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Old April 22nd, 2011, 10:11 PM
lindapalm lindapalm is offline
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Canadian Geese Question

We have a pond that a pair of geese visit daily, and have mated in. After a week or two, another goose began following the first pair around our lawn and in the water. The male of the pair tried chasing him away, but this goose continues to follow the pair around. Wherever they are, within a half an hour the other one will show up, and stalk them. I know nothing about geese, but hope someone does, cause I'm curious. Why doesn't he find a mate of his own, or is it possible he's one of their babies from last year?
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 11:14 PM
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Not sure, seems they are monogamous, no real reason for the male to be seeking anothers female unless his mate has died.

http://animals.nationalgeographic.co.../canada-goose/

I'd say, I guess he just really likes the girl and it's going to come down to whichever of the males is most dominant will win her over. Canada Geese are all over the place, they probably are just battling for turf because that are so overpopulated.
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 11:40 PM
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It could be a juvenile that just doesn't yet have his own mate. They usually don't begin reproducing until they're 2-3 years old. Springtime is usually a noisy, active time for them during the mating season, and even though they're paired off they will still scuffle with each other. Once they get into nesting the female with sit on the nest while the male stands guard.

Do you enjoy having geese in your pond, or not? If not, now would be the time to discourage them, before nesting and rearing young takes place. If you have 3 geese now, in about a month you'll have 10 or so. And more the next year, and the year following...they return to their natal site to raise their own young so each year the population grows as the original adults return and continue to reproduce and their young mature and also add to the population. They'll usually lay 2-9 eggs per nest and raise an average of 5 goslings per nest. Each goose deposits in excess of 1 1/2 pounds of feces daily which will quickly accumulate on the ground surrounding the pond and the water will become pretty contaminated as well. There's a park on the river in my town that used to have the beaches closed for part of each summer because the water quality was so bad from the geese. That hasn't happened the last couple of years because I work there as well as along all the municipal riverfront areas in town with 2 of my dogs and keep the geese away. I don't have the opportunity to prevent them from nesting in the area (can't find where they do, I have my suspicions where but that's private land not municipal so I don't have access) so instead I go in daily and we herd the geese away all during the summer months, making them swim downstream away from the public areas. Once the goslings are fully fledged and the adults are finished molting instead of just making them swim away we get them flying and they then leave the area.
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 05:38 PM
lindapalm lindapalm is offline
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GailP, this is our first year here, and right now we only have the three geese. It just seems so sad that the third one doesn't find his own mate, and keeps shadowing the other two. Its not like theres a shortage of females. My husband said the same thing you did, we can't let them stay all summer and have more coming in. We use our pond water for outside hoses and washing dark loads in the washer, and even though its got more than one filter and a lot of chlorine in the tank, you still don't want to add more bacteria to it if you can help it. I read that you can get some type of plastic mesh to put around the pond, the geese won't step on it. Its either that, or let our border collie out. Thanks for the answers.
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 05:43 PM
lindapalm lindapalm is offline
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Kathryn, I was shocked to see those little suckers can live up to 24 yrs.
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by lindapalm View Post
GailP, this is our first year here, and right now we only have the three geese. It just seems so sad that the third one doesn't find his own mate, and keeps shadowing the other two. Its not like theres a shortage of females. My husband said the same thing you did, we can't let them stay all summer and have more coming in. We use our pond water for outside hoses and washing dark loads in the washer, and even though its got more than one filter and a lot of chlorine in the tank, you still don't want to add more bacteria to it if you can help it. I read that you can get some type of plastic mesh to put around the pond, the geese won't step on it. Its either that, or let our border collie out. Thanks for the answers.
Check out my website (in my signature line) Let the border collie out

If you don't want them there for the summer you need to move them on ASAP. Right now is prime mating and nesting season. If they get a nest established it will be more difficult getting them to move on. And once the goslings hatch (28 days) you can forget moving them until early-mid August because they won't be able to fly until about then.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 11:06 AM
Etown_Chick Etown_Chick is offline
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around these parts, the Park Rangers find the nests and put some type of oil on the eggs to keep them from maturing. If this is something you want to do, let me know and I'll find you some info on it.

