Over the past few months we've been debating getting a goose. We'd get it souly for guarding our flock of free-range chickens and for a pet. We could manage it's upkeep but is the time and money that's put into raising a good well-behaved goose really worth the effort? We have our ducks and chickens on two different kinds of food already because we have drakes in the duck coop. Would we need to give the goose it's own food? I was doing some research and found that they rely heavily on grass and foraging. We live on an acre and the geese would have access to it daily, but would it destroy the land? Will the goose attack my chickens, ducks or two German Shepherds, (who aren't very accustomed to the poultry life yet and might get in the geese's face) ?We have two coops, one for the ducks and one for the chickens. Geese are pretty big in my mind and the duck coop has a sloped roof that's 4 feet at it's highest, i worry that the goose would be too cramped with all our ducks. If we did get a goose we speculated about re-purposing an old doghouse. They goose would have plenty of space but i worry that it would be lonely at night. The chickens will have a run attached to their coop so it could always sleep outside. Another thing is that our ducks aren't free-range they have a very secure run that has a very enjoyable pond. If i left the door open to the run and let the ducks wander outside and the goose wander in to use their pond would the goose protect my ducks? Or fight for custody of the pond? Do any of you have any cons or tips for raising and owning a goose? Or breed suggestions? Anything would help.
Are Geese Worth the Work?
Featured Stories on BackYard Chickens
Secondly, if by guard goose you mean a bird that alerts to danger, a goose might be what you're looking for. If you're looking for something that's going to attack predators and protect your flock in that manner, geese are not what you want. They're not going to fight predators, they're going to run like all the other poultry would. They will alert the flock (and you, if you're home) to the danger but that's the extent of it. They won't be battling off foxes or anything like that.
As for breed, it sounds like you're looking for a small goose because you don't really have the space for a large breed. In that case, you could look into Romans, which are the smallest domestic breed that were derived from the grey lag. You could also check out Pomeranians as they are on the smaller side too.
All in all they really aren't hard to raise, no harder than ducklings, really. They can eat the same feed as your ducks do when they are adults. They don't destroy the land when eating grass.
Before you get them, though, you really need to figure out the housing situation and as I said, if you're looking for something that will protect your birds more than simply alerting loudly when there is danger, it's not a goose you're looking for - what you want is a Livestock Guardian Dog.
That was a very helpful post, thank you for taking the time to write it. I'm glad they can eat our ducks food and won't tear up our land because those were the main reasons for not getting geese. We thought we'd have to buy a big expensive bag of geese food! The duck food is compatible with turkeys and broiler chickens, hopefully that won't be an issue. I'm very excited to get geese after we figure out their coop of course!
X2 on goslings being sweet. And then like humans, they turn into perpetual teenagers! Just kidding. We started with two saddleback pom's but one of them died; we still haven't figured out how. We filled in that spot with a older gosling from the same hobby farm; a young gander going through an identity crisis; he's been raised strictly with ducks and thought he should quack.. He turned into a beautiful white Chinese and is my alarm. When the wind blows, the ducks fight or mate, when the chickens look at them funny, when the UPS guy comes to deliver, when the.... you get the point. He screeches like crazy. But, he's also let me know when Mr Fox has arrived, looking for a free meal. The two together are awfully sweet, and he's so protective of her. Be sure to seed your grass though. Depending on how many ducks you have, between two geese and 15 ducks, they turned a decent strip of grass into bare dirt. I had to really expand the area I gave them to free range on. My mistake, not theirs.
We'd have two small breed geese free range with roughly ten chickens and occasionally our ten ducks. If they tear up our grass then I won't be allowed to get them. Our ducks destroyed their old run even though it was pretty barren to begin with. We're moving them to a very lush, long strip of our yard and i worry that if we let the goose in the run with the ducks to use their pond they'll demolish the grass. Is the grass grower toxic to them? And sorry for bombarding you with questions but i trust this website better then a random wiki page, so would the geese get along with our ducks? We have to drakes who spring at our dogs sometimes to protect the girls but the girls are very pissy also and run at us. I worry about sharing their pond. We could always use a kiddie pool but it's rather small and i hoped those days were over. I apologize for writing such long posts, but i'm really glad people are reading them.
Wow, good to hear and surprisingly impressive. By eat the grass do you mean trim the grass like a goat or lawn mover would, or rip it out entirely so it wouldn't grow again? Like I said our ducks destroyed their old run but since they've been more free-range they've been favoring this one lush area of the yard and it's still looking normal. If they eat grass like ducks do i don't think there'd be much of a problem. When you say you rotate them around the yard what do you mean?
Does anyone have any breed suggestions? I'm on the lookout for a goose on the smaller side with a nice, friendly temperament but will alert my flocks to danger and be protective if necessary. One that doesn't have a huge appetite hopefully (though that might be unavoidable). It'd need to be hardy for our tough Canadian winters and will adjust and socialize well to our many different species of animal. Hopefully I'm not being too specific. Really it just needs to be small, friendly, protective and hardy. I've already done some research on the many different breeds but wanted some real advice from people that have actual hands on experience, not a website trying to pass off every breed as compatible with my lifestyle.