How to Get Rid of Geese

Geese can be a nuisance when they take up residence where they are unwanted. Their droppings can create unsanitary conditions, they are aggressive during nesting season, and their honking can be a noise nuisance. Getting rid of geese requires a multi-pronged approach, as geese are persistent and will return if their needs are being met in a location. This article provides tips on various methods for humanely discouraging geese from settling where they are not wanted.

Understand Why Geese are Attracted to an Area

Before exploring ways to get rid of geese, it’s important to understand what attracts them to an area in the first place.

Food and Water

Geese need access to food and water to survive. They are attracted to areas with:

  • Ponds, lakes, rivers or other bodies of water. Geese use water for drinking, preening, protection from predators and resting.
  • Short, manicured grass. Geese prefer to feed on short, tender grass rather than long and coarse vegetation.
  • Spilled grain or food scraps. Geese will flock to any area where they can access spilled bird seed, bread or other human food sources.


Geese prefer areas that provide:

  • Wide, open sight lines where they can see potential predators approaching.
  • Water for escape and protection.
  • Lack of natural predators. Urban and suburban areas may provide a safer haven than rural areas where native predators like foxes, coyotes and bobcats are more common.

Nesting Areas

  • Geese seek areas with vegetation near water to build nests. Ideal nesting spots provide protection and seclusion for raising goslings.

Understanding what originally attracted geese to an area will help you identify and modify conditions to become less appealing.

Modify the Landscape

Making simple changes to the landscape can go a long way in discouraging geese from taking up residence. Here are some tips:

Allow grass to grow longer

Geese prefer short grass of around 1-3 inches in length. Allowing grass to grow to 6 inches or higher makes it more difficult for them to graze and reduces the appeal of an area.

Stop fertilizing and watering grass

Fertilizing and watering grass encourages the type of lush, green growth that geese love. Allow grass in areas where geese congregate to revert to a more natural and hardy state.

Plant unpalatable vegetation

Replace attractive turf grass with native grasses and plantings that geese do not find appetizing. Some options include:

  • Native wild grasses like switchgrass or bunch grasses. These grow in thick clumps.
  • Perennials and shrubs like lavender, thyme, sage, rosemary, ornamental grasses.
  • Prickly plants like barberry, pyracantha, holly, or yucca.

A landscape designer can help select suitable vegetation for the climate and environment.

Stop feeding waterfowl

Artificial feeding encourages geese to concentrate in areas of plentiful food. Implementing and enforcing a no-feeding policy for ducks, geese and other waterfowl is key.

Let vegetation around waterways grow

Allowing cattails, reeds and other aquatic plants to flourish along the edges of ponds and lakes can make nesting more difficult for geese. It blocks sight lines from the water and reduces open space.

Install Physical Barriers

Installing physical barriers can prevent geese from moving comfortably between water, feeding and nesting areas.


Installing a fence at least 30 inches high around ponds and lakes can deter geese from coming ashore. It interrupts their ability to move freely. For best results:

  • Use black or green metal wire fencing. Avoid orange plastic fencing which geese can easily see through.
  • Place fencing at water’s edge so geese cannot swim under or walk around it.
  • Bury fencing 6-12 inches into the ground to prevent geese from digging underneath.
  • Install a mesh apron on angled shorelines so geese cannot walk up from the water.


Grid systems create a “psychological barrier” for geese. A series of overhead grid lines are installed:

  • Over areas where geese try to land after swimming.
  • Around ponds and lakes to stop geese from coming ashore.

The grids use strong dark twine or wire installed in a criss-cross pattern:

  • Spacing between lines is 10-20 feet.
  • Height is at least 24 inches above ground.
  • Visibility of lines is enhanced by hanging aluminum strips that catch sunlight and rustle in wind.

The grids impede the geese’s ability to fly or land smoothly, discouraging them from entering areas.

Flight Control

Low barricades can be installed along shorelines to hinder the geese’s ability to achieve lift-off and controlled landings. These work best when coordinated with grid systems:

  • Short spikes on 12-24 inch stands are placed 1-4 feet apart.
  • Low wire or cord fences 12-18 inches high can be installed. They should not form a continuous barrier geese could walk along.

By impeding their ability to move comfortably between land and water, geese will avoid areas protected by flight control barriers.

Use Repellents and Deterrents

There are a number of tactics for scaring geese away from areas where they are unwanted. Using multiple techniques and alternating between them prevents geese from becoming desensitized.

Visual Repellents

Visual deterrents like flags, flashing lights, and decoys can frighten geese from settling in an area:

  • Flags and streamers – Goose-deterrent flags flap in the wind above waterfront areas. Streamers can be hung from fence posts or elevated wires. Movement and noise frightens geese.
  • Flashing lights – Submerged strobe lights in ponds or motion-activated flashing lights around shorelines startle geese.
  • Predator decoys – Life-like coyote, fox or alligator decoys will scare off geese. Decoys should be moved regularly to remain effective.

