A Mixed Blessing - Advice greatly appreciated


In the Brooder
7 Years
Jan 29, 2012
Northeast Iowa
Hello All!

I am in need of advice. My MIL has gifted us with 4 Sebastopol goslings, 4 Buff American goslings and 6 Buff ducklings in celebration of my wife's birthday. The MIL does nothing by halves! The group is supposed to be arriving in the last week of April. We had been considering getting some goslings, just not in this quantity to begin with. We have a flock of about 50 chickens that we enjoy and thought that we might enjoy a couple geese and maybe a few ducks. Apparently the MIL was paying attention when we mentioned that we were considering this!

My immediate concern is being prepared for successfully brooding the new arrivals. We have 10 acres for them to roam and severals barns and sheds to choose from for shelter when grown. I also have a heated porch available for brooding if that would be better. I would like to get advice on the best setup for the brooder, keeping in mind that temperatures are expected to be in the 50s and low 60s here in Iowa during the day and in the 40s at night. The local TSC has a Purina all flock starter/grower available. Is this sufficient if I add brewers yeast or is there a better option that anyone can suggest? Any suggestions on food, brooder setup, or anything else that I should know would be much appreciated. Sorry for the length of this post. Thanks!
Wow, that's a lot of goslings!

I guess they'll be quite young when they arrive? I have no experience with so many goslings, I've only raised two at a time. But I know they grow incredibly fast. My new gosling is gaining 20-30 percent in weight every day! She went from 4.5 oz. to 14.5 oz. in only six days.

That means that before they're out of the brooder they'll be about the size of a small grown chicken. Keep that in mind when you decide the size of the brooder.

If they're younger than 3 or four weeks, you'll need some kind of heat for them, preferably a brooder lamp.

Also, they poop incessantly, so the larger the brooder, the better.

Waterfowl need to be able to dunk their heads in water to rinse their bills and eyes. A chicken waterer is not sufficient for them.

Goslings are curious and active, so if you can supply them with chunks of sod dug out of your lawn, it'll keep them busy, supply them with fresh grass and grit, and give them something to play with.
Your going to need a big brooder, you may have to build something you want to give them as much room as possible or they may start pulling feathers out of each other. so either build something or go to the local appliance store or furniture store and get a couple of very larger boxes and put them together with the 2 ends that you put together cut open so your making a huge brooder, your heated porch would be a great place for them, use pine shavings [not the fine] it will help absorb all the poop much better than straw or hay, but cleaning is a must with that many youngins all together. [maybe she can cut it down to 4 geese and 4 ducks, just a suggestion. lol ] and yep they will need at least 3 large plastic butter containers for water, and something they can't step into for feed, those small chicken feeders won't work.

Gosling grow so fast as do ducklings so on nice warm days make them an area outside with a wind block and let them be outside with supervision of course. They love being in the open and can do a bit of grazing too. Exploring will help them develop better. and when cleaning their brooder you can keep an eye on them. the butter bowls for waterers cut a hole in the top of the lid just large enogh for them to stick their heads into that way you have a little less water slung all over the bedding, for the ducklings they will need a smaller plastic bowl. besure to place something heavy in the bottom to keep them from tipping them over large rocks help. Good luck and please pics when they arrive. and here is a link to caring for ducklings and goslings since their needs a basically them same when babies.. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/750869/raising-and-caring-for-ducklings#post_10611711 other than your goslings will appreciate greens alot more than your ducklings, although my ducks love chopped kale and Roamine lettuce.
Last edited:
Thank you for the response! I had no idea that goslings grew so quickly. I will double the size of the brooder that I am building this week. I can go up to 4x8 on the porch and still be able to get in and out. The sod is a great idea! I will definitely include that in the brooder. Thanks!
Thank you for the response! I had no idea that goslings grew so quickly. I will double the size of the brooder that I am building this week. I can go up to 4x8 on the porch and still be able to get in and out. The sod is a great idea! I will definitely include that in the brooder. Thanks!
Yep they grow like weeds. lol
Miss Lydia, thank you for the excellent ideas! I would have never thought of the butter bowls with the holes in the lids. That should really cut down on the mess! I will prepare an exercise pen for them in the side yard between house and garage, lots of sun and very sheltered. I will supplement their food with chopped kale and lettuce. Thank you also for the very helpful link. I am afraid that reducing the number is not an option at this point, but hopefully everyone will do well and get along. Do you think that the ducks will be ok together with the goslings when they are still young? We plan to build a duck house later. Thanks again!
On the water bowls now my goslings from the time they start moving around the first thing some of them do when they find out what water is. Is JUMP in. You do not want it too high so they do not drowned. Yes, babys can drowned if they can not get out of the water they will get water logged cold and drowned. Goslings and duckling love to play in water from the moment they find out what it is.
So be wise on your choice of water containers. They also knock them over and make a slush party in their pens!
Thank you Miss Lydia for putting a picture up for the others to see what you are talikg about. Because I know some will think the big butter bowls.

I must raise little piggy goslings because the minute they see I have water and put it in with them they all flock over and fight over the water and jump in.... Silly little golsings. I even raise the water bowl up onto the top of a stainless steel bowl and well this one little gosling made sure to just jump right up into it.

I think I have jumping jacks instead of goslings when it comes to water. Then after they get all wet complain that they are cold so have to get out the blow dryer and blow then dry. I am begining to wonder if that is their plan. Get wet then momma has to blow us dry with that nice heater thing.
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom