September 29th is Happy Goose Day! These days, more and more people are getting backyard poultry. Most choose chickens, but geese can also be a great choice. A Galena, MD vet offers some goose care tips below.
Why get geese? Lots of reasons! They’re easy keepers, and lots of fun to have around. If you like gardening, you can also use their manure for your compost piles. Believe it or not, geese are also actually great watch birds, and will make a ruckus if anything out of the ordinary occurs.
The main things you’ll need to care for your geese are very basic: grass, fresh water, and a clean, secure shelter. As far as the shelter goes, you’ll want one that you can easily access for cleaning. For bedding, you can use straw. Geese can make tempting targets for predators, so make sure nothing can get in!
Like any other animal, geese are susceptible to illness and injury. Keep an eye out for warning signs. Some of these would include stumbling, limping, withdrawal, and lack of appetite. You’ll want to do plenty of research, especially if you’re just starting out. It’s also important to get to know your birds. That will make it easier to spot anything out of the ordinary. Contact your vet immediately if you notice anything wrong.
This is one area where geese really shine. These guys mostly eat grass and ground cover plants, such as clover and dandelion. That makes them very, very cheap to feed. Once the grass comes in, you won’t need to do much at all in this area. (Note: geese won’t eat tall, overgrown grass, so you’ll need to start them on a lawn that’s already been mowed.) In winter, they can have wheat and corn. Geese will eat flowers and veggies, so if you plan to have plants, you’ll need to keep your geese in a separate area. A low fence will probably do the trick. (Geese can fly, but they’re usually too lazy to bother.)
If you’ve ever had a puppy, you’ve likely had some experience with puppyproofing. This may give you an idea of what geese are like. These guys may look quite regal, but they will chew and peck on everything.
Keeping geese in your backyard offers several benefits. Firstly, geese are relatively easy to care for and can be a delightful addition to your outdoor space. They are excellent for gardeners, as their manure is a valuable addition to compost piles, enriching soil fertility. Geese also serve as effective watchbirds, vocalizing loudly to alert you of unusual activities or intruders. Additionally, they contribute to lawn maintenance by grazing on grass and ground cover. Overall, geese bring a unique practicality and enjoyment to backyard poultry enthusiasts.
Caring for geese requires a few bare essentials. First, they need access to grassy areas for grazing, as grass forms a significant part of their diet. Fresh water is crucial, both for drinking and for their natural behavior like bathing and preening. A clean, secure shelter is also necessary to protect them from predators and harsh weather. The shelter should be easily accessible for cleaning, with straw bedding being a good choice. These essentials ensure the geese’s health and wellbeing, meeting their dietary, environmental, and safety needs.
A shelter for geese should be designed with safety and comfort in mind. It must be spacious enough for the geese to move around comfortably and have adequate ventilation. The structure should be secure to protect them from predators and inclement weather. For bedding, use a straw, which provides insulation and can be easily replaced for cleanliness. Regular maintenance is vital: clean the shelter frequently to prevent the buildup of waste and parasites. Also, ensure that the shelter has easy human access for cleaning and monitoring the geese’s health and wellbeing.
Familiarizing yourself with your geese is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it allows you to understand their everyday behaviors and habits, crucial for detecting any changes that may indicate health issues. Recognizing signs of distress, illness, or injury early can be vital for prompt veterinary intervention. Additionally, familiarity builds trust between you and your geese, making handling and care routines, such as feeding and cleaning, smoother and less stressful for you and the birds. This bond enhances the overall experience of keeping geese as pets or backyard animals.
Creating separate spaces is critical to managing geese’s natural tendency to eat garden flowers and vegetables. Erect a low fence around your garden areas; while geese can fly, they often prefer not to unless necessary. This physical barrier usually deters them from accessing and grazing on your plants. If fencing isn’t feasible, consider planting goose-repellent flora or using safe, non-toxic repellents around your garden. Additionally, providing ample grazing areas with grass and plants they prefer can redirect their attention away from your garden, satisfying their foraging needs without damaging your flowers and vegetables.
Do you have questions about raising geese? As your local Galena, MD animal clinic, we’re here to help!