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March 26, 2012

Limit Goose Flock Growth by Addling Eggs

Humanely reduce the local Canada goose population

Adapted from the book Wild Neighbors

  • In this nest, the goose’s eggs have been removed and replaced with artificial eggs.  The female will sit on these eggs as though they are her own. Jeff Irish

  • Another technique for addling Canada goose eggs is to cover them with 100% food grade corn oil.  This prevents them from hatching. John Hadidian/The HSUS

  • A “float test” is used to determine the age of eggs. Only eggs incubated less than 14 days are young enough to humanely addle. John Hadidian/The HSUS

The humane way to limit flock growth and stabilize goose populations is to keep eggs from hatching.

We call this “addling.” It can be done by treating eggs with corn oil or by removing the eggs from the nest, and it's humane if done at the earliest stages of development.

Why addling?

It limits the number of geese in places people don’t want more. And it frees adult geese from tending flightless goslings, so they can be encouraged to move themselves elsewhere before summer conflicts are greatest.

It takes a community to addle effectively

Would an addling program benefit your local parks, ball fields, and other open spaces? In order to addle, there have to be nests. Some properties have goose issues but no nests. In these cases, detective work during nesting season can uncover nesting sites. Then, volunteers can work with those properties to start addling.

The most effective programs cover communities, not just one property, and also incorporate humane harassment and habitat modification.

Before you start an egg-addling program, hatch an overall plan to keep the peace with geese.

Get trained

Everybody needs some practical instruction before attempting to addle. Training is needed to identify mated birds, find nests, and humanely treat or remove eggs. Take our egg addling course online and see our egg addling manual to learn the proper techniques.

Get registered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) no longer requires special permits to addle in the lower 48 states, but you must register with the Service first. 

Get permission

Some states require you to get their permission first. Check on your state's requirements. Many states simply accept USFWS registration, but some have additional requirements.

More resources

» Schedule a Canada Goose Egg Addling Training workshop in your community.
» Get trained in egg addling with our egg addling online course and manual.
» Guide to Canada Geese shows step-by-step how to humanely deal with "nuisance" geese.
» Living with Wild Neighbors in Urban and Suburban Communities: A Guide for Local Leaders gives elected officials and other decision-makers the tools to implement long-lasting, nonlethal solutions to community wildlife conflicts.
» Humane Wildlife Services works to resolve homeowners' conflicts with wild neighbors.
» Our Wild Neighbors book offers a detailed look at urban wildlife species and how to peacefully coexist with them.

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