if I can build an ecosystem around the pond that would be unattractive to them. I've noticed another pond a few dozen meters away where they never seem to go - it's surrounded by a dense regrowth of alder, but it's also maybe a third smaller than the pond they like. Do they avoid this one because of the trees or because of its size or because of some other factor I don't know about? Hey, and if we grow a food forest around the pond with trees shadowing the water, it'll also help reduce evaporation over the summer.
Lawns are not important to our project, but grazing for a mixed use farm is, which is why I want to address the Canada goose situation ASAP. If I find that shrubby or forested habitat is unattractive to them, perhaps silvopasturing would work.


And they are grazing quite a lot what's already there. They are not new to the property; we are - they've been leaving a lot of manure behind already, for sure! :)
 
pollinator
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Roland Maurice wrote:Thanks everyone, in reading your ideas and experiences, it occurred to me that I barely considered habitat. As you've indicated, an open lawn leading to a pond is what they like and are attracted to. I'm sure my neighbors will prefer this over any noise-making device to scare them away. I'll start research on this to see if I can build an ecosystem around the pond that would be unattractive to them. I've noticed another pond a few dozen meters away where they never seem to go - it's surrounded by a dense regrowth of alder, but it's also maybe a third smaller than the pond they like. Do they avoid this one because of the trees or because of its size or because of some other factor I don't know about? Hey, and if we grow a food forest around the pond with trees shadowing the water, it'll also help reduce evaporation over the summer.
Lawns are not important to our project, but grazing for a mixed use farm is, which is why I want to address the Canada goose situation ASAP. If I find that shrubby or forested habitat is unattractive to them, perhaps silvopasturing would work.



Around Lake Washington in Seattle, geese are a continuing issue - rich people want lovely lawns sloping down to the beach which are goose heaven.  (My ex-husband was in the UW marching band, which practiced in just such a field, and had colorful comments about geese.  We cooked a domestic one once for Thanksgiving entirely to ease his trauma.  (He also offered to syringe up the grease every half hour for ten hours - the next year we did Cornish game hens with no argument.))  

I gather that even something so low as a pingpong net will discourage them as long as it blocks the shoreline, and access from other yards.  A second set of wires 1 meter into the water helps even more.

Willows are a permie favorite that love water.  Weeping willows are of course particularly lovely.  Googling tells me that many goose repellents are grape-based, but not why.  Now I want to see a nice hip-high fence of trained grape vines!
 
r ranson
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How many geese are there right now?

If it's two, then wait until the summer before making any changes to the habitat.  In Canada, there's some strong rules against bothering nesting wildlife.

Besides, a nesting site is unlikely to become overcrowded with geese as they are territorial.  It's the flats and the fields that the geese gaggle at and destroy.  But for non-monoculture farming, it's highly unlikely to have trouble with geese damaging soil restoration - they are usually a vital part of rebuilding the soil and you already have some for free.
 
Roland Maurice
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r ranson wrote:How many geese are there right now?

If it's two, then wait until the summer before making any changes to the habitat.  In Canada, there's some strong rules against bothering nesting wildlife.

Besides, a nesting site is unlikely to become overcrowded with geese as they are territorial.  It's the flats and the fields that the geese gaggle at and destroy.  But for non-monoculture farming, it's highly unlikely to have trouble with geese damaging soil restoration - they are usually a vital part of rebuilding the soil and you already have some for free.



The pond is only a few years old; it's all pretty stark around it and things are only just starting to take hold around it. Then the year before we arrived they tilled the field directly adjacent to the pond and we want to seed it to prevent colonizing weeds from taking over (like bull thistle and broom). I'm concerned that they will eat up the reclamation pasture seed mix we've got, either as seed or as sprouts or as both. If the grass has a chance to establish itself, I'd be a little less concerned. There are about a dozen geese, but I do notice there are two that are more persistent about hanging around when my dog and I go down for a run at at them; we harry them to try to prevent them from thinking it's a good nesting site. There's no evidence it's ever been used for nesting, or at least none that I could find.
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