Baby goslings, care and questions

Starfire669

Songster
5 Years
Mar 31, 2014
2,767
109
178
San Antonio, Texas
I decided to start this tread because a lot of people are asking what's wrong with my gosling. I know this question has been answered many times but I hope that by making a tread for it people can find it easier. I also hope that people with a lot more experience than me will chime in and help out.

To start I am new to geese, my eldest 2 geese are 8 weeks old today, I also have 2 4 week old geese and 2 3 week olds. Several weeks ago I lost a gosling, she started off with an impacted crop, we cleared that up after a few hours and got her bowls moving again but she did not improve. She could not stand, her legs were too weak to support her, that was caused by a niacin defiency. But what killed her was the seizures, her neck started to pull back and under her body and her jaw muscles locked up. She was unable to eat or drink because of it and died in a few hours. I found out that my feed store had switch my feed from non-medicated feed to medicated feed, and my baby died from poisoning and niacin deficiency combined.

So if your gosling can't walk, it most likely needs niacin, feed it Brewer's yeast, young grass and romaine lettuce. Don't forget to have grit available, free choice if feeding greens. You will see improvement quickly. (if adding Brewer's yeast only add for a few days) This is not to be confused with splayed legs, that is caused by slippery surfaces such as newspaper being used as their bedding.

If your gosling is seizing up, make sure it has not eaten anything poisonous, check your feed to make sure it is non-medicated.

If your goslings are grazing each other, causing bald spots, get them outside they are bored and need to nibble grass not each other.

if their eyes are dirty, give them a bucket or pool to dip their heads in for cleaning. Not only do geese love swimming, but we love watching their antics in the water so giving them a pool can be enjoyable for both parties. Just make sure to keep watch over swimming goslings under 3 weeks old, their oil gland isn't working yet and they can drown and will chill fast. Dry them off with a towel after their pool time.

If your gosling doesn't seem to be thriving, but doesn't have a noticeable problem, check your feed. Chicken starter is not good for goslings. Waterfowl feed is best. If you are like me, you can't find it, try looking for Flockraiser. If that too fails, try game bird feed, I am feeding Blubonnet game bird feed and have seen an amazing difference since I took them off the turkey starter.

Does your gosling have a hard ball at its neck/chest area? It may have an impacted crop, make sure the gosling is drinking, if it is not, syringe a few mL of water down it hourly. Message the crop gently, and see if that helps losen the impaction. You can also attempt to message the mass up the throat and out, but I was told, if done incorrectly can cause fluid to get into the lungs.

I know there are more issues goslings can run into, my hope is that more experienced goose keepers will join and add to this.
 
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RareDuck

Chirping
6 Years
Jun 30, 2013
141
18
71
According to Storeys Guide to Raising Poultry insufficient or imbalance of calcium,vitamin D, or phosphorus can cause rickets. Symptoms are weak birds with stiff or swollen joints, soft beaks, and soft leg bones. Slipped tendon is a leg weakness usually caused by a deficiency of manganese. Choline, niacin, and biotin deficiency may also have a part in it. The shank and foot remain flexed and extend laterally from the body and there is flattening and enlargement of the hocks. Vitamin E deficiency causes staggering, incoordination and paralysis. Curled toe paralysis is caused by a deficiency of riboflavin. Vitamin A deficiency may cause pustules to develop in the mouth, esophagus and crop and cause death.
 

KenyannaDyer

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 20, 2014
26
2
24
This was very informative. Thank you.

I do have a question though. Chicken starter feed is not good for goose babies? I've had my geese for two days now (they just hatched) and I bought chicken starter feed from tractor supply. Is this going to hurt them?
 

Starfire669

Songster
5 Years
Mar 31, 2014
2,767
109
178
San Antonio, Texas
This was very informative. Thank you.

I do have a question though. Chicken starter feed is not good for goose babies? I've had my geese for two days now (they just hatched) and I bought chicken starter feed from tractor supply. Is this going to hurt them?
If the chicken starter is medicated, yes it can cause illness in goslings. If the feed is non-medicated just add some dried Brewer's Yeast (for niacin) to either their water or feed. its found easily at GNC, just don't get the time release stuff.

