Feeding Geese

Geese are primarily grazing animals. They have similar nutritional needs and eating habits to horses and other similar livestock. An ideal diet...
By Iain Utah · Feb 4, 2015 · Updated Feb 10, 2015 · ·
  1. Iain Utah
    Feeding your pet geese


    Geese are primarily grazing animals. They have similar nutritional needs and eating habits to horses and other similar livestock. An ideal diet for geese would be 80%+ fresh grass, supplemented with grains. Geese eat around the clock as their bodies digest food very quickly. If no fresh grass is available, you can offer them green colored, sweet smelling, high quality grass hay or fresh vegetables. When offering a new food, whether it is a type of grass, grain, or even a tasty treat, geese tend to be slow and regard it with suspicion. It may take them a few days before they realize that the new food is yummy.

    Grass: Geese like timothy, brome, meadow grasses, rye, oat grass, etc. They also like certain weeds, such as dandelions (which are excellent for them) and stinging nettle, but will not touch most types of weeds that grow on our property. They also do not like legumes, i.e. alfalfa or clover (at least my geese won't eat it in the pasture).

    Grain: Choosing a type of grain can be challenging. Many people swear by wheat and oats and frown upon corn. Some use chicken scratch ($10 per 50lb bag) while others use Mazuri waterfowl ($40 per 50lb bag). Our dewlap toulouse geese, who live in smaller grass yards around our house, get approximately 2 cups of grain each twice daily, consisting of ½ Mazuri waterfowl maintenance and ½ Purina flockraiser. In the winter (which is bitter in the northern Utah mountains), they get whole corn in addition to the Mazuri and Purina. Our African geese, who live on 9 acres of pasture with year-round stream and access to a wider variety of food to forage, get approximately 1 cup twice daily of ½ Purina flockraiser and ½ whole corn. In the winter, their corn ration will double. We like to feed them enough grain that it takes a couple of hours for their bowls to be emptied after each feed. Amounts will vary depending on time of year, temperatures, and availability of fresh grass. If there is food left over at the next feeding time, we have fed too much. If they do not leave their bowls until emptied, then we know have not fed enough.

    Treats: Geese love treats! Our geese's favorite treats are fresh corn (hulls removed), watermelon, and romaine lettuce. Lots of geese also enjoy cantelope, green peppers, carrots, apples, peas, kale, bok choy, tomatoes, etc. Stay away from giving bread, since it is not good for them. Spinach is also surprisingly bad for them. There is an acid in spinach that blocks calcium absorption, which is important for good bone density, so avoid spinach! Of course, a good rule of thumb is that if a food item is toxic to dogs, cats or horses (like raw onion), it most likely is toxic to your geese.

    Final note: When raising geese from baby goslings, diet is extremely important! Geese need sunshine, grass, and proper exercise to develop properly. Keeping geese inside or in small dirt pens and feeding grain only is asking for trouble. Angelwing is a horrible cosmetic deformity and a common problem from feeding a grain diet with restricted exercise. Dewlap toulouse geese are especially prone to leg issues, so balancing their weight gain with outdoor exercise and nutrients (like niacin) that are best found in fresh grass is critical to avoid serious leg problems.


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  1. WannaBeHillBilly
    "Excellent article"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Oct 5, 2019
    Very well written and very comprehensive.
  2. WilmaP
    "Thank you"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 15, 2019
    I'm a complete newbie, with a 1-1/2 year old Chinese brown gander. He's so much fun! But I've really wondered if I'm feeding him enough or the right things. This article helps a lot, and has given me ideas about some new things to try.
  3. Marieaa70
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jun 7, 2019
    Great topic I had a goose for 19 1/2 years lived on 1 acre, was so friendly but hated men , never hurt a child, Have 2 gosling 2 weeks 3 weeks old , there doing great ,


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  1. Leader Bee
    How long will Hay Grass last before it becomes unusable?
  2. Iain Utah
    Good quality mixed meadow grass hay for horses, which should be green, soft to handle, and sweet smelling, works the best for geese. You can usually find it at your local feed store or classified listings. I just leave a pile by the feeding area. If it is extremely cold (below 10F), I will spread out like in the picture. They really like it for bedding down, but will also nibble on the hay while laying in it. It can be wasteful, but you can also re-use it as base layer for nesting boxes in the spring.
      biggbooboo and Miss Lydia like this.
  3. ARpullet
    What do you suggest I feed African geese if I have no grass (winter)? I have been letting them run loose during the day and put them in at night. They eat scratch grain pretty good. I have some mixed grass hay, but they just bed up in it. Thanks for any suggestions.
      biggbooboo and Miss Lydia like this.
    1. Miss Lydia
      I have no grass even in summer, I buy greens when on sale at grocery, romaine, cabbage ,kale and they eat an all flock for feed, also in afternoons in dead of winter everyone gets whole corn, meal worms and BOSS I just toss out on the ground and everyone has at it.

      Some geese do like soft grass like timothy in hay also, Mine did eat some but I had a chicken get an impacted crop from eating the hay so I stopped buying it.
      ARpullet likes this.
  4. Miss Lydia
    Great article!
      biggbooboo likes this.
  5. NathanZee
    Wonderful article! I must say I am surprised your geese don't like clover, my geese adore it!
      Umair yousaf921 and biggbooboo like this.
  6. Miss Lydia
    Great information thank you.
      biggbooboo likes this.
  7. N F C
    Very good article, thanks!
      biggbooboo likes this.
  8. 333dawn333
    p.s......... is whole corn deer corn??
  9. 333dawn333
    Hi, Good article! Question: My American Buff loved their mash all summer and Fall. Now that there are 4 ft. of snow and not a single blade of anything green to be had they are not eating mash. They will eat scratch but i am seriously concerned about their nutrition. If I make a gruel of mash, peas, stewed carrot bits and hot water they gobble it up. I don't have the time to do that every day though. Any suggestions?? I also toss in a few flakes of timothy hay weekly and they'll pick through that. I will appreciate nay suggestions. TY, Rev. Alloway
      ARpullet likes this.
  10. 333dawn333
  11. casportpony
    Great article!

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