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Why You Should Keep Geese
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Why You Should Keep Geese

Geese have got themselves a bit of a bad reputation as being large and aggressive birds. However, if you raise them from very young, they make loyal and quite affectionate characters to have around with the added bonus that they are quick to let you know when there are strangers or predators around. This is especially useful if you keep chickens, ducks or other types of poultry that you like to free range.

Other reasons for keeping a pair of geese include the following:

  • Geese can be extremely funny and they are incredibly inquisitive by nature
  • They are low maintenance because they are pretty self sufficient in that most of the nutrients they need come from the grass they eat
  • Geese are very beautiful birds with some breeds boasting gorgeous plumage

Keeping Geese is Easy

If you already have a few chickens around the place, having a pair of geese will help protect them because they are fantastic alarms should any predators be about which includes foxes or larger birds of prey. Because they are pretty low maintenance, it means you don't have to spend a fortune on feed for them either. As long as they have some good grass to graze on, these large birds are happy.

Start Off with Goslings

Geese are robust birds even when they are young which is why it's a good idea to invest in a couple of goslings rather than invest in adult birds. When raised from young, geese grow up to be just as friendly towards you as a dog or a family cat. The one difference being that geese would not be so friendly towards any strangers that show up at your door!

A pair of geese would certainly let you know when someone is around and they usually succeed in stopping anyone they don't know from getting too close without raising the alarm.

What Breeds are Best?

One very popular breed is the Embden because they boast nice natures and are more likely to enjoy interacting with people. However, White Chinese are very attractive and the same can be said of Africans. Other breeds worth considering include the following:

  • Toulouse
  • Pilgrims

The reason these two breeds have become popular is because they are calm and gentle by nature which means they are not the best choice if you are looking for a couple of geese that act as brilliant guard dogs too! Both breeds are too laid back for that sort of behaviour although they might “honk” if something they don't like is going on.

The best time to get your goslings is in the spring time which is when most breeders start their hatchings. However, you may need to place an order quite early because some breeds are very much in demand so it's best to get in there early to avoid disappointment. You would need to keep the goslings much as you would young chicks which means setting up a nice sheltered and warm brooding area for them. They would need to stay in this area until their feathers have grown through before being let out into the great outdoors.

Once ready to go out, geese like to be outside as much as possible, but you should always shut them up at night for safety. This means providing them with a nice largish garden shed to sleep in and unlike chickens, they don't need perches. Although they are large birds they still run the risk of being attacked by a fox at night when they are unable to see as well as they can in the daylight.

You don't need to have a pond or a stream for your birds, but you do need to provide them with large bowls of water. These need to be kept fresh and clean so your birds can get in them, drink from them and basically mess about in water when they want to. The key to keeping happy geese is to provide them with lots of deep, fresh water to play in!

As previously mentioned, keeping a couple of geese whether a male and a female or a pair of females is very economical because most of their diet consists of grass. The other great thing is they tend to get on well with other poultry including chickens, although geese can be a little possessive over water dishes and not allow your hens to drink. The solution is to ensure there are lots of water sources around the place for your birds to drink from. A pair of male geese might end up fighting although this is not always the case, but it's best to avoid the risk because they could end up injuring each other quite seriously.

The only time you really need to think about feeding your geese is during the winter time when there's no grass about. You can source good quality goose food from a feed merchant or even from large pet superstores.

Lastly, Geese are Not Necessarily Aggressive Birds!

It really does depend on the breed, their gender and the way a goose has been raised as to how aggressive they are. However, the one time you do need to be a little more careful around any geese, is during the breeding season when a female might be sitting on eggs. They are great at protecting other poultry even from cats that might stray into their territory and will certainly see any dogs off including your own pet if they feel threatened in any way!

The key to successfully raising friendly geese is to make sure they are socialised from a young age and then to keep interacting with them even as adult birds. This way, you'll find they follow you around much like a dog, nibbling on your coat tails in a rather endearing and friendly way in order to get your attention and as a bonus, most geese make the best guard dogs ever!

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