Definately don't need the little honkers taking over your pond.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 12:48 PM
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Before doing anything, try contacting Noah's Grey. If anyone can help, I would only trust her word.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BenMax View Post
Before doing anything, try contacting Noah's Grey. If anyone can help, I would only trust her word.
??? this is what I do...goose control

Eggs may not be legally oiled or addled without a permit to do so from the Canadian Wildlife Service. Nuisance geese may be legally harassed by any means other than aircraft or firearms to deter them from a property, but you can not kill, injure or take a goose, damage or destroy a nest or damage, destroy or take eggs without a permit. You can look up the regulations in the Migratory Birds Convention Act if interested.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Gail P View Post
??? this is what I do...goose control

Eggs may not be legally oiled or addled without a permit to do so from the Canadian Wildlife Service. Nuisance geese may be legally harassed by any means other than aircraft or firearms to deter them from a property, but you can not kill, injure or take a goose, damage or destroy a nest or damage, destroy or take eggs without a permit. You can look up the regulations in the Migratory Birds Convention Act if interested.
Well that's great Gail P. Never knew that...no requirement for so many question marks. Anyways, Noah Grey is also equally knowledgeable. So I guess either one of you are qualified to answer.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 10:41 PM
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Anyways, Noah Grey is also equally knowledgeable. So I guess either one of you are qualified to answer.
I'm sure that's true. The question marks were directed at the part I quoted in bold. It seemed an odd comment to make...that of all the members on Pets only one person's word is trustworthy?
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Old April 24th, 2011, 11:08 PM
lindapalm lindapalm is offline
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Thanks, Gail P. Maybe we should let our dog out now, before its too late. She went after one the other day, he wasn't looking her way, and she came really close. I was surprised a dog almost 12 could get that close. My only fear is that she would hurt them, I only want her to chase them away. Hopefully if I supervise her, I can control her. The lone goose was back today by himself, stayed all day waiting for the other pair. I'm wondering if maybe shes off laying eggs somewhere. Do they lay them in very tall weeds? There isn't much coverage near our pond, so maybe once she lays them it will be too far away for the babies to walk to the pond and they won't come back.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 12:16 AM
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My only fear is that she would hurt them, I only want her to chase them away. Hopefully if I supervise her, I can control her.
You do have to supervise her to make sure she doesn't hurt them. The point is to make them feel threatened without actually doing them any harm. They need to think she is a hungry predator but she has to draw the line at just scaring them. Has she had any kind of stock training at all? Does she have a "lie down" or "that'll do"? If not and you think she really might hurt them you could try taking her out on a long line. That will give you more control but she'll be able to still run a bit. And if she can't run around willy-nilly chances are good that since she's a BC she'll begin to work them more slowly, stalking rather than chasing. When I started working my dogs in town I used 50' lines made from nylon rope that floats (for when they go into the water so it stays on the surface and can't tangle around their legs) - just to be certain they weren't going to get too close to the goslings when they were tiny and also because of working right between the river and the road - until I was certain they would be ok working off the lines in that situation

Depending on the size of the pond it can be difficult if the geese take to the water. When I work along the river in town I get my daughter to help and we take a dog on each side so that the geese feel pressure from both sides. Smaller ponds are easy but big ones can be a challenge. Geese are smart and persistent, if they can figure out a way to evade the dogs they will.

