Saturday, July 31, 2010

Border Patrol

I heard recently that a local beach is closed due to contamination from goose fecal matter. Eew… The problem is, of course, nature’s balance is out of whack... as usual. Civilization hates predators and loves grassy lawns. Geese agree.

It seems to me, that where geese and people at leisure overlap, it is a simple management issue. There is plenty of room for everyone. But maybe beaches, picnic areas and playgrounds shouldn’t be filled with geese since they poop so much.

"It takes approximately 7 minutes from consumption of grass and their roots to the excretion of droppings. A goose can produce droppings 25 times per day. An adult goose will produce 2 pounds of droppings per day, so 10 geese can produce up to 20 pounds of droppings in one day on one property." source

Think about it, geese only weigh 10-20 pounds. So they poop out their body weight everyday. They live about two dozen years. That means, over its lifetime, one goose squirts out a mountain of over 17,500 pounds of poo!

Heck, dogs only poop a few times a day and we have staff to clean up after us. We aren’t allowed on beaches, picnic areas and playgrounds so why should a bunch of geese have free range?

It isn't just the poop. Geese are darn crabby. Ever had a hissing gaggle come at you? Dogs would never get away acting like that. 

I think cities should get smart and hire some dogs to clear the beaches of geese. No, no, no – no carnage -- just some location management. A single dog could easily make a beach more trouble than it is worth to a flock of geese. And presto! No more goose poo.

Not that I am volunteering. I am no bird dog – birds are mostly invisible to me. And I am not stupid -- geese are almost as big as me and far meaner.

You got a squirrel problem? Then I am your gal. Just don’t expect me to just chase rodents. I will send them to squirrel heaven if I can. It’s not my fault. I was made this way. That’s centuries of hound breeding for you.

But herding dogs were made to chase but not catch and kill. Their prey drive stops far short of annihilation. They nip and prod and drive. They have even been bred to want to listen and please people. They are smart. They love to work. In fact, they aren’t really happy as simple house dogs. They need something to do.

So I say, let’s hire some herding dogs and their owners to patrol the beaches, picnic grounds and other areas where goose poo is unwelcome. The geese will move on soon enough. And the dogs would have a ball telling them to do so.

Like all great ideas, I am hardly the first one to think of it. A quick search of the interweb reveals there are, in fact, dozens companies are ready for hire.

My favorite is Shoo Geese! Border Patrol which employs a crack team guessed it...Border Collies. Tug and Louie, sporting official orange safety/flotation vests, promise results in six weeks. The solution is elegant. Harass the geese 2-3 times a day in an orderly manner and the geese simply move on to somewhere more peaceful. What could be more civilized than that?

Border Patrol Louie in the field

No comments:

Post a Comment