Egg addling controls goose population

The Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program is beginning its annual egg addling effort

The Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program is beginning its annual egg addling effort.

Over the past six years, this initiative has prevented the exponential increase of the non-migratory resident goose population that inhabits the valley all year long.

“Trained contractors have already been searching for pairs and nesting sites, and we hope to complete the addling program by the end of May,” said Kate Hagmeier, program co-ordinator.

The geese are largely descendants of birds that were moved to the Okanagan in the 1960s and 1970s as part of an introduction program.

What was not foreseen at the time was the inability of these geese to migrate because they had no natural parents to teach them. They had the ability to adapt and thrive to the mild Okanagan climate which encouraged them to remain.

The egg addling program involves shaking eggs or coating them with non-toxic biodegradable food-grade corn oil within 14 days of incubation to make them non-viable. The U.S. Humane Society supports this egg addling technique.

Once addled, eggs are returned to the nest. Geese continue to incubate until they realize the eggs will not hatch. At this point, it is generally too late in the year to produce more eggs. Adults are not harmed and will continue with their regular life cycle.

Since the program began in 2007, about 7,700 eggs have been prevented from hatching through this minimally invasive approach. Taking into account natural mortality of young through predation or nest failure, that is equivalent to about 5,800 fewer geese in the valley.

“In order for the program to succeed, new nests need to be identified,” said Hagmeier.

“The public is asked to report lone geese, pairs of geese or nest locations on private or public land by e-mailing coordinator@okanagangooseplan.com or calling 1-877-943-3209.”

Information is available at okanagangooseplan.com.