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Nest Structures for Ducks and Geese

Giant Canada Geese
Nest Materials and Maintenance


In the wild, Canada geese nest on everything from gravel to grass. The nest material most often used in structures is coarse grass hay or straw. Alfalfa hay is less desirable because it deteriorates rapidly. If hay or grass is used, fill the structure to the top. Nest material may need to be wired in so that it does not blow out. However, care should be taken not to use so much wire that goslings become entangled in it. A tic-tac-toe frame made of 1/4 inch steel rod that is wired together so that the center square is at least 18 inches across can also be used to hold nest material in place.

Bark or wood chips may be used as nest material and will last for several years if the chips are large enough (2 to 3 inches) to resist being blown out by the wind. A combination of large decorative bark and smaller chips or straw also works well and in some cases is preferred by geese. Sawdust should not be used because it traps moisture and is easily blown out. Expanded shale landscaping rock (3/8-inch diameter) mixed with chips or straw has been used successfully and is fairly long lived. Expanded shale is different from cinders or lava rock; it resembles pea gravel but weighs half as much.

Because nest materials will blow out or deteriorate and structures may break or tip, post, tree, and floating nest structures must be inspected and refilled by March 1 each year


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