Whether you’re new to poultry keeping or you’re a seasoned professional, you might not have owned geese before. If this is your first time, it will be a little bit different from chickens, ducks, turkeys, and other poultry on your farm.
If you’re lucky, you might already own some of these supplies that you can reuse. However, if you’re starting from the ground up, here’s everything you need to know about getting started with a flock of geese. Let’s get to it.
The 7 Essential Geese Supplies to Get You Started
You need to have a brooding area for your goslings. Baby geese need to maintain an appropriate temperature and be protected. Having a brooding area allows you to control the environment and make sure that your goslings are in a safe place until they grow to a substantial size.
Geese only need to be in a brooder until three to four weeks. By this time, they can spend their days outdoors and away from the heat during the day. They develop quickly and will outgrow most commercial-sized brooders.
The biggest objective for a brooder is to have a temperature-controlled space where you can keep goslings safe from harm. Some keepers simply use a series of cardboard boxes to enclose the babies. If you are experienced in poultry, you might already have another cheaper setup.
You can find tons of commercial options on sites like Amazon—or there are many DIY options on Pinterest.
2. Food & Water Bowls
Goslings need water, water, water. It’s the most critical thing you can have available for them. For any waterfowl, they need to clean out their nostrils with water regularly.
Since they are water animals, this only makes sense with their genetic makeup. But the good thing about geese is that they don’t require as much as some other similar species.
They need something to dip their head in, but they won’t necessarily need a full-scale pond. This can be terrific for homes that don’t have a lot of valuable space for ponds or other water sources.
You can find a few geese feeders for sale commercially—or get crafty and create your setup.
3. Heat Lamp & Bulb
Before your little fuzzy babies are fully feathered, they need some help maintaining body heat. You will need to go to a supply store or order a heat lamp and bulb online.
It’s best to have an extra bulb or two on hand in case yours runs out or breaks. Goslings are very susceptible to both over and under-heating, so maintaining a proper temperature is key.
You have options to go to local stores, but they are also available online if that is more convenient. You can find the bulbs and lamps sold together or separately. Make sure to get the appropriate bulb to avoid overheating.
Luckily, you won’t have to use heat for long. Most goslings are fully feathered and ready for the great outdoors by the time they are 16 weeks old. But having a bulb that provides adequate warmth is entirely essential for the success of your upcoming flock.
Like ducks, geese are messy, messy, messy! You should have appropriate bedding for your geese—and change it frequently. It’s best to buy bedding in bulk so you can change it out without having to run to the store.
It’s also vital that you change out the bedding to reduce the risk of bacteria growth in the enclosure. If they are making their own brand of goose soup, things will get stinky, attract flies, and breed potential diseases.
Domesticated fowl, especially waterfowl, can be really messy with their meals and their droppings. So, you’ll need to buy bedding in bulk prepared to spot clean daily and deep clean at least once a week—or more. Just use your best judgment and sense of smell to decide.
However, we suggest staying away from bedding that can irritate the airway or cause toxicity—like sawdust and cedar shavings.
You need to monitor the temperature of your goslings’ space to make sure that they are appropriately warm. You can buy many different options for thermometers—some are very cheap while others are pretty high tech (with a reflecting price).
Here is an approximate chart of the temperature you need for baby goslings:
|1 – 3 Days||90 – 92 degrees|
|4 – 7 Days||85 – 90 degrees|
After seven days, set the temperature to five degrees lower every week until they are fully feathered.
Goslings can overheat quickly, so make sure to monitor closely. And when it’s time for them to go outside, make sure that their enclosure has proper ventilation without being too drafty.
It’s entirely up to you how you want to keep your geese, but they might be a challenge. It would be best if you had a way to protect your flock at night to keep them safe from predators. Many geese species like to roost on water, but you’ll want them locked up for obvious reasons unless their water source is totally inaccessible to outside animals.
Once your geese are ready to go outside full-time, you have to choose between free-ranging and enclosed living. Because geese thrive so much on foraging, a movable coop is the best option if you plan to keep them contained. For the health of your birds, they must have access to the proper foliage at the appropriate time of year.
Your geese would be quite happy free-ranging around the barnyard. They are agreeable with other types of poultry and different species of farm animals. Because they are pretty large, getting up to roughly 20 pounds, they also deter many small birds of prey and other potential predators.
7. Appropriate Diet
An appropriate diet paves the way for your goslings to grow big and strong. But as they mature, geese turn into fantastic foragers. They can spend a third of the year surviving on natural plant and insect materials around the barnyard.
First, geese always need a fresh water source available at all times. They have to wash the debris from their nostrils, or they can become clogged. This is a natural behavior of waterfowl.
Next, your geese will impress you with their foraging skills. They will spend most of their day scouring the barnyard and pond for all sorts of edible goodies. But they still need additional help. There are tons of grain options for geese that provide all necessary nutrients.
You can buy food for your geese locally at a feed shop, but there are many options online.
Raising Geese: Is It for You?
Raising geese can be a gratifying hobby. Having a flock of geese on a small-scale farm really sets the aesthetic. If you’re a poultry lover, you will love each goose’s personality, as they are vastly different and notably dramatic.
Even though having geese might appeal to you, you have to decide if it’s a fit. If you are wondering about start-up costs and compatibility, we encourage you to do your homework to ensure that your current situation works for geese.
There are positives and negatives to everything. We think that the benefits definitely outweigh the downfalls in most situations.
- Geese go broody and make wonderful parents.
Geese make incredible parents. If you so choose to breed your geese, expect them to be incredible team members working together to raise their young. During nesting, female geese can get a little testy. It’s best to give them their space and let them do their thing.
- Geese get along well with others.
With your occasional exception, having geese usually requires all parties to get along smoothly. They tend to get along well with other farm life and get along with humans if they are properly raised.
- Geese can deter predators.
Geese have pretty substantial size. They can often deter larger predators from messing with your flock. One look at your flock from a hawk or bird of prey, and they might not even bother—as geese are far too big to be an easy target. However, some, like coyotes, might still try.
Everything has downfalls—but with Geese, it’s pretty few to mention.
It’s hard to look at a goose and imagine that it could be anything but sweet. But anyone who encounters them knows that’s not always true.
While geese look very docile, they can be highly territorial. Mother geese tend to be very particular about who gets around their eggs, and males tend to get nasty if you come towards their females.
You’ll always hear your geese outside honking around. They are quite the chatterboxes and aren’t shy about any vocalization. If you think this might bother you, you might try quieter barnyard poultry like chickens.
How Many Geese Should Be in a Flock?
The number of geese per flock will vary depending on your personal setup. Some people can have several geese, while other homes might only have a handful.
You shouldn’t have too many geese where they overcrowd one another. Nor should you have only one solitary goose, as they will be lonely without others like themselves.
The significant aspect to consider when you’re purchasing geese is foraging space. A general rule is to have 1 to 2 geese per acre. For example, if you owned 2 acres of land, you could have up to four geese.
So now you know just what you need to get yourself started with a flock of geese. These rewarding birds can integrate well into just about any small to large-scale farm.
They are easy to manage and can be a real deterrent for predators due to their size. When they are handled properly, geese can make highly agreeable playmates and adventurous friends.
Featured Image Credit: OrnaW, Pixabay