Sound Repellents

Noisemakers create alarming sounds that geese dislike:

  • Propane cannons – Intermittently emit loud bangs or booms that frighten geese. Do not fire continuously as geese will become accustomed. Use strategically during activities like nesting, feeding, resting.
  • Noise machines – Devices that emit distress calls, predator sounds or other alarming noises. Place near nesting areas or where geese congregate.
  • Pyrotechnics – Shell crackers, bird bombs, screamer rockets. Only for trained personnel. Check local noise ordnances.


Applying sprays Derived from natural ingredients like grapes, garlic or capsaicin (chili peppers) onto grass creates a chemical barrier. Geese dislike the taste and avoid grazing on sprayed turf. Reapply after rain.

Dogs and swans

Allowing trained herding dogs or swans to patrol areas can deter geese. Their mere presence is threatening and encourages geese to move on. Do not allow contact between animals and geese.


Non-harmful lasers that project a dancing beam of light across lawns or water can effectively spook geese at night. Use intermittently and intentionally avoid eyes.

Whenever employing scare tactics, persistence is key. Geese are highly intelligent and will learn patterns. Varying techniques and strategically using them during key goose activities works best to disperse flocks.

Modify Habitat Elsewhere

Discouraging geese from one location may simply shift the problem elsewhere unless habitat conditions are addressed on a wider scale. Here are some tips:

Coordinate with neighbors

Work with other property owners, golf courses, businesses, parks etc in your area to implement coordinated landscape and habitat modification initiatives. Discouraging geese from the neighborhood as a whole is more effective than diverting them from location to location.

Alter municipal lands

Petition towns, cities or counties to stop mowing and fertilizing grass in parks, around municipal lakes/ponds and other public lands. Advocate for allowing shoreline vegetation to flourish. This reduces the prevalence of ideal goose habitat community-wide.

Nest/egg control

Destroying nests or eggs can limit goose populations. This requires a permit and is typically done by wildlife agencies managing populations on a broader level.


Capturing geese and relocating them elsewhere is usually ineffective. Geese imprint on nesting areas and have strong homing instincts. They often return or join other flocks that eventually find their way back. Habitat should be modified wherever geese are relocated to prevent attracting new flocks.

Discouraging geese from an area is most successful when coordinated on a larger scale. Focus on making whole neighborhoods, office parks or other expansive properties unattractive. This deters geese from settling anywhere in the community.

When Geese Cannot be Discouraged

Sometimes goose deterrents are ineffective or impractical for a location. In these cases, tolerance and cleanup may be the only options. However, the following tips can help reduce problems associated with accommodating geese:

Clean up droppings

Prompt removal of goose droppings can help avoid accumulations that are unsightly or hazardous. Rinse hard surfaces after hosing droppings away.

Limit public access

Fence, ditch or landscape to limit human proximity to regular goose congregation areas. This reduces exposure to droppings and nesting geese who may act aggressively. Post signage alerting people to regular goose activity.

Harass nester geese

Canada Geese are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. However, authorities may permit people to walk nester geese out of an area using hand clapping or open umbrellas. Gently herd geese toward water. Repeat every 1-2 weeks during nesting season to prevent eggs.

Treat contaminated water

In extreme cases where goose droppings severely contaminate limited bodies of water, treating with products like Algimycin PWF (beneficial bacteria) can help reduce bacteria and improve water quality.

Limit feeding

Avoid activities that will encourage goose presence like feeding birds or fertilizing adjacent turf. Do not let geese become accustomed to humans.


Geese can quickly become a nuisance with their droppings, grazing and aggressive behavior during nesting season. Deterring geese from settling in an area requires making the location as unattractive as possible by modifying the landscape and installing barriers. Altering the habitat on a wider scale deters geese from the entire neighborhood or region. Ongoing use of visual, sound and spray repellents is key to frightening geese away from an area. With persistence in employing multiple strategies, problem goose flocks can be successfully encouraged to move on without harming the birds. In situations where geese cannot be discouraged, vigilant cleaning and limiting human interaction can help manage problems. Do not attempt killing, hunting or capturing geese without appropriate state and federal permits. With some diligence, communities can reach the goal of peaceful coexistence with minimal nuisance from seasonal goose migrations.

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Rid of Geese

Getting rid of pesky geese takes some effort but is usually manageable with the right deterrent strategies. Here are answers to some common questions about convincing unwelcome geese to leave an area.

How do I get rid of geese naturally?

The most natural way to deter geese is to alter the habitat and landscape to make it less attractive. Let grass grow longer, plant unappealing vegetation and allow shoreline vegetation to flourish. Stop any activities to encourage geese like feeding or fertilizing grass. Installing barriers like fencing or grid wires uses natural materials to impede goose movement and access.

What scent will keep geese away?

Geese strongly dislike the smells of garlic, grape flavoring, vinegar and capsaicin (the chemical that makes chili peppers spicy). Spraying mixtures of these ingredients onto grass or soil creates a chemical barrier that geese avoid. Reapply frequently as scent fades, especially after rain. Always follow product instructions carefully.

