Addling means “loss of development”. This can happen naturally in the environment when an egg has cooled to a point where embryo development stops.
Communities across North America (including Parkville and the Okanagan Valley) addle geese eggs to control geese populations. The RMOW addles eggs by removing them from the nest and cooling them.
Much like when you remove a chicken egg from a nest, the goose egg stops from developing. An artificial egg is placed in the nest for every egg removed so the geese do not re-lay.
Is addling done humanely?
The RMOW addles eggs following Humane Society methods and according to the Migratory Bird Damage or Danger permit:
- Prior to addling, eggs are put in water to determine the eggs’ age.
- Only eggs in early development are permitted to be addled.
- Eggs that sink are earlier in development and can be addled.
- Once an embryo develops to where it uses the food and air stored in the egg (this begins at approximately 14 days after a goose egg is laid), addling is not permitted.
- Eggs being addled are yolky inside, much like the chicken eggs that people eat.
The public is asked to keep away from goose nests and to avoid touching the eggs.
A special permit is required from the Federal Government to allow RMOW Environmental Technicians and Wildlife Control staff to addle goose eggs on public and private lands with the land owners’ permission and following specified methods. In the case of private lands, an authorization form is available here.
In 2015, eight nesting locations were identified and a total of 41 eggs were addled. It is estimated that there were approximately 7 nests that remained unidentified. In 2016, the RMOW aims to increase the number of nests identified and eggs addled.