How to Keep Geese Out of Your Yard (10 Safe & Humane Tips)
Geese are beneficial to the ecosystem and are also fun to watch—when they are not trespassing on your property. Having wild geese on your property can spell trouble for you and your family, especially if you have young ones. However, this should not warrant any inhumane methods of getting rid of them.
Since they are migratory birds, they will only bother you in certain seasons, which is why you should proceed with caution. They are also federally protected and killing them, or any act of cruelty towards them is a criminal offense. Luckily, you can use several safe methods to get rid of wild geese in your yard.
What Attracts Geese to Your Yard?
Before we discuss how you can get rid of them, let’s look at some of the things that might attract geese to your yard. In some cases, all you have to do is remove the main attraction to get rid of them.
Like other animals and birds, geese will typically nest in a place where food is readily available. They like to feed on small grains, berries, and seeds, and this may be the main attraction, especially if you have free-range chicken since they typically like to feed on the same things.
Geese love spending time in beautiful landscapes. If your property is near a pond they are more likely to nest there. It also makes it easy for them to find food. This is more common with the geese that do not migrate since they want to be close to a food source all year round.
Geese travel in large groups, and having a large water source in your yard, like a pond or lake, will automatically attract them. They are huge fans of swimming and love munching on aquatic plants found just below the water’s surface.
The 10 Humane Tips to Keep Geese Out of Your Yard
If you are sick of geese gathering in your yard, prepare to evict them for good. The less hospitable your yard is, the more likely they will move out and look for a home elsewhere. These simple methods will get them out of your yard and prevent them from returning during the next migration.
1. Get Rid of the Turfgrass
This may be hard to take in if you love having your lawn covered by grass. However, you should consider reducing the area under grass cover and replacing it with rocks, mulch, and native plants. The native plants will attract numerous pollinators to your garden/ yard as you have a colorful yard when they bloom, as a bonus.
If you don’t want to get rid of the aesthetic your grass provides, you can consider alternative lawn ideas. Most of them require less maintenance and will thus save you the time and energy you’d have used to mow the grass.
2. Build a Fence
The perfect geese deterrent fence only needs to be about 2 to 3 feet tall. This is especially important if you have a water or food source near your yard since it interrupts the pathway. If the geese only visit seasonally, you can put up a temporary fence and remove it once they have migrated.
3. Use Decoys
Goose deterrent decoys mimic their natural predators and keep them off your property. Geese are afraid of dogs, coyotes, alligators, owls, and swans, and getting a decoy of any of these animals will do the trick. Ensure you place the decoys around your yard in areas that are clearly visible from aerial view.
You can also tuck the decoys in areas where the geese net and feed. The more life-like the decoys, the better. However, it’s crucial to note that decoys are only sometimes effective, especially if they are stationary, and work best alongside other methods.
4. Plant Taller Plants
Geese have a low line of sight, and planting taller plants and trees around your yards is a natural deterrent. They are more likely to go around it or avoid it completely. Try planting a combination of large grasses, bushes, and shrubs. Some of the plants you can grow include River birch, Dogwood, Porcupine Grass, Spicebush, and Eastern Red Cedar.
5. Get a Dog
The fastest and easiest way to get rid of geese on your property is to get a dog. The running and barking of the dog will scare away the geese and prevent them from returning. However, not every dog is up to the task, and most of them require professional training on how to control geese without harming them. If you can get a herding breed like a border collie—even better.
6. Use Goose Repellent
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends using liquid goose repellent to keep geese out of your yard. It’s also recommended by the Humane Society of the United States because, unlike other repellents, it’s pretty harmless and made from grape extract.
It’s safe for humans and animals to consume and only causes mild irritation in the geese’s eyes, nose, and throat. Geese tend to be affected by the repellent super fast, and they’ll find somewhere else to nest and dine.
7. Cut off Any Nesting Areas
Most geese are very aggressive when they are protecting their nests. Because they like to nest in mulch beds, you can deter them from nesting in your yard by building a garden fence around your beds. Another measure is to prune the trees that they nest in during the seasons when they visit your yard.
8. Haze Them
Geese have an excellent memory and remember places they nested during their last migration. They also remember hospitable places and those that weren’t. Hazing them once or twice will deter them from ever nesting in your yard again. Do your best to be as annoying as possible.
Just ensure you alert your neighbors in advance. Some of the cruelty-free hazing methods you can use include the following:
- Using lasers to annoy them
- Hanging mirrors or shiny objects that reflect light and confuse the geese
- Blasting loud noises
- Playing geese distress calls
- Let your dog bark at them and chase them around without actually harming them
9. Allow Your Grass to Grow Taller
Geese love eating the young shoots of grass, and they can wreak havoc on your lawn. Allowing the grass to grow to around 6 inches can prevent geese from making a home in the grass. Tall grass also makes them feel unsafe when nesting, thus making them avoid your yard.
10. Avoid Feeding Them
Feeding the geese in your yard will only make things worse than they already are. Not to mention that if you feed one, they will likely come back with their family since they identify your yard as a food source. In addition, remove any food sources from your yard that could attract the geese, such as garbage.
Geese attack people occasionally, especially those who get too close to their nests. Some attacks can be quite severe, depending on how hostile the goose is. One of the ways to avoid a goose attack is not to turn your back on it. Fearful behavior like running away only spurs them on. The best way to deal with a hostile goose is by maintaining your calm and backing away slowly.
Featured Image Credit: Aprilphoto, Shutterstock