Spring is officially here! And with it comes geese trying to make a home by our neighbor’s pond. The goal is to keep them away and prevent them from laying eggs nearby. Once they have a nest with eggs, there is no getting rid of them for quite some time.
Why wouldn’t you want the geese to stay? Two words. Goose poop. They leave it every where and all around the pond. These are Canada Geese and they are large birds. With correspondingly large poop. Walking in the area can become like looking out for land mines. And once the eggs are laid and hatch, the geese may become aggressive trying to protect their eggs and young.
I recently learned that when the goslings are about two weeks old, the parents lose their long wing and tail feathers and cannot fly until they grow in again. This takes about three to four weeks. The young geese stop growing in size and are able to fly when they are just over two months old. The goose family is likely to stay until the end of summer when they move on to look for other food sources. So, you can see why the earlier you get the geese to move on, the better. Otherwise you will have them around for a long time and your pond will not be usable.
This is Zekie’s second year as a goose chaser. Geese stopped at the pond several times last spring as well. Our neighbor bought a couple of large plastic swan decoys and put them on her pond. Swans are supposed to trick the geese and keep them away. The geese did not fall for it. They are apparently smarter than us, as we did. For a couple days I discussed the nice swans over at the neighbor’s with my husband. It took that long for me to notice the swans were not moving. They did bob on the water and move a few inches, but they were always in the same general locale. Upon getting closer, I could see there was a thin rope keeping them in place. Mystery solved. But, I was disappointed not to have beautiful swans living nearby.
Last spring, after the faux swan caper failed, the neighbor called and asked if we could walk some of our dogs around her pond to get a predator smell in the area and see if that would keep the geese away. That’s when my husband offered the services of our dogs to see if the geese could be chased away. The first time I took Baxter and Zekie. The dogs chased the geese around the pond until they went into the water and floated towards the center. At that point Baxter was done. No water for him. Zekie waded in the water a few inches and stared intently at the geese. The geese didn’t leave until after we did.
When the geese showed up, our neighbor would call on the phone and ask for the dogs. After a couple times, I started taking only Zekie, because he would jump in the water and head towards the geese. On his last visit to the pond last year, he swam towards the geese and followed them even after they were airborne. Zekie was giving chase to those geese and barking at them, telling them off as he ran. He chased them to the next property which was a few acres away and finally returned to my callings. His tongue was hanging down to his knees but he had an enormous grin.
Today was Zekie’s first encounter with geese this spring. I had to tell him a couple times to “get those geese”. It still only took him about 30 seconds to get the couple airborne and flying away. Zekie is so proud to have a job to do. I imagine he’ll get to “work” a few more times before the pond stays clear. Below, you can see how happy he is to have done his job and be running back to me!
Please note, no geese were harmed in the clearing of the pond. They always fly away well before he reaches them.