I fed my goslings medicated turkey crumble and she died from poisoning and niacin deficiency combined.
 

livininbrazil

Songster
7 Years
Dec 17, 2012
4,357
192
238
São Paulo State, Brazil.
According to Storeys Guide to Raising Poultry insufficient or imbalance of calcium,vitamin D, or phosphorus can cause rickets. Symptoms are weak birds with stiff or swollen joints, soft beaks, and soft leg bones. Slipped tendon is a leg weakness usually caused by a deficiency of manganese. Choline, niacin, and biotin deficiency may also have a part in it. The shank and foot remain flexed and extend laterally from the body and there is flattening and enlargement of the hocks. Vitamin E deficiency causes staggering, incoordination and paralysis. Curled toe paralysis is caused by a deficiency of riboflavin. Vitamin A deficiency may cause pustules to develop in the mouth, esophagus and crop and cause death.
Well there´s a frightening list! The most common problem does seem to be niacin deficiency, though. I have a really goose book that has a terrifying list of ailments!
 

livininbrazil

Songster
7 Years
Dec 17, 2012
4,357
192
238
São Paulo State, Brazil.
If the chicken starter is medicated, yes it can cause illness in goslings. If the feed is non-medicated just add some dried Brewer's Yeast (for niacin) to either their water or feed. its found easily at GNC, just don't get the time release stuff.

I fed my goslings medicated turkey crumble and she died from poisoning and niacin deficiency combined.
Nice summary Starfire, very useful tips. one to add: geese need to be able to put their heads in water to clean their nares, so it´s always good to have water deep enough for them to do this, even tiny gozzies. They just love it.
Where I live there is only chick crumb....whatever type of young poultry you have. But it´s non-medicated, so I just add a bit of Brewer´s Yeast now and again. Just to emphasize, they should get much more grass and greens than crumb, though.
 

Starfire669

Songster
5 Years
Mar 31, 2014
2,767
109
178
San Antonio, Texas
Nice summary Starfire, very useful tips. one to add: geese need to be able to put their heads in water to clean their nares, so it´s always good to have water deep enough for them to do this, even tiny gozzies. They just love it.
Where I live there is only chick crumb....whatever type of young poultry you have. But it´s non-medicated, so I just add a bit of Brewer´s Yeast now and again. Just to emphasize, they should get much more grass and greens than crumb, though.
Thanks, I just wanted to help other people avoid the mistakes I and others have made raising goslings. I hope that more people like yourself, Utah, Serv, and 8 to name a few join and help other new gosling parents.
 

livininbrazil

Songster
7 Years
Dec 17, 2012
4,357
192
238
São Paulo State, Brazil.
Thanks, I just wanted to help other people avoid the mistakes I and others have made raising goslings. I hope that more people like yourself, Utah, Serv, and 8 to name a few join and help other new gosling parents.
We do. There are always new threads with the same probs, more or less...and we all learn bit by bit. None of us knows it all, but between us we share what we´ve learned. Like you´re doing now. We love geese after all!!!!
 

RURU

Songster
8 Years
Jan 25, 2011
2,411
142
203
Troy, Missouri
My Coop
My Coop
Sometimes we have goslings way before the grass is in so for those of you who do not have grass to cut or it is too cold outside for the goslings. I feed cut up romaine lettuce and the newly hatched goslings love it, but remember they need chick grit not adult grit. Goslings as stated need waterfowl crumble or gamebird crumbles. But most of all they need grass, dandelion greens, clover and need to graze for best results. They only need the waterfowl crumbles or gamebird crumbles for the first 3 weeks of their life then you should change over to adult maintenance feed. Yes, you can feed the maintenance diet for evening put the geese up feed. Just do not make it a main diet make the grass grazing their main diet.
This is to prevent too much protein to cause angel wing. Just remember that geese are vegie eaters and can be offered other greens and even certain fruits but just as treats not as all the time food. Do not give spinach too much iron in it for them.
 
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