Are guard-geese a thing?

Discussion in 'Geese' started by whoisjohngalt, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. whoisjohngalt

    whoisjohngalt New Egg

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    So I have heard and read from Joel Salatin and some websites that guard geese will help protect chickens from aerial predators like hawks and owls. Since we lost a few chickens on pasture to hawks a few years back, we thought we'd try the goose thing. It took a couple of attempts to get the geese to adulthood, but our geese never took to guarding chickens. We raised them adjacent to a chicken yard for their first 4 months, then when we mixed them in with the chickens they simply terrorized the chickens. After a few weeks of trying, we got tired of seeing our chickens stressed out by the aggressive geese. Kept the geese in winter quarters all last year while the chickens were on pasture. This past winter when I brought the chickens back to the winter coop we tried mingling the chickens and geese. The geese actually killed three chickens in the span of about two days.

    So before we try this experiment again, I thought I'd ask if guard geese are a real thing...or do I need to have the geese separated from the chickens (and will that deter the hawks)?

    Appreciate any thoughts.

    Who Is John Galt?
     
  2. Carrosaur

    Carrosaur Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nope. No such thing as "guard geese". There are watch geese that people like to have because they start screaming every time something comes into the yard whether it be a person, dog, car, leaf, the sun, etc. But geese need to be treated like every other kind of fowl. They are generally defenseless to anything with teeth and claws/talons, and will only protect their own family (which often does not work anyways). They also will most likely do more harm than good to chickens, mainly because of the size difference.

    They MAY deter Hawks and small predators from coming into the yard... But a hungry enough animal will do anything to survive, and that includes killing geese. Even a house cat can kill a goose.
     
  3. bramblefir

    bramblefir Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As Carrosaur said, geese are great at alerting you that something's up. Mine love to inform the whole area that a human has just stepped out of the house or that one of us is coming up the road. They can even tell the difference between our vehicles and the neighbors before they're even visible from our property! Guarding though? Nope!

    I've lost 5 chickens to hawks this year and they were all killed in the same pasture as my geese and ducks. I didn't get the geese to guard and I have plenty of chickens to spare, so it was no big deal to me. Thankfully mine have never tried to kill any of the chickens.

    My recommendation would be to invest in an LGD.
     
  4. Carrosaur

    Carrosaur Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep, this. I have a Great Pyrenees who is an awesome LGD. Find a reputable working dog breeder that already has the pups around poultry.
     
  5. GoudaBirds

    GoudaBirds New Egg

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    I hatched my pair of embdens specifically to be "yard guards" after having my flock repeated ravaged by coyotes, coons and eagles. that was 2 years ago and since then I have only lost one bird to an eagle. I've seen other predators on the outskirts of the property but no more problems, and coyote attacks used to literally be a daily occurrence. They will actively pursue dogs and send them packin so they're def more than just watchers but as far as the other predators, it's probably just the insane amount of commotion that keeps them away--I'm sure if a coyote really got it in his mind to nab a bird it would happen. Maybe not without a fight, but, still. As far as getting along with the flock, they free range throughout the day with the chickens but are housed separately at night and while they will grab a hold of a hen once in a while and pull a few feathers out, they leave them alone for the most part. To be honest though they are super mess, shed feathers all over the yard and have been getting pretty human aggressive so it's kind of a pain, but I appreciate their willingness to alert me when something is amiss and that's worth it to me lol
     
  6. Vosh Sahaal

    Vosh Sahaal Out Of The Brooder

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    Coyotes also will learn that excited honking is followed by a 12ga sabot.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
  7. conchopearl

    conchopearl Out Of The Brooder

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    I was told that Salatin recomened just one goose to watch the chickens because the geese will stay in one area while the hapless chickens are some where else. I have been wanting a hen but I think fr now I will stick to my one male and see what happens.
     
  8. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    You should never have one goose, ever. Geese are social creatures and they need a friend of their own species. Chickens, ducks, etc, don't cut it. To have just one would be akin to locking you up with just chimpanzees for company in the hopes that you'd get along with them and protect them because you have no other humans to be with and they're the best you can do.

    I'm not even saying this just because I've heard it around, I experienced it. My first roman tufted grew up here without any other goslings or geese because her intended mate died in transit on the way to me. Sure, she hung out with the chickens and ducks, but she wasn't really happy. Once I got some more geese she immediately took to them and they are now an inseparable flock. I would never want to have another lone goose again because it's just cruel to the goose.

    Many people are perpetuating the myth that it's fine to keep one lone goose, but if they'd think about it at all they'd realize that just as they wouldn't want to live with another animal species their whole life that can't speak their language, can't become their mate, can't raise young with them, and can't even participate in their favorite activities (swimming, in the case of geese) that it's not something that's okay to do to a goose either. They are innately flock animals, just as chickens are and just as we humans are.

    And they DO stay in the vicinity of the chickens even if you have more than one. My tufted romans stay near to my chickens most of the time.
     
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