Bad Poultry Day - Dead goose :(


8 Years
Aug 8, 2011
hey there,
looking for ideas on what might have happened here.

I've bought 4 4-month old brown chinese geese about a month ago. they were essentially fully feathered and near adult size. they've been doing great, active, beautiful, eating well, taking pre-flight runs down the driveway... and tonight I get home to find the largest of them dead.

he was layed on his chest, both legs out behind him, neck flipped back and head throat up and under the back edge of one wing closest to the body. he was in the middle of the area where they normally do their flight test running. he was still warm, not stiffened up yet, and I checked him over and found no wounds, no marks, no blood, no indcations of illness, no indication of missing feathers or broken bones, and the only odd thing was a small bit of yellow crustiness below the eye that was on the downhill side. the yellow crusty looked like it might be post mortem drainage, the eyes & lids were not inflamed or discolored, and aside from starting to frost over, they looked normal.

Feed-wise, they are getting some scratch, some game bird crumbles, access to a small pond (ok, a water tank) 24/7, and 24/7 access to pasture. I just switched from layer crumbles to game bird crumbles about a week ago, mostly because I've got some chickens and turkeys that need a bit of weight, and they all feed together. The geese don't seem to partake of that much of the feed, eating some and then going off to graze before the feed dish is empty. we have ducks, turkeys, chickens, guineas and geese, they free range together, as well as goats, dogs, cats.

the geese normally run the same area he was found in, usually 20 or 30 yards of running and flapping. This was a big (weighed a LOT!) healthy bird, and I've got no idea what went wrong here. could he have had a pre-flight heart attack? other thoughts? the whole flock looked perfect and healthy this morning, and the rest still look that way tonight.

any ideas?
thank you, it's sad and I'm bummed. and cross because I don't know what happened so I can't keep it from happening again.

I suppose it's possible he broke his neck, but they've such long flexible necks I wouldn't expect it. has anyone seen this happen?

the only neck issues I've seen in perhaps 6 years of geese is if they get their head stuck through something and fight to get free but can't... they they can injure their necks, or stretch, twist or separate the vertibrae... kinda like whiplash but the inflamation damages the spinal cord or base of the brain. usually that would show signs of struggle, but I didn't see any of that, and he wasn't even close to any fencing.

thanks for your kind words.
Awww...what an terrible thing to come home to. So sorry. My daughter has a young Roman Crested goose that she just adores. Long time ago, when I was a teenager, we had a flock of Touloose and Embden geese, and one died because she'd drank from a puddle that my dad had spilled a little bit of mineral spirits into while doing a project. She drank from it, but none of the rest of the flock did. Her mate grieved and grieved - it was very sad. Death from poison doesn't leave any obvious signs. I also had three lovely hens die about six months ago, after they ate some fire ant poison I thoughtlessly sprinkled on a mound. It took me a couple days to retrace my steps and realize what happened.

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