Expanding populations of resident Canada geese (Branta canadensis) are resulting in increased conflicts with humans. Nonlethal and humane means are needed for managing Canada goose flocks at a variety of sites, including golf courses, industrial parks, government sites, and city parks. Decreased egg production and hatching are side effects of nicarbazin, a veterinary drug used to treat coccidiosis in chickens. Capitalizing on these effects, we developed nicarbazin as a reproductive inhibitor for Canada geese and conducted a field efficacy study. We recruited study sites in 2002 and 2003. Following laboratory testing, we conducted a field efficacy trial of nicarbazin for reducing the hatchability of Canada goose eggs in spring 2004 in Oregon, USA. The study began in February 2004 at 10 sites in Oregon, with 2 control and 3 treated sites on each side of the Cascades. We fed bait daily to resident Canada geese for approximately 6 weeks. We located and monitored nests until hatching or ≥5 days beyond the expected hatching date to determine hatchability. We completed data collection in May 2004. Geese consumed 8,000 kg of bait, with 5,100 kg of OvoControl G® (Innolytics, LLC, Rancho Santa Fe, CA) 2,500-ppm nicarbazin bait consumed among 6 treated sites and 2,900 kg of untreated bait consumed among 4 control sites. We monitored 63 nests at treated sites and 46 nests at control sites to determine hatching success of eggs. There was a 62% reduction in the percentage of nests with 100% hatchability at treated sites as compared to controls. There was a 93% increase in the percentage of nests at treated sites with 0% hatchability as compared to nests with no eggs hatching at control sites. Hatchability from treated sites versus control sites was reduced 36% (F = 5.72, P = 0.0622). We submitted results from this study to support Environmental Protection Agency registration of nicarbazin as a reproductive inhibitor for use in Canada geese. We have shown that treatment of resident Canada geese with OvoControl G 2,500-ppm nicarbazin bait by licensed, trained applicators immediately prior to and during the breeding season can reduce hatchability of eggs laid by treated geese, thereby reducing recruitment of goslings into problem resident Canada goose populations.
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Vol. 71 • No. 1