Are geese good grass grazers? & will a small flock defend themselves?

Discussion in 'Geese' started by CluckyChook, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. CluckyChook

    CluckyChook Out Of The Brooder

    Thinking about getting geese for the 1st time and have a few Qs, they will be, mostly, free range and locked up at night with my chooks.

    How much will one gooose graze ?
    How many will I need to keep together so that they are happy?
    How many will I need so that they are an effective preditor proof flock? I know that there is no stopping some preds, (especially @*cking dogs), I am thinking more about foxes as my dog issue are sorted for the time being.
    Will they bully my chooks ? as they will be locked up together on the days they can't range.

    and finally, Are they worth it ?

    Thanks you goose gurus;)
     
  2. erinszoo

    erinszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, let's see ...

    1.Our geese graze all the time they aren't sleeping although I don't have an exact size plot they might eat in a day. They tend to only eat the tops of the grass so it will continue to grow. But be aware they will eat anything and everything else in the area that grows and that doesn't grow as well. If it's green, they will eat it for the most part. They also like wood and leaves and hay.
    2.We have two geese and a duck together. They spent their early months with the chickens as well but they got to the point that they were trying to breed with the chickens so we had to separate them. They didn't ever really hurt them, but pulled feathers a few times. If they are ranged in a large enough area together it shouldn't be a problem at all.
    3.Not sure how effective they would be at stopping a fox if it was determined to kill them. They keep all our cats at bay quite well and even our neighbors won't come in our yard. They really aren't frightened of much but there's not much they can do if a fox gets a hold on one of them. Even our American possums can kill a goose through a fence as can a raccoon.
    4.Are they worth it? Um ... Uh ... not sure. It depends on your purpose. They really take care of themselves quite well as far as eating goes and managing the flock but they produce a LOT of poo. If they are eating mainly grass the poo isn't too bad but if they are eating flock food it can get nasty quick. And it will be everywhere they go. They have amazing personalities and can be quite comical to watch ... much more so than chickens ... however, as sometimes found in our own species, personality comes with attitude quite often.
     
  3. littlenell1

    littlenell1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How much will one gooose graze ? We have 13 and they graze about half of a 3 acre paddock. They have kept the grass down quite short.

    How many will I need to keep together so that they are happy? I guess you will need at least a pair. We have a mixture of breeds and although I can sex the babies, the adults are a bit more difficult!

    How many will I need so that they are an effective preditor proof flock? Having just lost 2 geese to a fox, NO they cannot protect themselves. A lot of their hissing and flapping is just bravado. Our brown boy was the head honcho goose and the fox just ate him where he was wedged in amongst the fence line/trees. A female, his mate I think, was also killed, dragged but not taken or touched.
    Since then I have had to teach the geese to be herded from the main pasture into an enclosure where I keep a few ducks and guinea fowl. They learnt pretty quick, but I wish I had not had to do this. We are busily trying to build a large shed to house the geese at night. Especially as I have invested in a breeding pair of pilgrim geese.

    Will they bully my chooks ? as they will be locked up together on the days they can't range. Ours go in with our runner ducks, two small POL hens, and 3 guineafowl and there have been the odd feather tweaking, but they generally leave each other alone. Maybe a bit more aggro if one of the females would be laying maybe.

    Are they worth it ? YES. Great characters, tasty, if you eat goose (you know what went into it), they are amazingly smart, and they can live over 20 yrs!
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011
  4. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Quote:
     
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Quote:Well lille nell 1 just told you the story, sorry. but it does answer some questions.
     
  7. CluckyChook

    CluckyChook Out Of The Brooder

    Thats awesome food for thought, thank you for your feedback and you have convinced me, I have decided to wait till the local hatchery has some babies and get a mixed lot of about 6-8 unrelated geese. The size of my lock up night pen determines the size of my flock and I already have 12 chooks.

    I would like them to keep the grass down on about 1/2 an acre and if they breed they will be for the freezer.

    As for the fox it seems I will have to keep my eyes out for it and pray it doesn't come in the daytime when I'm at work. Your story of carnage is aweful littlnell,[​IMG] I know how it feels having lost chooks to a local roaming dog, he killed 1 and maimed 1 that I had to cull. Horrid even thou some of my chooks are for eating I can't bear to see them suffer in any way.

    I will put the chook perches high so they can get away from the geese if they need to, I also have a very evil hen so she might actually put them in their place when they are young. As they will be locked up at night and free range in the day I hope the poop dosn't become too much of a problem, but I am concerned about them becoming hissing, chasers so will have to make sure they grow up being nice polite geese and not nasty ankle biters, quite hard to do I have been told but I like a challenge !

    At what age are they good to eat ? just thinking ahead. Also do you keep goose eggs in the fridge or out on the bench like chook eggs ?

    Have a fantasitc day and enjoy the new year.
    I'm looking forward to some goose fun [​IMG]
     
  8. r4eboxer

    r4eboxer Crooked Creek Poultry

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    Geese graze all day and are quite self sufficient though they will enjoy grain too. As far as acreage I don't know. MY geese graze on about 5 acres but seem to really like certain areas. I think if you have some land you can fence off areas and they can graze one area while the other grows back out. I'd say less than 1/2 acre for 6 geese. Grass grows FAST

    My geese did bully my ducks in the pond at first, but now that the ducks have been put back in their pen the geese visit them many times a day. I think the geese miss the ducks lol.

    Are they worth it. YES they are so full of entertainment, also read this article. http://homestead.org/SherrieTaylor/Geese/GoldenEgg.htm
     
  9. roocrazy

    roocrazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 11, 2009
    minnesota!!!!
    I'm sure the ganders or the more dominant goose will TRY to protect themselves but i have a feeling that them against a larger predator, the predator would get the best of them... geese are kinda clumsy when it comes to running...at least mine are...
    ETA: they may or may not bully chickens. My gander can be confined with my chickens and no problem... on the other hand my two geese... i wouldn't have ANY chickens left...
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011

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