How to Keep Geese Out of Your Yard: 10 Humane Methods for Homeowners

Mariel Loveland
Written by Mariel Loveland
Updated November 4, 2022
A canadian goose in a park
Photo: Roberto Machado Noa / Moment / Getty Images

If you're sick of gandering at the geese on your lawn, it’s time to evict them for good

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Geese are beneficial to our ecosystem for a number of reasons, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want them on your property. Learn how to keep geese out of your yard for good with multiple humane methods. 

Since some of these migratory birds are federally protected, always proceed with caution and kindness (even if their droppings are kind of a pain). 

Why Do I Have Geese on My Property?

Geese are actually an important part of the ecosystem. Not only do they serve as food for predatory critters, like foxes and coyotes, but they also help spread seeds and encourage plant growth. 

They’ll typically congregate in yards that are a great source of food and water and also serve as a safe haven from predators. 

This includes:

  • Areas near bodies of water (geese actually sleep on the water at night for safety)

  • Fields of grass or grain (they specifically love clovers and Kentucky bluegrass)

  • Marshy areas with wetland grasses

In other words: If you live near a lake, you’ve probably seen a few geese. Unfortunately, they’re not the best houseguests. They’re known to trample and eat lawns, and they can get aggressive during the breeding season (as anyone who’s ever been chased by a goose already knows).  

Beyond that, they leave behind feces that can contain harmful bacteria and parasites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bird droppings can contain germs like E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and a parasite known as Cryptosporidium.

How to Keep Geese Out of Your Yard

Sick of stepping in geese droppings? The best way to get rid of geese on your property is to combine tactics. The less hospitable the environment, the more likely they are to build a home somewhere else.

Learn how to keep geese out of your yard using the following methods: 

1. Get Rid of Turfgrass

Since geese love to feed on lawns, consider reducing the size of your mowed grass area. Instead, try creating a xeriscape that uses rocks, mulch, and native plants. 

As an added bonus, many native plants will attract natural pollinators, like bees and butterflies, and increase flower and fruit production on your property. Plus, alternative lawn ideas generally require less maintenance than turfgrasses. Contact a local lawn care company if you need help removing your existing grass.    

2. Create a Natural Barrier Between Land and Water

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.

Here’s how to keep geese out of your yard using natural barriers: 

  • 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.

3. Put up a Fence

The exterior of a house with white picket fence
Photo: Thomas H. Mitchell / 500px / Getty Images

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 Canadian geese only visit seasonally, you can always remove this fencing after they fly south. Work with a fence company near you to design the right fence for your needs. 

4. Use Goose Deterrent Decoys

Goose deterrent decoys are lawn ornaments meant to mimic a goose’s natural predators. They’re typically shaped like dogs, coyotes, floating alligator heads, owls, or swans. 

These work best if you move them around your yard often and choose a variety that are attached to springs so they move in the wind.

Tuck your decoys into areas where geese feed and nest. Though they’re not always super effective, they work well alongside other methods.

5. Use Goose Repellent

Liquid goose repellent, which is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, and recommended for use by the Humane Society of the United States, is one way to keep geese out of your yard. The active ingredient is a type of concord grape extract called methyl anthranilate. 

This is safe to consume for humans and terrestrial animals, but causes mild (but not harmful) discomfort in the eyes, nose, and throat of geese. It’s basically a terrible salad dressing, and once geese realize they’re no longer eating at a delicious buffet, they’ll (permanently) find somewhere else to dine.

6. Plant Taller Plants

Tall hedges leading to the entrance of a house
Photo: PRANGKUL / Adobe Stock

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

Here’s how to keep geese out of your yard with tall plants: 

  • Pampas grass

  • Switchgrass

  • Porcupine Grass

  • Dogwood

  • Spicebush

  • Eastern red cedar

  • River birch

If you need help designing a goose-repelling landscape, contact a landscaping company in your area

7. 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.

8. Cut Off Nesting Areas

Geese have a reputation for being aggressive, but the truth is that 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. Get a Dog

Want to know how to scare geese away fast? Get a dog. Often, a dog barking and running around near geese is enough to send them packing—but not every dog is up for the task. 

You need one who’s specifically trained in the art of goose control and won’t be so aggressive that they harm the geese. Herding dogs like border collies are often used for this task.

10. Haze Your Geese

Hazing is the art of annoying geese enough that they leave your property for good. This involves a repeated series of startling annoyances—but never cruelty or anything that could harm the geese. 

Here’s how to keep geese out of your yard with humane hazing tactics: 

  • Blast loud noises, such as air horns

  • Play pre-recorded goose distress calls

  • Let your dog bark at geese from a safe distance

  • Use a laser pointer to annoy geese 

  • Use remote control toy boats to scare geese in the water

  • Hang reflective objects that confuse geese

Basically, do your best to be a terrible neighbor. Just be sure to notify your actual neighbors in advance of very loud noises.

Tips for Dealing With Geese

Now that you know how to keep geese out of your yard, you’ll want to continually use a variety of methods to ensure they stay away. Keeping geese off your property is often a long game, and they can get aggressive when they’re defending their young (just like us!).

Nobody wants to be chased by a goose or harm a federally protected animal. These tips will help reduce harm to both you and your unwelcome houseguests.

Don’t Ever Feed Geese

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. 

Don’t Approach Nesting Geese

Spring is the typical breeding season for geese, and they’re far more hostile while they’re nesting or caring for their young. Since it’s hard to tell which geese are going to get aggressive, it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Protect Yourself From an Attack

Sometimes, geese on your property are unavoidable. According to Wildlife Help, if you come in contact with a hostile goose, these tips can help protect you from a serious attack:

  • Turn your body towards the goose

  • Maintain direct eye contact

  • Back away slowly

  • Do not act hostile or aggressive

  • Do not attempt to kick or hit the goose

  • Do not make loud noises

If a goose flies at you, duck or move away at a 90-degree angle to the direction they’re flying while facing the goose.

DIY vs. Hire a Pro

The cost to remove animals really depends on the method. You can buy goose repellent for less than $100, depending on the brand and the size of the bottle. 

Other methods, like revamping your landscaping, will cost a lot more. Luckily, most of the time, you can handle geese yourself.

That said, sometimes geese are stubborn. If you need to physically remove geese or their eggs, it’s best to call your local animal removal service or a bird control company near you that knows the local and federal regulations and will employ humane tactics. 

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Small amounts of geese are actually good for the environment. They help spread seeds and lead to more plant growth—but they’re often an invasive species, particularly Canada geese. This means a small gaggle can quickly grow into a level that litters your lawn with bald patches and excrement.

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