A little goose help


In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 11, 2009
Hi everyone!

I have some questions that I'm not able to find answers for doing a forum search, so here goes:

I have four embden geese, two males and two females. Three of them arrived last fall--two males and one female. Two of those are bonded (Fred and Belle) and after Fred kicked the stuffing out of Harold, the third goose, I removed him from their pen. We adopted Honky (I didn't name her, her previous owner's granddaughter did) this spring and she and Harold get along very well.

Here come the questions:

My two males still honk and scream at one another when Belle comes out of her shelter where she's been unsuccessfully sitting on eggs. If I move them to different parts of the property, will this help the noise at night? It can be 3 a.m. and they will go at it. Since they currently live right outside my bedroom window, it's a little inconvenient. I really hoped that Harold and Honky would bond, but while they do hang out together most of the time, if he sees Belle he books it across the yard to stand by the fence, while Honky wanders over to one of the duck pens and hangs out with them.

We keep the geese in a fenced-in yard, with two of them in a smaller pen in this area. They are protected from dogs, coyotes, etc. Are they in any danger from great horned owls or hawks? We lost a chicken earlier this year to a GHO, and I know it was an owl because I heard it hooting later on that evening. It got her right at sunset, actually. I know that owls can and will kill ducks, but big embdens? I put out shelters for the geese in the pen and laid shutters along the back of the chicken coop for the other geese, but I worry that they aren't safe--like a lot of others have posted, my geese only use the shelter for egg-laying.

And finally, if I provided them with a big enough area for all the geese to spread out, can they ever go back in the same pen again? Harold still dotes on Belle even though he's no longer in the pen with her, but Fred is her mate and I've had to pull them apart when they tried wrestling through the fence. Is it dangerous for them to fight, or is it just a lot of feather pulling? I want to move them to a different part of my yard where there is more green for them to forage, since they cleared out their area pretty well.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!
My son named one of our geese Big Foot so the little girl is not alone . . . my daughter was very indignant for the poor goose, but she doesn't know that her name is unpoetic! I am surprised he didn't think of Honky though . . . he's always liked obvious descriptive names.

Ganders: I have two separate areas for my geese because I had the same problem with the ganders. Two were friends and almost killed the third. I moved him into a large area with two female geese for company, and there was only normal noise. They were quite distant from each other though. The gander will probably continue being protective till his goose either hatches eggs, she abandons the nest, or you take the eggs away. Two of my female geese hatched out goslings, and the ganders are very overprotective. My lone gander and his two girls didn't have any goslings and he is much more calm and easy to be around with now that I took away the eggs (the nest was infertile) I am planning on putting the geese all together as soon as the ganders can get along. Usually they are fine from June through December, before the breeding season starts in January. You might have to separate them every year at breeding time though.

Owls: I know we have owls around, but so far I haven't lost any birds. The only foolproof way to protect them is to lock them in a covered run every night. Sounds like you are providing cover (which they will use if they feel threatened by something from the air). I depend on several open roofed chicken houses and my orchard apple trees to protect the birds from hawks and owls, and so far I haven't lost any birds. I don't have the space to lock them all inside right now, so my electric poultry netting and the cover are my main ways of keeping them safe . . .

Good luck on the geese -- I sure enjoy watching ours. Hopefully the goose will hatch out some goslings for you!
Thanks for the help! I'm not hopeful about the eggs. Last year she laid some later in the year and failed to hatch them, and this year she's been rolling them out of her nest, rolling them back in, broke one and ate it...spends less and less time with them--you get the picture. Maybe next year?

I don't mind housing them separately if necessary, we do have the room, I just want them to be content and a little quieter. The boys did get along great until after January and Fred yanked a bunch of feathers out of Harold's neck and beat him up. That's when I let Harold out into the general yard with chickens, etc.

We have lost a duck and a chicken to owls, but this was over the last four years. I hate losing ANYBODY, but I think we're doing ok. The owl got our hen right before sunset and came back later and made a racket right outside the pen when it realized that the hens were in for the night and we'd removed the poor dead one. The other casualty was a khaki duck who was demonstrating Darwinism at its best and stuck his head out through an opening in their shelter and got it nipped off and eaten by the owl. I actually saw the thing taking off when I went to take the dogs out (it was still dark and in the middle of winter) and then found the duck and put two and two together.

Anyway, I am open to building them small shelters that we can lock them in at night if necessary, but if they are safe from owls, a good sturdy fence might be enough with a place to hunker down if necessary. Thanks!
You are welcome!

I have a Toulouse goose that is the same way about nesting . . . she so badly wants to be a parent it is sad. She lost her first nest, and now she is laying again, even though it is almost June. It will be interesting to see if she keeps laying or gives up as the weather warms . . .

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