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Beginner Goosegirl

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I'm thinking of getting some geese, but I've only ever raised chickens and ducks before, so I have a few questions.


First, is it true that all they need is a three-sided shed for shelter? Won't raccoons, possums or skunks get them? Those are basically the only predators around that I have to worry about, besides possibly a wandering dog. We do hear coyotes sometimes, but I've never seen one around. Would the geese really be okay not locked up at night?


Second, do they do okay free-ranging in the same area as chickens? I'd give them a separate house, but it would be near my chicken coop and I'm sure they'll interact with my chickens as they range.


And third, is there any breed that is non-aggressive? I've heard bad things about aggressive geese, and I have small children. Of course, they wouldn't be allowed to chase or harass the geese, but they will be around them and I don't want to take any risks. Is there a breed that's known for being calm and easy-going?

post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 

Oh, it just occurred to me that they could pasture with my goats if being around my chickens is a problem. Would that work?

post #3 of 6

 Here is my take on on it. Just my opinions and observations from my geese and neighbors geese and park geese.


They do need to be locked up at night the same as any other bird. I have personally lost a goose to a coon. I've had coyotes running circles around the pen after dark. They might chase off dogs that are not big or mean but an aggressive dog will likely hurt or kill them.


I have seen some geese do well with chickens (neighbors birds). Mine do well with my ducks but are locked up separate at night. Every bird has their own personality and some are more tolerant then others. Ganders are more likely to be a problem then the females but ganders can do fine too.


Breeds and non-aggressive....The aggression of them will depend on several things.


Pilgrims, which I have, are listed as one of the most docile geese. They have been much better then other breeds I have dealt with.

Even with the most gentle breed there can be problems and problem birds. They are individuals.

Males in mating season can be a problem. Hormones do a real number on them.

The parents are very protective when they have babies.

They can have a bad day just like us. Unfortunately they take it out on anyone handy. Fortunately it happens very rarely but I have seen it happen.

They are family/flock oriented. If your part of the family/flock you belong. Strangers must be driven out or shown who is boss in their minds. Just the way it is. They are capable of including a lot in their "family" though.


Much depends on how you raise them. I have a neighbor who's little girl chased and teased their geese occasionally. The family couldn't deal with them once they got to the first breeding season. The gander actively chased and nipped. He flew in my face trying to attack me when I went there. No harm to me or them but I had to tell them how to deal with him. Another problem was they thought always be nice and they will be nice back. That only goes so far. You need to stand up for your space. Things got a bit better but in the end they got butchered to end the problem.


If you or anyone in your family isn't capable of dealing with aggression when it starts then avoid getting a gander. Don't run if there is a problem because you would be training them to think they can win. Sweet talk them all you can when they are being good, but just like with children and dogs only sweet talk and no discipline usually ends in a spoiled, trouble making meany. Praise, gentleness, rules, and boundaries and as needed enforcement of the rules. Even little kids can do well with them providing they are not the sort to run away screaming.


Personally I love geese. They are smarter then any other birds I have had. More playful. More social. Easier to train. I find them more interesting. I love them tons. I praise them all the time. But when they act up I don't back down, and they do act up from time to time. Being consistent so they know what to do helps a lot. 


Perhaps a few others can chime in here.

post #4 of 6

Shelter: Currently I shelter my three geese in a dog run during the night. It is four sided and I do suggest that because coyotes will definitely try to get them. During the day I let them out to be free range, though they do wander so I would set up some sort of border. They won't go too far but they are extremely messy so I would block off any areas you don't want goose poop.


Breeds: I have two female embdens and one male african. Females are naturally more easygoing and I would trust them around my little siblings. Though, geese should always be monitored when around children because there is always a chance they will act out if they either don't know the child well or if they have an egg nearby. My male was extremely easygoing until the females came along and now he tends to be aggressive, he has already attacked someone but he is doing better. If you have small children I would start with young females and not a gander (male), but always look into the goose you are getting, make sure they have never shown any signs of aggression, and have your kids interact with the geese every day so they geese know them and are used to them. In my experience geese are kinder to the ones they know and trust. I love the breeds I have, but all geese have a chance of being aggressive so again always monitor your children around a goose. Make sure to get two geese no matter what because they are flock animals and can get depressed without companionship. I would also continue to look into goose breeds as I am only familiar with these two.


Free Range with Chickens: If you let a goose free range with chickens the goose must have a companion goose or they will attack the chickens because a chicken is not a sufficient companion. The goose will realize the chicken is not as smart as he/she is, and will get aggravated. Make sure the geese you get were raised around chickens. I don't let my geese free range with my chickens, but it is possible. Geese do get along with ducks, especially a muscovy.


Be aware that geese NEVER stop pooping. You must constantly clean up after them. They are fun to have, but a lot of work. 


I don't mean to deter you, geese are so much fun and I don't regret getting them. They have so much personality and are great pets. Not to mention, their eggs are so good! I like the eggs more than duck or chicken eggs. 


The one thing I regret is getting a mate for my gander. Adding the opposite sex complicated my relationship with my gander and gave him a chance to get aggressive.


I really hope this helped! If you have any questions, fell free to ask. Good luck!

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input, that's a lot of good information! The more I think about it, I think if I do get geese it might work better to pasture them with my goats. That way they would be fenced in, and they wouldn't just be loose around the children.


I'm going to keep thinking about it and do some more research before I jump into anything though. Thanks again for all your advice!

post #6 of 6

My neighbors geese spent time around their goats. Eating and sleeping rather close at times. They saw each other from the time the geese were goslings. There never seemed to be any issue between the goats and the geese that I saw.


Another person had adult geese and tossed them in with their goats. Apparently the geese who had never seen goats before didn't much care for the them and would chase and nip them till one day a goat turned around and butted the gander hard. The guy said the goat nearly killed the one gander with just the one butt. Once he healed up the geese and the goats lived peacefully in the same field by not invading each others space. Neither side wanted a war I guess.


I think the earlier in age they get used to the goats the less problems. It goes back to what I said about family/flock. The more they get used to other critters and people who treat them fairly when young then the better. They can remember individuals, animal or person, that are part of the bigger family that lives with/near them. Outside of breeding and raising the babies season the ganders are more tolerant. Come breeding season ganders brains turn to hormonal mush. They forget every thing except impressing, flirting and protecting the pretty girl geese. Even then they can respect the space of others and goats are  capable of standing their ground.

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