Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Guest Article: Border Collies Come To Put Geese In Line

Hello Campus Students and Staff:

My name is Dorene Olson, and my two Border Collies, Quill and Anna, and my Scottish Deerhound, Gulliver, come slinking about your campus this time of year, every year.  We are a Canada Goose Management team, and we work on your campus when your geese go broody and lay on their nests. There is an early, a middle and a late nesting season, and we work right on through from mid- March to roughly mid-June, when the last brood is done.

You will probably have noticed orange snow fencing with CAUTION - NESTING GEESE signs around campus.  Florrisant Valley Community College, under the guidance of John Ferlisi and the tireless efforts of Steve, is very progressive in their handling of the geese.  They employ a tactic endorsed, by among others, the Humane Society of the United States, Geese Peace and PETA doing egg addling practices.  The eggs are tested by floating them in water (a yolk sinks, a baby fetus goose rises to the top) and when they are still yolks - just as one buys in the grocery store - the eggs are coated with environmentally friendly corn oil. This blocks the aqueous transfer of oxygen to the embryo and stops its development.  The hen is let to sit on the clutch for a 2 week period, which effectively stops her ability to re-lay a second or even a third clutch if the first one fails.

In the meantime, Daddy is hanging about, fiercely guarding his hen and his nest.  It is the gander that causes the attack problem, and I would like to point out several safety tips.

First of all, avoid the nest site if possible.  Your campus is a highly trafficked area, and the ganders' stress levels are higher than ganders in non-trafficked areas.  The gander and fence around the Social
Sciences building is the most aggressive one on campus, at present.  He tends to behave himself when he is lounging in the grassy oval of the driveway, but BEWARE of him when he is on the sidewalk or the grass near the sidewalk near the buildings.  So far this spring he has damaged several humans.

If you must travel this area, try to approach the doors from the inner campus, not from the driveway side. Carrying an umbrella or one of those sun shades for your car's windscreen can be very helpful.  Just pop them open and use them to deflect the blows from the wings of the gander - the hen won't leave her nest, and I don't make her leave by using the dogs - she needs to sit for those two weeks so that the nest can be taken down and they will harmlessly return to you pond area.  The umbrella or sun shade also make you appear larger to the gander, and he will back off.

My website, listed below, has Channel Fox 2 news footage listed under the Canada Goose Management section, there it is depicted on video some handling techniques, I allowed an 8 year old gander to beat me up on film to show how to handle him, normally I am unmolested.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me at the number listed below.

Dorene and Canine Crew

Dorene Olson, BA, APDT, AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator 9706 TARA 
Training and Behavior, LLC WyndSong Border Collies and Canada Goose 
Management 314.956.1310

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