If you are wondering how to keep geese off your lawn, then you are part of an elite group of waterfront property owners and landowners with large ponds that share your concern. You will soon learn that migratory geese are easier to move off your property than “resident geese” because once geese have claimed a site and begin to nest, they will aggressively protect that nest.
When contemplating how to keep geese off your lawn, keep in mind that Canada geese are protected by the migratory bird act and permits are needed to kill the birds. But there are several well-tested methods for keeping geese off your lawn, though what works for one situation may fail in another. According to the University of Arizona Agricultural Extension, a single approach is unlikely to solve your goose problem. However, be sure to check in on your local laws and ordinances before you take steps to get rid of geese on your lawn.
The Center for Wildlife Damage Management suggests you change the type of grass mix you use to a mature tall fescue and allow your grass to grow taller since geese prefer young shoots. The Center also recommends two chemical repellents: Methyl anthranilate or Anthraquinone. But for most homeowners, the chemical approach is not an option.
If you wish to keep geese off your lawn using a “greener” approach than applying chemicals or outright shooting them, there are several well-tested methods that use either visual or noise scare or hazing tactics. The length of time hazing tactics work depends on the nature, number, and variety of tactics or devices used. You should be prepared to rotate your hazing devices daily and use varying combinations to improve to improve your efforts to keep geese out.
Automatic exploder devices, known as propane cannons, make a loud noise without firing a projectile. The rate of firing is set by a clock timer, usually about every 5 to 10 minutes. These are usually recommended for rural areas since they can be annoying.
Tether balloons around your yard or near water have proven to be effective. They should be 2 feet in diameter and rise at least 10 feet. Larger balloons don’t work because of their high wind resistance won’t keep them in place. Most important, the balloons should have large “eye spots.”
The scarecrow concept can be made out of almost any material available as long as it has movement, uses bright colors and has large “eyes.” Such geese deterrents can be purchased in the form of brightly colored plastic animals with arms and legs that easily move in the wind.
Flags can be 4-foot single laths or 6 x 30-inch strips of safety orange Mylar ribbon. According to the University of Arizona, tests conducted at Audubon National Wildlife Refuge found that black flags are ineffective. Like balloons, your flags should be placed around your yard so they are visible from all points. Unfortunately, once the birds land where there are flags and begin feeding, the flags’ effectiveness is gone.
A reflective tape barrier is a scare technique that works best on breezy, sunny days, but is tricky to install. Using half-inch Mylar tape, you stretch the twisted tape 1 to 3 feet high using stakes around the area you’re protecting. For every 100 feet, the tape should be twisted four or five times. When the wind blows across the tape, it rattles while flashing from the reflected sunshine. Some homeowners go as far as using portable energized fencing that can be set up in 1 to 2 hours and easily taken down for storage.
Don’t think attack dogs, but highly trained goose herding dogs, usually Border Collies that know how to harass geese and can be contractually hired. This is a technique best left to professional handlers.
They key to keeping geese off your lawn is in knowing their lifecycle. During January and February, geese hang out in their over-wintering areas. But by March, they are searching out nesting sites. So March is when you need to start harassing any geese on your property. When the goslings come in May, both parents and the goslings are incapable of flight and you’re stuck with them.
The Center for Wildlife Damage Management stresses that “there is no ‘silver bullet,’ no one technique or strategy that can be used everywhere. Combining two or more techniques often improves results. Some combinations include pairing auditory with visual tactics, and hazing with diversionary feeding.”