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Rochester Parks and Rec to use ceramic egg method to manage goose population

Rochester Goose Nest
Rochester Goose Nest(KTTC)
Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 1:02 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 4, 2022 at 3:39 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The city of Rochester Parks and Recreation Department will be replacing goose eggs with ceramic eggs this spring as a way to control the bird’s population.

The goose population in Rochester has been a hot topic for a while. Some people think the geese are out of control, and creating a health hazard. Others feel that they should be left alone.

Last April, the Parks and Recreation Department and volunteers addled goose eggs. Addling is the process of coating the eggs with corn oil so they won’t develop further.

Both nest treatment methods are recommended by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Parks and Recreation Director Paul Widman said the eggs they oiled didn’t have an embryo yet, not beyond the 14 days of the 28-day incubation period.

He said they oiled eggs in 65 nests last year, preventing 300 out of 340 eggs from hatching.

“What we’re trying to do, according to Humane Society Guidelines, is only treat eggs where’s there’s no organism that will experience pain,” Widman said. “The eggs that we treat are very comparable to chicken eggs that you buy in the store. There’s a white and a yolk, there’s not a developing embryo at that point.”

Widman said it takes a few years to truly see results from egg addling.

“There are the same amount of geese this year that there were last year, just with fewer new ones,” he said.

Widman said the addling process costs about $500-$600.

The addling was met with protests -- some said it was cruel and unnecessary, and that there are better ways to control the geese, like putting ceramic eggs in their nest so they don’t lay more.

This year, the Parks and Rec department is planning to replace the goose eggs with ceramic eggs instead of oiling them, and they are looking for volunteers.

According to the Parks and Recreation Department, an adult goose can drop one to two pounds of feces per day, creating a safety issue. It indicated that The South Fork of the Zumbro River in Rochester is classified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as being impaired for recreational use because it contains too much fecal coliform bacteria. It further explained that the goose droppings on playing fields and playgrounds are common in several park and trail locations throughout Rochester.

“We want people to share their input on this issue,” Widman said. “There was some misinformation out there that we were killing embryos. We aren’t doing that.”

For those interested in giving feedback about this issue, visit the Parks and Recreation website to fill out a form.

To volunteer, visit the Parks and Recreation website to submit volunteer form and learn more about the process.

It was previously reported that Parks and Rec would be oiling the eggs this year, and has since been corrected to report they will be using ceramic eggs.

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