14 Tips for Keeping Canada Geese Off Your Property

Amber Guetebier
Written by Amber Guetebier
Updated October 26, 2021
A canadian goose in a park
Roberto Machado Noa/Moment via Getty Images

If you're sick of gandering at the geese on your lawn, try a few of these tips to deter them

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It’s the tell-tale sign of a change of the seasons: the honking of Canada geese on their migratory path. Whether you live somewhere that sees them a few weeks out of the year or nearly year-round, geese are viewed as a nuisance in many neighborhoods. Here are 14 tips for keeping Canada geese off your property.

What to Do About Canada Geese on Your Property

Geese look for open water, abundant food, and places to nest. Turns out, most neighborhoods, especially parks, offer all of these. While there is no fool-proof way to remove geese from your property, there are many effective tactics that you can combine to discourage them.

1. Do Not Feed the Geese

An easy and abundant food supply, specifically grass, is one of the most common reasons geese like to hang out in parks. Feeding geese breadcrumbs makes matters much worse. Never feed geese, ducks, pigeons, or any other kind of bird—what you may think of as kindness is actually not good for their digestive tracts, and it causes them to gather en masse. This leads to serious grass damage.

2. Plant Taller Plants

Tall hedges leading to the entrance of a house
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Geese have a low line of sight, so taller landscaping is a natural deterrent. Plant clumps of large grasses and shrubs around your property to make the geese reconsider if your place is safe.

3. Landscape More; Mow Less

Since geese love to feed on lawns, consider reducing the size of your mowed grass area. As an added bonus, if you replace some of your previous lawn with native and bee-friendly plants, you will attract natural pollinators like bees and butterflies and increase flower and fruit production on your property.

4. Let Your Lawn Grow

Adapt your lawn care to migratory geese patterns. Geese love to eat the young shoots of grass, so try letting your grass grow taller—at least 6 inches before the geese arrive. Reduce the amount you fertilize and water in the spring and leave the grass longer over winter to discourage those yummy new shoots.

5. Swap Seeds

Geese love Kentucky bluegrass. Consider another kind of grass seed that grows well in your climate and for your light conditions, such as taller fescue. Note: This tactic helps but doesn’t really resolve the problem—geese will ultimately eat fescue or whatever is available if there are no better options.

6. Create a Natural Barrier

In addition to food, geese need access to fresh water, where they feel safe and can easily escape predators. On land, geese aren’t very fast or agile, so they end up walking from the water source to the food (your lawn). Creating a barrier between the water and your property will prevent the geese from having easy access.

  • Use plants, such as reeds or grasses, to landscape a barrier around the water’s shoreline to make it difficult for the geese to climb in or out of the water.

  • Plant your border all the way around, so you don’t leave a path open for them.

7. Put Up a Fence

The exterior of a house with white picket fence
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A simple wire fence can also deter geese. A goose barrier fence only needs to be around 2 to 3 feet tall. Remember, you are trying to interrupt the path between the water and the food source. This could mean putting a wire fence around the water itself or fencing off your grass if the water is on another person’s property. If you live somewhere where Canada geese visit only seasonally, you can always remove this fencing after they fly south.

8. Don’t Give Them a Place to Nest

Geese have a reputation for being aggressive, but the truth is, aggressive geese are usually ganders protecting their nests. Because geese like to nest in mulched beds, this encounter could take place right in your front yard. Short garden fencing around your mulched bed will deter geese from nesting.

9. Release the Hounds

One of the most effective ways to deter geese is fairly simple: scare them off. This process, known as hazing, essentially means repeatedly frightening the geese until they eventually move on. In some cases, dogs barking and chasing near geese is enough to deter them. However, not all dogs are suited to this task. Some dogs may be overly aggressive and could cause harm to the geese. You could also put your pup at risk if they are so busy chasing they are running off your property and into the road or other neighboring land. 

Nothing scares off geese like a herding dog! Herding dogs, such as border collies, are trained to herd animals like birds or sheep, and effectively won’t stop chasing them until they are gone. If you aren’t a dog owner, you can hire a trained goose-herding dog to patrol your property.

10. Predatory Decoys

If having a dog on your property is not an option, consider a natural predator decoy. These are cutouts—usually in the shape of a dog or coyote—are on springs, so they move with the wind. While they are not always the most effective way to keep geese away, they work particularly well if employed in tandem with a goose-herding dog—the geese are tricked into thinking there is still a dog on site.

11. Toy Boats

Some homeowners who have water on their property use remote control toy boats to frighten the geese out of the water. This may be an effective short-term solution and can be used in combination with other scare tactics, such as dogs and loud noises. If nothing else, who doesn’t love driving a toy boat?

12. Loud Noises

You may also find success with loud noises that can startle the geese, such as an air horn, which are more effective if used as part of the hazing process. Just be sure to notify your neighbors in advance—unexpected air horn blasts aren’t a great way to make friends.

13. Egg and Nest Removal

Addling—a process that treats and removes eggs from the nest—can deter geese from returning to your property. However, geese are migratory birds and are protected by federal law under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You should contact a licensed professional near you for a consultation before attempting to interfere with a goose nest.

14. Repellent Products

Treating your grass with certain types of repellent products reduces the food supply for geese, encouraging them to move on. The downside is that these products need to be reapplied frequently after heavy rains or mowing and can be a costly and time-consuming solution. Examples of these repellents include:

  • Methyl anthranilate is used in human food as a grape flavoring, but geese dislike the taste.

  • Anthraquinone is a digestive irritant in geese, so they learn it is not a good food source when they eat grass treated with it.

Important Note

Canada geese are classified as migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This means they are protected by federal law and are managed under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hunting of Canada geese is illegal without a permit. 

If you need help and advice, contact your local animal removal service to see if they offer any kind of goose deterring services.

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