Frequently Asked Questions
OvoControl G for Resident Canada Geese and Ducks
1. What exactly is OvoControl G?
OvoControl G is a specially formulated product to help control the hatchability of the eggs from resident or urban geese and ducks. The active ingredient, nicarbazin, was originally used as a drug to control an enteric disease in chickens and has now been developed for hatch control technology in resident Canada geese and other birds.
2. How does OvoControl work and how does it affect hatchability?
OvoControl interferes with the development of the vitelline membrane separating the egg white and yolk. This membrane is vital to the viability of the egg and without it the egg cannot develop or hatch.
3. What are the opinions of animal welfare and conservationist groups to OvoControl?
The Humane Society of the United States, Fund for Animals, the Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese, the Animal Protection Institute, the Science and Conservation Center, Audubon, PETA, Ducks Unlimited and Wildlife Protection Network all support the non-lethal means of controlling wildlife populations. Left unchecked, the numbers of Canada geese can double every five years. The effects of OvoControl are similar to egg oiling/addling projects, as the outcome is the same – preventing the hatching of goose eggs.
4. Can geese or ducks consume so much bait that they get too high a dose of OvoControl?
No. A single day dose that would be 3 to 4 times the recommended dose of OvoControl would not produce any toxic effects. In the event that this did occur, the result would be that blood levels of nicarbazin increase and absorption of the nicarbazin in the yolk of the egg would increase proportionally. In a recently completed field study in Oregon, some geese consumed up to 9x the recommended dose without any signs of toxicity.
5. How much OvoControl does a goose or duck need to consume every day?
Just one (1) ounce of OvoControl per goose per day will prevent eggs from hatching. OvoControl must be fed beginning 10-14 days prior to and until the end of the egg laying season. In practical terms, this means a baiting program starts in late February and ends in late April, a total of 10 weeks. For ducks, the program can last longer since the birds can lay eggs more than once a year.
6. What does OvoControl Cost?
Depending on your supplier, the cost of an OvoControl G program is roughly $12.00/goose/season.
7. What happens if a raptor consumes a goose or duck that has been treated with OvoControl? Will the raptor’s eggs also not hatch?
Fortunately, the chemistry of the active ingredient assures that there is no risk of any effect on a raptor. To have an effect, the bird MUST consume the bait – raptors enjoy fresh meat and fish, not OvoControl bait. Once OvoControl is digested and absorbed, it is no longer biologically available to another bird. There is effectively no risk of secondary toxicity.
8. What can you expect in terms of resident goose population control following the first year of use?
Under ideal conditions, with all mating geese consuming the appropriate dose during the breeding season the expected outcome is no eggs hatching. While resident geese can live up to 20 years, there is attrition through predation, disease, accidents and simply old age. The objective for OvoControl is to reduce and minimize egg hatchability.
9. What advantage does OvoControl have over addling or oiling eggs?
OvoControl prevents the eggs laid by treated Canada geese from hatching, the same outcome as oiling or addling. The advantage of OvoControl is that the nest does not have to be located or monitored, providing a significant labor and cost savings. Furthermore, Canada geese often nest in areas with limited access, including islands, in ponds or rivers, thick areas of brush or grass, etc. where locating the nests is impractical. OvoControl bait is offered at central locations as the Canada geese are beginning to nest, thus treating many breeding pairs of geese in the area all at once without ever having to locate individual nests.
10. Will there still be a clutch of eggs?
It is quite likely that each female Canada goose or duck will still lay a clutch of eggs. If the OvoControl dose is high enough, research shows that fewer eggs may be laid. OvoControl works mainly to reduce hatching of the eggs that are laid. Since the goose normally stays in the original nest to incubate eggs, there is less risk that she will leave the site and start a new nest elsewhere.
11. How long does it take for the effect of OvoControl to wear off?
OvoControl must be consumed for several days to achieve blood levels that affect the hatchability of eggs that are forming. Nicarbazin is undetectable in the plasma of Canada geese, mallards, and chickens 4-6 days after consumption of the OvoControl bait has stopped. The levels of DNC in the blood are reduced by half within one day after bait consumption stops.
