Maybe you’re not using your yard as much as you’d like. The droppings and other mess make it nearly impossible for you to enjoy the space. There’s one solution: find out how to get rid of geese in your backyard once and for all, and we’re here to help you do that.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Understanding Why You Should Get Rid of Geese
Aesthetic reasons aside, there are several reasons you need to get your goose problem under control. If you have chickens, these waterfowl can increase your birds’ risk of contracting avian influenza. While that condition won’t affect you or your family, there are several others that can.
They include both Campylobacter and salmonella, although little evidence suggests that their presence affects your risk of Giardia or West Nile virus. If you’re pregnant or have small children, that fact is likely upsetting, to say the least.
However, goose droppings can negatively impact water quality and your ability to enjoy ponds and lakes because of E. coli contaminating the water.
You also have to consider the impacts to your landscaping. Geese have a voracious appetite and can decimate gardens planted with favorites such as coneflowers. These birds are tough on lawns because they pull and uproot grasses and other forbs.
We can’t ignore the fact that geese are aggressive and will protect their goslings ferociously if they feel threatened. Believe us when we say that you don’t want to get slapped down or bitten by an angry gander. Both sexes will take charge.
Step 2: Assessing the Situation
Part of the problem with how to get rid of geese in your backyard is that humans have created the perfect habitat for them. We have removed their predators like foxes, coyotes, and bears. And we rolled out the red carpet with our manicured lawns, golf courses, and parks.
There was a time that we tried to increase their numbers with game management and controlled hunting. Suffice to say, that we succeeded in spades. Those factors have fueled their population increase by reducing their natural wariness of humans.
To be fair, geese do bring a natural element that is comforting. They remind us to forget the daily grind and get back to what matters in life. We’d only wish that they did it someplace else.
In short, it’s our bad if we’re forced to find a way to control them.
Step 3: Removing the Things They Need From Your Property
Geese, like other wildlife, need three things from their habitat. They include:
These waterfowl can manage some of them fine on their own because of their mobility. However, that won’t stop them from looking for an easy meal in your backyard. And if you live on a lake, you’re making it easy with whatever food exists on your property.
Focusing on making your shoreline uninviting is an excellent compromise that won’t affect any other wildlife that you’re trying to attract. Instead of a flat, well-manicured surface, plant native grasses and forbs like cattail, duckweed, and sedges that will discourage the geese.
An additional perk is that you will prevent soil erosion with plants that will anchor it in place. You can also opt for other suitable options such as willows that will provide cover for other birds that you may want to invite onto your property.
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Step 4: Scare Them Away
It may sound cruel, but it is the better option that plays on the biology of the geese. These birds, like all organisms, try to conserve their resources. That means optimizes their energy uptake and caloric output. Using scare tactics triggers their instinctive response to move onto other places.
It’s essential to know upfront that you’re dealing with a formidable enemy. Geese are smart and are quick to spot a ruse for what it is. You must be diligent and willing to mix it up to make your plan for how to get rid of geese in your backyard work.
You have several options for making it happen. They include:
- Noise and other deterrents
- Natural enemies
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of each one.
Many birds and wildlife species come into the world knowing the signs and silhouettes of their enemies. After all, animals don’t often get a second chance when it comes to recognizing a threat. Either you react or….suffer the consequences.
That’s what makes decoys such an effective solution for how to get rid of geese in your backyard. They don’t have to be overly realistic either. It’s the shape that matters. For these waterfowl, that means raptors and the other predators we mentioned earlier.
You’ll find simple flat cutouts, plastic forms, or cloth forms. We recommend sticking with the ones that move. Geese aren’t dumb. They’ll figure out that that plastic owl is fake and probably feed right alongside it as an added insult to injury.
We’d also suggest moving the decoy around occasionally to make it seem more real. Geese, after all, know the behavior of their predators better than we do. Don’t make it easy for them to cry foul.
Noise and Other Deterrents
This solution is a mixed bag. You will scare them off—temporarily. Like the decoy, the geese will figure it out and may learn to ignore it. However, you still have the surprise factor that you can work to your advantage.
The other problems you may face are your family and neighbors. Loud sirens or other noises are annoying, especially in quiet, rural areas. Another thing you can try is to try this method with a motion-sensor sprinkler.
A blast of cold water is sure to catch their attention. It won’t hurt them, but it will get your message across that they aren’t welcome in a noticeable way. The best thing about it is that the geese probably won’t need to get blasted too many times before they decide to move onto greener pastures.
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Natural Enemies on the Job
This option won’t work for any situation, although it is an effective one. We talked about how geese will defend their young. They have nothing on the fierceness of swans. If you have a pond, get a couple of pinioned birds.
The swans can’t fly off, but they will protect their space and keep the geese at bay, not unlike a llama on a sheep farm. They are bigger and meaner than geese and will make it a non-issue.
Step 5: Implementing a Multi-Faceted Approach
You’ll have your best luck with putting a plan of how to get rid of geese in your backyard in action is if you use more than one method. These birds know their environment and will react to changes. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to keep them guessing.
The goal is to make your land as uninviting as possible. Sometimes, one thing won’t do it in the way you need to do with a tenacious geese population.
However, there is a caveat, and it’s a big one. You must keep up with your approach the entire year, especially toward the end of the season.
The reason is that migrants are likely passing through later in the year. They haven’t had the time to experience all the fronts you’ve been putting up all along. Don’t drop your guard when you have a new set of geese invading your yard.
Follow this advice even if you have year-round resident geese. These birds will take cues from other waterfowl around them. Don’t let them think that your backyard is a safe place.
Step 6: The Final Answer to Getting Rid of Geese
If you still have nuisance geese even after all the deterrents you’ve put into place, the war isn’t lost. It’s just moved to a different front.
The easy option is to contact your local extension office about geese removal programs. Some universities will harvest these birds to learn more about them and remove them off of your land. It won’t cost you anything, and you’ll have a quick solution to a vexing problem.
The alternative is to take matters in your own hands.
Geese are protected animals because of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and state game laws. That means that you can’t just pull out the shotgun from your locked gun cabinet and start shooting of making your yard geese-free.
You can apply for a nuisance animal permit to get rid of your nemesis. However, you’ll likely find that there are conditions and regs that you must follow. It’ll also mean a fee for the privilege.
If you live in a rural area, you can wait until the hunting season and have at it. You’ll still need a license and permit, but you may have more latitude when taking birds during this time. Of course, you must also adhere to all the gun regulations to stay legal.
Another option is to leave it in the hands of a professional nuisance wildlife control agency. It’s probably the most expensive way to manage a goose problem. We’d suggest contacting the biology department of a nearby university to see if they can’t offer a free or low-cost solution.
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How to Get Rid of Geese in Your Backyard: Final Thoughts
Geese are the proverbial double-edged sword. Their presence puts us in connection with nature and provides a welcome respite from the hurried life of urban living. If it ended there, we’d probably all live happily ever after.
But it doesn’t.
Geese are destructive and can quickly foul a yard, making it unusable. It’s a necessary evil that homeowners need to know how to get rid of geese in your backyard to take it back and enjoy your property.