Quote:
I'm wondering if maybe shes off laying eggs somewhere. Do they lay them in very tall weeds? There isn't much coverage near our pond, so maybe once she lays them it will be too far away for the babies to walk to the pond and they won't come back.
They like to have some cover to hide the nest in but not so much as to block their view of predators. Sometimes they'll nest close to the water but they will go as far as about 2 miles away and then walk to the water after the goslings hatch.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 12:38 AM
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Here's a series of pics that shows how the dogs will create pressure on the geese. In the first shot there's a dog on each side of the pond using that wonderful Border Collie "eye" (the predatory "I said MOVE" look they give to all livestock they work). The geese get a bit worried but feel relatively safe in the middle of the pond so the dogs enter the water and begin to swim towards the geese. They will squeeze them down to the end of the pond and the geese will then take to the air. Sometimes it's as easy as that but lots of times they fly back up to the other end of the pond, or at this particular property up to the other larger pond (there are 2 ponds there with a spillway that connects them). Sometimes it takes several tries before the geese will fly away from the property.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 01:04 AM
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Here's another shot that shows how the geese will try to evade the dogs. Notice how they're splitting and going opposite directions? One group will try to draw the dogs away and then they fly back up to the other end where the others are. Often when this happens it takes several tries to get them back together and get them to leave. Sometimes though, one group of geese will get frustrated enough that when they take to the air their alarm calls will just draw the others to follow even though the dogs are not near them.
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Here are a couple of shots too from working in town. Notice in the first one that Rain is staying back, steadily stalking the geese in the water although there is another group of geese further up on the shore. Once the ones in the water were closer to the others I sent her to chase those ones to join up into one group. What you can't see in the picture is that Rain's brother Storm was also stalking along on the opposite shoreline.
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Something else I should add...in a previous post I mentioned working the dogs around goslings. In a pond situation that should never be done because the goslings are not able to fly and so harassing them is completely pointless...you cause stress to the goslings and achieve nothing. Once the eggs hatch in most situations there is nothing more you can do until later in the summer once the goslings have fledged. The in-town situation where I work with the goslings is different because it is not a land-locked pond, it is a river. The geese do not nest on municipal lands where I would have access to discourage them, they nest else where and then show up with families in tow and try to settle into the town for the summer. When I then work them the goal is not to try to make them fly away (they can't) but to have the dogs herd them and make them swim downstream, away from all the public areas where they make such a mess and nuisance of themselves. The dogs work slowly, creeping and stalking so the goslings are not unduly stressed and all the geese have to do is follow the dogs directions and swim away. It's a win-win situation because the public walkways stay clean and the geese get conditioned into thinking that the town is not a friendly place to be. As soon as they are able to fly they do and they stay gone for the rest of the summer and fall.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 01:35 AM
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One more set of pictures. In town, past the public pathways this is where we keep working to move the geese further downstream so they don't just turn around and come right back. At this point it is only possible to work from one side of the river, which can at times become more challenging (if the geese decide to tuck in near the far shore and just float there). There are times when it works better to increase pressure on the geese, other times it's best to just be patient and have the dogs lie down but keep watching them. The geese know the dogs are still there and they will often just decide to keep moving without me having to send the dogs swimming across the river.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 01:39 AM
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I love seeing pics of your crew in action, GailP--whether it be goose control or sledding!
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Old April 25th, 2011, 01:47 AM
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I love seeing pics of your crew in action, GailP--whether it be goose control or sledding!
Thanks Hazel, so do I! Usually when they're working (racing or with geese), I don't have the chance to get any pics myself so I'm always glad when someone else gets some nice shots. Plus when you see the pictures you see it from a different perspective.

I love that these guys are versatile enough to do both, they get to keep busy and have fun all year round.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 06:43 AM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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I'm sure that's true. The question marks were directed at the part I quoted in bold. It seemed an odd comment to make...that of all the members on Pets only one person's word is trustworthy?
No but those with wildlife experience within the field such as yours and Noah Greys in this instance. Thanks for clarifying.

Nice pics BTW.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 08:48 AM
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No but those with wildlife experience within the field such as yours and Noah Greys in this instance. Thanks for clarifying.

