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The Not So Golden Geese, and How to Get Them To Leave

If you own or manage a golf course, large property, or even just a lakefront home, geese are probably one of your most persistent pests. Pest control for geese is a widely searched topic among large property owners, especially the Canada goose, which is one of the largest members of the waterfowl family.

While getting rid of your geese is an important matter, it is also important to consider natural goose repellent and other humane ways of keeping geese off your turf. To understand how to get rid of Canadian geese on your property, it is important to know a little more about geese and their habits.

Why Geese Choose Certain Territories

Remember, Canada geese don’t know or understand anything about property rights, proper lawn care techniques, or keeping golfers happy. For geese, they are primarily concerned about finding reliable sources of food and shelter. Canadian geese are primarily herbivores, meaning they eat grains and grasses, though occasionally they will eat small bugs and fishes. Because they are herbivores, geese are traditionally looking for places with large amounts of beautiful grass, such as a golf course. Additionally, geese train themselves to go back to places that are relatively predator free. Large amounts of grass plus predator free? That fits most golf courses and other property management areas.

Geese are also looking for shelter, however because they can fly up to 1,500 miles in a single day, it isn’t always necessary that they nest next to where they eat. Geese are happy to live somewhere safe and away from the feeding grounds. So one of the best things you can do, is train them to not like your grass and yard as a place to eat.

Geese are Habitual Creatures

Canada geese are very habitual creatures and like to migrate to the same places each year. Additionally, Canada geese mate for life and tend to travel in large flocks. This means if you have a few geese, dozens more are likely on the way. Because geese are generational migratory animals, they will tend to go back to the same place they were born. This means that your geese problem will likely not be resolved by just waiting it out.

The Humane Solution: Train your Geese

Want to know one of the best goose deterrents on the market? Training. Remember, geese are creatures of habit. Habit will bring the geese back to where the grass tastes the best. What does that have to do with the best goose deterrent? Great question.

The best goose deterrent is both humane and effective. Simply spray your lawn with a special mixture that will both change the taste of the grass and give it a slightly different look under UV light (which is detectable to the geese but not to you). It should be stressed that this spray will not kill the geese or make them sick, it is simply the best goose deterrent for these reasons:

First, each time a goose eats the treated grass, it will remember the bitter taste. Because the grass also appears visually different to the goose, the goose will begin to form an association that the discolored grass doesn’t taste good. This pattern will eventually be so trained into the geese that they will no longer have a desire to eat your beautifully manicured and treated lawn.

This acts very similarly to Pavlov’s Dog experiment. In Pavlov’s experiment, he would present food to a dog and then immediately after ring a bell, creating an association in the animal’s mind with the sound of a bell and food. With time, Pavlov could simply ring the bell without presenting food, and the dog would begin to salivate as if food were being presented. This created a positive association between the bell and food.

By using a treated lawn spray, a negative association is being created between the goose and the treated (and off-colored) lawn. Remember, the coloration difference is only visible to the goose, who can see a wider range of light than humans. Because of this bitter tasting grass being associated with the different colored lawn, the goose will eventually learn to go elsewhere to feed.

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