What is the best goose repellent?

Effective goose repellents rely on different senses to frighten geese away. No single product is universally the “best.” Having various repellents to alternate between is most successful:

  • Visual deterrents like flashing lights, flags, decoys
  • Sound repellents like propane cannons, pyrotechnics
  • Scent repellents with grape, garlic or capsaicin
  • Herding dogs

Using multiple repellents inconsistently throws geese off balance and prevents them acclimating. Employ strategic timing targeting key behaviors like feeding, nesting or resting. Persistence is key.

How do you get rid of Canadian Geese?

Canada Geese are a federally protected species, so lethal control methods are strictly prohibited without a permit. The same strategies used for deterring other goose species apply:

  • Landscape modification to stop providing food, nesting sites and open water access.
  • Physical barriers like fencing, grid wire or flight control devices.
  • Persistent use of multiple visual, noise, scent or herding dog repellents.

Altering habitat in coordination with entire neighborhoods or regions is most effective for deterring Canadian Geese long term.

How do I get rid of geese in my yard naturally?

Make your yard as unattractive as possible to geese:

  • Allow grass to grow longer – at least 6 inches high. Stop watering and fertilizing.
  • Plant unpalatable vegetation like prickly shrubs, thick native grasses or herbs.
  • Allow shoreline vegetation to grow wild and block open water access.
  • Stop any feeding of waterfowl.
  • Install barriers like fencing, grid wire or flight control spikes & cords.
  • Use visual, noise & scent repellents like flags, noises, grape/garlic sprays.
  • Employ herding breed dogs to chase geese off property.

Using multiple natural modification and deterrent techniques consistently will convince geese your property is inhospitable.

How do I permanently get rid of geese?

Permanently ridding an area of geese is virtually impossible. Geese are persistent waterfowl with strong homing instincts. As migratory birds, their seasonal movements and natural behaviors cannot be stopped indefinitely.

The most effective long-term solution is to alter the habitat over entire neighborhoods, business parks or regions to prevent attracting geese anywhere in the community. Ongoing use of multiple repellents and barriers will provide the best long-term relief from nuisance geese.

Why won’t my goose repellent work?

Repellents fail when geese become accustomed to something designed to frighten them. Some reasons repellents lose effectiveness include:

  • Using the same technique too frequently
  • Letting repellents run continuously like propane cannons or noise machines
  • Poor timing that does not target key behaviors like feeding or nesting
  • Stopping too soon before geese are sufficiently discouraged
  • Not varying between different types of visual, noise & scent repellents

Work to keep geese off balance by frequently alternating different scare tactics employed at strategic times. Never allow geese to become too familiar with any single deterrent. Persistence is critical.

How close do geese nest to water?

Geese seek nesting spots with dense vegetation near water for protection. Ideal spots are islands or shorelines with bushes, tall grass or other plants offering seclusion and an easy pathway to enter and exit the water.

Nests are typically built within just a few feet from the water’s edge – anywhere from 2 to 30 feet away. Some geese may rarely nest as far as 150 feet away from water, but proximity to water for quick escapes is key when selecting nest sites.

How do you identify Canada Goose nests?

Identifying Canada Goose nests:

  • Built on the ground in dense vegetation near water
  • Bowled-shaped depression 8-12 inches deep
  • Lined with down feathers and vegetation
  • 4-8 white eggs (occasionally more)
  • Female goose sits on nest, hisses aggressively when approached
  • Male goose stands guard nearby, will charge intruders

Do not touch nests or eggs without appropriate permits. Report unmanaged nests on public lands to authorities for population control. Avoid areas where nesting geese exhibit aggressive protective behaviors.

How do I get rid of geese nests?

Legal removal of goose nests usually requires a permit and is done by wildlife agencies to control populations. Without permission, you can:

  • Scare nester geese repeatedly with dogs, noises or spraying water to encourage abandonment
  • Identify and remove nesting materials each morning after geese leave to feed
  • Clip vegetation where nests are built before nesting season

Discouraging nesting early in the season before eggs are laid can prevent establishing nests. Persistently harassing nesting geese can also induce abandonment. Just don’t touch eggs or harm geese as this is illegal without a permit.


Canada Geese and other nuisance goose species can be challenging to control and discourage. But by implementing habitat modifications to stop attracting geese coupled with persistent use of varied natural repellents, most unwanted flocks can be successfully convinced to leave. With some insight into goose behavior and strategic timing of control measures, communities can find an effective long-term balance between deterrence and coexistence.

How to Get Rid of Geese

Why are Geese a Problem?

Geese can quickly become a nuisance when they take up residence in areas near humans. Some of the issues caused by geese include:

  • Large amounts of droppings – Geese produce prodigious amounts of feces which can create unsanitary conditions if allowed to accumulate. Droppings may contaminate playgrounds, walkways, beaches, grassy areas, golf courses and water resources.
  • Aggressive behavior – Geese can become quite territorial during the nesting season. They may hiss,