Goose Control: A Local Lakes's Solution
By: Don Damm, VLAP Monitor, Ashuelot Pond, Washington, NH
Geese have been a problem on my lawn for years, I have put a fences, string and let my dog loose to chase the messy geese away. I can't wait to try this simple solution they are using over in the
Washington NH area.
Canada Geese commonly spend their summer's nesting and feeding on New Hampshire's lakes and ponds. However, the public may not realize that geese feces can be hazardous to people's health when inhaled or ingested. Parasites found in geese feces are a concern, especially to those who are most susceptible including the elderly, children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Additionally, at even higher risks are children with weakened immune systems and people with gastrointestinal problems and ulcers. The parasite of concern is called Cryptosporidium, which causes an illness with the following symptoms: watery diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, stomach cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting. For most people the symptoms would be relatively short, a day or two, however, for children they could last for weeks with medical treatment.
The Lake Ashuelot Estates Association at Ashuelot Pond in Washington, NH wants to share our experience with managing Canada Geese. A single goose can eat four pounds of grass (their favorite food) a day and create three pounds of fecal matter"¦that is about 30 pieces of goose poop. There are currently 26 geese on the lake which generate a lot of goose poop. We have a large association beach of approximately 5,500 square feet of sand and about an acre of grass which attracts the geese when they are hungry. Last year, a three year old girl became very sick after playing at the beach. The doctor believed the illness was associated with a parasite in the goose poop that was present on the beach or adjacent grassy area.
We have been working to prevent the geese from accessing the beach area for many years now. We have tried a variety of physical barrier techniques to keep the geese from getting onto the beach and grassy areas. However, these physical barrier techniques are not so practical on an active beach, and over time the geese usually figure a way around the barriers. The way we have effectively controlled the geese is by regularly spraying diluted grape juice on the grass, with prior coordination with the Dept. of Agriculture. The grape juice contains the chemical methyl anthranilate which makes the grass unpalatable to the geese. When the geese try to feed on the grass sprayed with grape juice it results in an unpleasant sensation in their mouths.
We have used a regular 100 percent two quart container of grape juice that you can buy for $2.50. Do not purchase grape drink. The two quart container is then diluted with two quarts of water. This mixture is poured into a five gallon agricultural sprayer, which you can buy for under $20.00. We use the light spray setting and the gallon of diluted grape juice covers the larger grassy area adjacent to the beach. The spraying effort is shared during the summer months with a number of volunteers. The spraying frequency varies based on weather conditions and on the grass cutting cycle. It appears to work on a two to three day cycle and spraying is done in the evening when the beach area is less occupied. Cutting of the grass may result in more frequent spraying, and we generally spray when the forecast is dry weather. If it does rain, spraying needs to be done the next day.
The Association's experience to date is that when a regular spraying cycle is maintained, the geese are not present. Generally, each spraying event takes about 20 to 25 minutes, because you usually will have visitors who are curious of what you are up to. It is almost like conducting a mini field educational course. As a back-up, we keep a bucket and shovel at the beach for volunteers to physically pick-up and remove the goose poop from the sandy beach.
For additional tips call us!
Also if you are interested in looking for a new lake property or selling your current home call we would be glad to help out.