12. When do you start and stop using OvoControl?
Depending on the site, OvoControl baiting should begin 14 to 21 days before the onset of nesting or a minimum of 7 days prior to the laying of the first egg. For example, in Maryland, the first eggs are typically laid beginning March 1. In this case, acclimation would begin during the third week of February. The recommended program for OvoControl is an eight to ten week (56 – 70 days) treatment following acclimation.
13. How does the goose breeding season compare to other waterfowl species?
Canada geese typically nest earlier in the year than most other waterfowl species. OvoControl will be offered beginning mid-February and end in April, limiting opportunities for other waterfowl to consume the bait.
14. Is OvoControl already available for sale?
Yes, OvoControl is registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) REG# 80224-5. It is available for immediate shipment and intended for use by government agencies, golf courses, licensed Pest Control Operators and municipalities for the control egg hatchability of resident geese.
15. How will you prevent other birds from consuming OvoControl? (i.e., swans, songbirds, raptors, etc.)?
All birds are considered sensitive to the product. In order to limit exposure to non-target birds, OvoControl has been designed with the following characteristics,
a) The bread-like bait is large, suitable for a goose but not to a songbird. The bait has low oil content.
b) The bait is fed on a restricted use basis — roughly 1 ounce/bird, or just 5% of the goose’s daily intake — at dawn, in the general vicinity of the overnighting geese. Experience shows that once the geese are habituated to the bait, it is consumed quickly leaving little opportunity for non-target feeding.
c) Geese are commensal feeders, aggressively chasing most other species out of their immediate feeding area.
d) A daily dose is required during the breeding season. It is possible that a non-target receives a dose from time-to-time, but periodic observation by the site applicator ensures that OvoControl is reaching the target population.
e) Compared to other waterfowl, Canada geese breed very early in the season. In the event non-target waterfowl consume the bait it will likely already be excreted by the time they reach their respective breeding season. For the same reason it will not harm migrants — by the time they reach their breeding grounds the active ingredient has long been excreted.
f) Raptors will not consume bread-based bait. Birds of prey eat live fish and other animals.
16. Does the use of OvoControl in resident Canada geese require a permit from F&WS?
Although they do not migrate, resident Canada geese have the same rights as their migrating cousins and protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. An approved depredation permit, identical to the one required for oiling or addling eggs, is required from F&WS prior to the use of OvoControl. The use of OvoControl in ducks does NOT require a federal permit.Check with your State and local authorities to determine if any other permits are required.
17. What are the risks to domestic animals (dogs or cats) or other predators?
Nicarbazin has very little effect on mammals. Adverse effects noted in mammals have been observed only after long-term treatment of one year or longer. OvoControl is essentially non-toxic. Put into perspective, a 10kg dog would have to eat 20 kilos of OvoControl to reach the equivalent of an LD-50 dose.
18. Can you skip a day or two of bait and still get the desired effect?
Yes, the bird can skip a day and still maintain control of hatchability. Bait should be available every day to maximize the chances of the Canada geese getting their daily dose of OvoControl.
18. Our community has a “no-feeding” ordinance. How does OvoControl fit into these rules?
Many communities have imposed no feeding ordinances to help reduce the dependence of wildlife on people. While technically being fed to the birds, OvoControl is considered a pesticide and does not conflict with feeding ordinances. It is, however, critical to communicate to the public that an OvoControl program is underway in the community. This will ensure that the general population is aware of the technology and intent of the program.
19. How quickly is the active ingredient eliminated from soil and the environment?
Carbon 14-labeled nicarbazin studies have shown that the half-life of nicarbazin in the soil is approximately 49 weeks in field soil and 18 weeks in greenhouse soil. Studies of labeled nicarbazin in field soil plots have shown that the nicarbazin incorporated into the upper 3 inches of soil does not leach through the soil beyond 6 inches in depth and slowly degrades over time.
20. Since this product will be delivered under free-feeding conditions, how can you be sure you are not over- or under-dosing the geese with OvoControl?
It is very difficult to administer exact doses of OvoControl under free-feeding conditions such as those that will exist using bait stations or broadcast feeding. Fortunately, OvoControl has been shown to have a wide margin of safety and efficacy and the bait is formulated such that the target dose is administered in just 1 ounce of bait.