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Wintering geese in Wisconsin

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

We have 2 Toulouse.  They are fine for now but with it getting cold we have to make some modifications.  I think I have the feed thing down pat but now I need to know about housing.  We got a big calf hutch...about 8x8 ft.  The plan is to make a straw bed in there with straw bales piled around the inside to created a wind-free area.  They will have the door facing east since the wind comes from the west but its quite a large door...about 2ft xy 3ft.  Will this be sufficient for them for the winter?  Will I have to find a way to close them in at night or will they know enough to go in there when they are cold?  Will this be warm enough for them?  I'm thinking with all the feathers they should be fine but I'm worried.

1 hubby, 1 son, 1 dog, 1 rabbit, 7 cats, 2 parakeets and a ton of chickens.
Just call me Mrs. Doolittle!
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1 hubby, 1 son, 1 dog, 1 rabbit, 7 cats, 2 parakeets and a ton of chickens.
Just call me Mrs. Doolittle!
Reply
post #2 of 10

Geese are very sturdy and don't need much for the winter.  I always lock my birds in at night.  Oh, they don't like it, but too bad.  It's for their protection.  Nighttime predators are hungry in the winter and would love a goose dinner.  Other than that I think your geese will do fine.  They don't need as much protection from the elements as chickens.  Just make sure their bedding inside the house is nice and deep and DRY, and keep the wind off them.

post #3 of 10

I have all of our 3 sided sheds/shelters facing south.  East facing can let a bunch of snow/sleet/cold rain in during winter.  South is best.  I would not be concerned about putting staw bales on the inside at all.  just a nice layer of straw and you can add to it when needed.  I would not put water in there at all and make sure you do not at night or everything will be wet and frozen ..   They will be fine for the few hours at night they are locked in.  You will find they prefer to be out most times even in the bad winters in Wisconsin.  I am also from Wisconsin.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks!  That helps a lot.  We have a big calf hutch facing south so that will be great.  Now I just have  to figure out what to feed them.  They don't want anything to do with shell corn, corn on the cob or chicken layer.  Just grass and they make an awful mess of the water by dipping the grass in the water and making mud.  UGH.

1 hubby, 1 son, 1 dog, 1 rabbit, 7 cats, 2 parakeets and a ton of chickens.
Just call me Mrs. Doolittle!
Reply
1 hubby, 1 son, 1 dog, 1 rabbit, 7 cats, 2 parakeets and a ton of chickens.
Just call me Mrs. Doolittle!
Reply
post #5 of 10

I wondered about this too. How does one keep their enclosure dry? They seem to be able to make a watery mess out of any amount of water provided.

post #6 of 10

I live in iowa and i use the deep bedding method.  I put 6 inches of straw in the bottom of the building and every morning I stir it up top to bottom.  I add extra bedding when it gets to dirty.  The wet bedding is placed on the bottom and the dry comes to the top.  The bedding will start to rot and give off heat and help to keep the birds warmer in the winter.  I got this from Dave Holdereads book on geese and it works well.  You have to stir it every day or it will freeze into a solid chunk but if you do mix it, it keeps the bedding nice all winter.

1Husband, 3 kids, 3dogs, 10 horses, and raising Gold and Silver Phoenix, Cayuga and Ancona Ducks, Pomeranian Geese.
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1Husband, 3 kids, 3dogs, 10 horses, and raising Gold and Silver Phoenix, Cayuga and Ancona Ducks, Pomeranian Geese.
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post #7 of 10

Easy remedy to the watery mess!!!  Make sure you have there water outside at all times.  I NEVER put water in the shelters at all because they will make a mess.  I give them water every morning and every night.  I do dump it about 1 hr. after I give it to them at night so it isn't froze (they sleep most of the night anyway).    Have a great winter!   I don't worry to much about the geese,  they have a building with straw (if they choose to go in) water and food.  They winter great here in Wisconsin

post #8 of 10

Ours get locked up every night as well, for their own protection and our peace of mind, really.  We're a little concerned about their winter diet... they mostly free range during the day (grass) and have access to feed whenever as well, though they really only eat that when they're locked in at night.  They want nothing to do with chicken layer though, or corn, or any sorts of lettucy treats.  I'm going to try carrot tops, since that resembles grass the most, but I'm not even sure how nutritional that is?  NH has long winters...  I'm hoping that will be enough nutrition for them, possibly? 

Oddly enough we've never had a problem with messy water.  We provide it for them at all times and they're actually pretty clean for geese inside their crib.  In one corner they have straw which is mostly what the sleep/poop on, and that gets changed every day, which keeps the rest of the stall fairly spotless, so depending on if your geese sleep in the same spot at night, that might be helpful!

1 Black Lab, 1 Rottweiler, 2 mischievous cats, 5 RIR/NHR mixes, 2 SLW's, 2 EE's, 3 BRs, 1 Am. Buff gander, 1 Toulouse female, 2 fish!
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1 Black Lab, 1 Rottweiler, 2 mischievous cats, 5 RIR/NHR mixes, 2 SLW's, 2 EE's, 3 BRs, 1 Am. Buff gander, 1 Toulouse female, 2 fish!
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post #9 of 10

Thanks for the suggestions about water. I guess dealing with freezing water and managing the mess is something we'll have to get used to. BTW, ours seem to eat layer food at night back in the barn along with the chickens and ducks. They free range all day but obviously they won't have much available to them once the snow flies.

post #10 of 10

Geese do like very nice leafy green 3rd or 4th crop hay as well.  We get a bale or two throughout  the winter from a local farmer and toss some in every now and then.  They do like to chew on it.

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