Nice pics BTW.
No problem and thanks
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Old April 25th, 2011, 09:38 AM
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No problem and thanks
Hopefully no hard feelings Gail P. I have always respected your opinions and input. Perhaps I should not assume that someone does or does not know about wildlife issues, or does or does not work in this field.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 04:22 PM
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Hopefully no hard feelings Gail P. I have always respected your opinions and input. Perhaps I should not assume that someone does or does not know about wildlife issues, or does or does not work in this field.
No hard feelings
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Old April 25th, 2011, 11:18 PM
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GailP, the pictures you sent were facinating. I was disappointed to read that mother and babies will walk that far to get to water, I now definately feel we should try to scare them off now, not later. How long after they mate will she lay eggs, its been probably two weeks. Our dog has some lab in her, more border collie, so I'm not sure she wouldn't try to kill one of them if possible. She's almost 12, but is so fast, I really think I'd have to keep her on a line, like you said. She has no training, and before we moved here would kill squirrels at our old house, so I don't know what she would do with geese. Its not a large pond, which is good. The previous owner would have a very long string attached at one end of the pond, and circle the pond with it, trying to push the geese out. The neighbors told us they would watch and laugh because the geese would go under the string, and swim away. Could a goose do any damage to a dog if confronted? Thanks.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 12:18 AM
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GailP, the pictures you sent were facinating. I was disappointed to read that mother and babies will walk that far to get to water, I now definately feel we should try to scare them off now, not later. How long after they mate will she lay eggs, its been probably two weeks. Our dog has some lab in her, more border collie, so I'm not sure she wouldn't try to kill one of them if possible. She's almost 12, but is so fast, I really think I'd have to keep her on a line, like you said. She has no training, and before we moved here would kill squirrels at our old house, so I don't know what she would do with geese. Its not a large pond, which is good. The previous owner would have a very long string attached at one end of the pond, and circle the pond with it, trying to push the geese out. The neighbors told us they would watch and laugh because the geese would go under the string, and swim away. Could a goose do any damage to a dog if confronted? Thanks.
The number of eggs laid in a nest will vary, she might lay one a day or less frequently (maybe every other day) but once she has enough (usually 2-9, sometimes 12 or more) she will begin to set them. Incubation takes 28 days. Not every egg laid will necessarily hatch, the average number per nest is about 5 goslings. I often see families of them with 4-7 goslings, but the adults will also gang brood where the goslings all form one large group (I've seen 22-50 in a group) with just a few adults protecting them (4 adults with the 22 goslings and about 8-12 adults with the larger group)

Geese can become quite aggressive when protecting nests and young and in the water it is possible for a goose to drown a dog. I've heard stories of it, read warnings on other goose dog sites but in the time I've been doing goose work with my dogs I have never had a goose turn aggressive with my dogs. At the private property shown in the pictures above, the owner is an elderly lady who has tried chasing the geese away from her house and lawns herself with a broom and she said they will ignore her or sometimes hiss and even jump on the broom.

If you're worried for your dog or worried she will harm the geese there are other options, they are just usually not as effective as a good dog. Reflective mylar tape can be strung around the edge of the pond, some people try plastic bags or balloons tied to ropes strung around the edge, flags (like the car lot flags), balloons with eyes painted on, windmills etc. Things that move can sometimes help but they become accustomed to them in a short time. Other people try cut-outs of predators like foxes or coyotes, loud noises etc. or inflatables floating in the water. Shoreline modification is another option. The entire perimeter of the pond could be fenced or the shoreline covered with large rock rubble that is difficult for the geese to climb over. Steep shorelines can help too. Anything that makes it more difficult for them to enter and leave the water makes the pond less desirable to them. But, it takes a lot to really dissuade them. At a golf course I work at the fairways are of course immaculately mowed but they leave a boundary all around the edge of a large pond (small lake!) That boundary consists almost entirely of bull thistles much of the way around, and long grasses, reeds etc. but still the geese find places to leave the water.

Hard to say if your BC/lab will have the desire and instinct to work the geese or not. Mine doesn't really have any herding instinct, he will run around the outside of my peacock pen to try to get him to go inside at night but he doesn't try to herd the free-ranging chickens, ducks or turkeys at all. Not all full BC's are interested in working with poultry either, some of them only want to work the larger livestock like sheep or cattle. My BC/lab will position himself to hold a horse at bay (when one wants into another one's grain bucket and he knows I won't allow it), but he has no "eye" and doesn't stalk or herd. I really discourage all my dogs from trying to work or chase the horses anyhow, it's too dangerous for them. Horses can more easily cause a dog a lot more serious injury than some other livestock they might work.
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Last edited by Gail P; April 26th, 2011 at 12:36 AM.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 08:13 PM
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Last week, when we DIDN'T want our dog to chase the geese, she got within inches, and we had to shout at her to stop. Today, the one lone goose was there this morning, I told the dog to go get him, and I think she laughed at me. I then walked to the pond yelling, with the dog following, and the goose just kept swimming in the middle. I was caked with mud, so was the dog, and the goose stayed all day. The pair hasn't come back in a couple of days, just the one lone one, and he never shuts up when the dog is out, but doesn't go away. I'm going to keep working on the dog, hopefully she will start going after him again.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 09:45 PM
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Does she like to swim and retrieve toys from the water? If it's not a large pond, your lone goose might get scared off if you can just get your dog jumping in after toys. I have one that will just quietly slip into the water and swim towards the geese, the other will hit the water hard with a big splash that gets their attention. Like this
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This is Flurry...he's not working, just playing in the river near my house where I take my dogs swimming sometimes.

The other pair of geese is most likely off nesting somewhere. I've been monitoring the number of geese around my town and as soon as the snow was melting they started coming back but at that time of year they are just transient, they don't nest along the Riverwalk area and don't stay there too long. For a couple of weeks there were 40-50 geese around Rotary Park and in the river there, and I could see some across on the golf course grounds. They have all but disappeared the last couple of weeks, I think they're across the river from Rotary Park, nesting at the golf course. The last couple of years it's been around May 6-8 when they re-appear with goslings along the Riverwalk area and that's when I begin to discourage them and send them downriver.

Here's another picture of Rain working, she's in full stalking mode here.
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There was one evening last year when I didn't realize there was a "music by the river" event happening in town when we went in to work. We started up river in our usual place and the closer we got down towards the main bridge the busier it was getting...people, dogs etc. There was a crowd sitting around on benches and in lawn chairs by the bridge and a couple of people were laying on the grass. Along comes Rain, stalking like in this picture, never taking her eyes off the geese she hops right over someone laying down who hadn't noticed her coming and she just kept on working. They guy got a surprise, the crowd laughed and clapped and we carried on.

It does take time, instinct and training to get dogs to do this kind of work. Just chasing isn't effective if the geese have water to go to, and although herding dogs do have strong prey drive, chasing and killing certainly isn't the result you want either. My dogs all grow up with poultry from the time they're pups so they learn how to behave around them and not to hurt them. And every year I raise chicks, turkeys and sometimes ducks so they all grow up used to the dogs and don't panic and run around flapping (which would entice the dogs to want to chase more). The dogs I do the goose work with get started with sheep at my friends working sheep farm, where they learn flanking commands, lie down (to ease the pressure), walk up (slowly stalk without rushing the livestock) etc. and when necessary how to get in there and make the more challenging animals move. Then I like to take them over to my neighbours hayfields when the geese are up there because there is no water. The dogs go after the geese and the geese fly away every single time so the dogs learn that their job is to always make the geese leave. Then when they get to a situation with water they are persistent and don't give up easily even when the geese try to be evasive.
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Last edited by Gail P; April 26th, 2011 at 10:07 PM.
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  #27  
Old April 27th, 2011, 08:58 PM
lindapalm lindapalm is offline
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I think the lone goose found a mate, because two pairs came into the pond today. Next thing I know, they flew away, I thought the dog chased them, until I saw that it was my husband, barefoot, running around the pond, probably stepping in goose poop. I always knew he would come in handy for something, now I found out what it is, he makes a good border collie. He said he's going to throw a ball towards the geese next time the dogs out, then she'll run after it, and the geese will think shes after them. After they flew off, they went into our neighbors pond, he claims they won't stay there long because he has snapping turtles. We'll see.
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  #28  
Old April 27th, 2011, 09:03 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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What a great way to exercise your hubby, too!!!
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Old April 27th, 2011, 09:46 PM
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Gail P Gail P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindapalm View Post
I think the lone goose found a mate, because two pairs came into the pond today. Next thing I know, they flew away, I thought the dog chased them, until I saw that it was my husband, barefoot, running around the pond, probably stepping in goose poop. I always knew he would come in handy for something, now I found out what it is, he makes a good border collie. He said he's going to throw a ball towards the geese next time the dogs out, then she'll run after it, and the geese will think shes after them. After they flew off, they went into our neighbors pond, he claims they won't stay there long because he has snapping turtles. We'll see.
Did you get it on video? Mine wasn't that helpful...luckily I have lots of border collies...hard workers and better company
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Old April 28th, 2011, 07:04 PM
lindapalm lindapalm is offline
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You think I could hire my husband out at airports to get rid of the birds? That would be one way of getting rid of him during the day. A pair of geese tried going in the pond today, I think it was the lone one with his new mate. The dog didn't chase them, but as soon as they saw her they went away. Wish it was always that easy. I don't know what I'm going to do if both pairs come back in a couple of weeks with babies.
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