gosling drinking too much


5 Years
Jul 9, 2015
Southern Oregon Coast
My 9 week old Toulouse gosling has gotten so she is drinking constantly but barely eating. She has been drinking so much that rarely are there solids in her poo - just clear water. Even my 4 month old goose seems worried. She has never been much about staying with the other goose and 3 ducks, but lately likes to swim in the wading tub or lay in the sun more than she used to. I'm used to the other goose who can't keep her bill off of anything and even if laying down will reach about and pick at things. Last time I bought food (a week ago) I got pellets. They have not been popular with anyone, duck, geese, or chickens alike. I'm not sure if it is the brand, the fact that they are pellets, or the type. They smell and look fine but perhaps are a little bit dusy with grain dust. They are Nutrena Naturewise Layer pellets (16%). I was trying to get some more calcium into my laying ducks and thought the layer food would be fine for everyone. The last bag was Nutrena Naturewise All Flock crumbles (18%) and they all ate it fine. They also have scratch, koi food, and dried mealworms mixed together as a treat that I scatter all over the yard for them to hunt for. I've noticed that the geese are not as enthusiastic as the ducks about the mealworms. Should I get a small bag of chick starter for the gosling, or a large bag of flock food of some type? I don't think the feed store has any type of game bird food. I'm worried. I've really grown quite attached to her, as has the older gosling. I'm afraid that if she dies we both will be broken hearted. Please does anyone have an idea of what to get her to eat? And what should I NOT feed that might make it worse?
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I have no clue about why she's drinking so much but since she is so young she cannot be on layer food. Depending on how long she's been on it that may be the issue. Talk to your local feed store or farm store, she needs something more appropriate with her age. Also if there are other geese or birds who are non laying they CANNOT be on laying food. You will need food compatible with geese and what other waterfowl you may have. Supplement oyster shells or egg shells to the layers for the extra calcium they need. Does your gosling have any other concerning symptoms?
My gosling is a special needs child. She was born with a severe kink in her spine where it meets her body (surprising enough, it has become straighter side-to-side as she has grown although top-to-bottom is still noticeable) she has a neuro problem where her tail often kinks hard one direction or the other, usually the direction she is looking or reaching. Eventually she wags it or walks straight and it becomes inline with her body again. She is also near blind, or at least very far sighted. I don't know if it is because she has large lower lids that are usually at half way or closed or the eyes themselves. She can't look at something and watch where she is going so she is very easy to catch if she is herded into a tight area. I don't know if there is such a thing as an eyelid tuck to reduce the excess on her lower lids. So yes, she has some existing conditions that haven't really affected her lifestyle as it is, she doesn't know she is handicapped.

The reason I went back to laying feed is that after months of continuous oyster shell availability my duck hen's eggs are still thin. She is only about 14 months and has only skipped about 9 eggs since she started laying at 4 mos. Prior to 3 mos ago I nearly needed a chisel to break into them. Her daughter just started laying as well (also at 4 mos) and I want to bolster their calcium in some way before the daughter's eggs show any signs of problems. I'm at a loss as to what else I can do and the ladies are free range along with the boys and the geese.

I'm on my way to get some flock raiser then. I think that probably crumbles are better than pellets for the young goose.

Well, the crumbled flock starter (Purina) has held a lot more interest for everyone including my young goose. I observed her eating what I consider a passing amount of it, standing at the bowl and leisurely dipping her head to it. The leavings were still clear and watery, but there was material in them. She also didn't constantly stand at the waterer and drink. The waterer inside their night pen is a nipple waterer and it is within an arm's length of my bed so I really notice if someone is drinking from it. (licky-licky, licky-licky) The problem was that the food pretty much looked the same way coming out as it did going in. I've only just a few days ago started putting the grit into dishes so she might not have found it yet. Today it is raining which means the dishes will fill up - which is why it was on the ground to begin with. There are a few spots that I can put the grit in containers and place under cover. I think that will be today's project. A person I met and I shared our poultry stories (a total stranger mind you - funny how I have found like minded people since admitting my addiction) said that I should mix the oyster shell and grit together to save space and make sure that the girls get their calcium. Either way I still need to get some grit down the gosling. For now I put a handful of grit on top of a large pan of crumbles plus a handful of scratch and mixed it in. I hope that she will get enough grit this way. I wasn't sure what the ratio should be.

Everybody gets two handfuls of scratch, two handfuls of koi food, and a small scoop of dried mealworms mixed together and shared between 7-10 birds each day. It is scattered across the different day areas so that they have to search for it to have it. The young goose (Tillie is her name BTW) doesn't often find it, and if so most likely the koi food as it is larger. The geese don't seem to care much for the mealworms.

I'm encouraged. I wonder if I should have gotten pellets but I figured that the crumbles would be more easily eaten and digested.
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Well hopefully she gets better soon, maybe she didn't know where the food was? I'm not sure. I wouldn't worry to much about her as long as she doesn't loose any weight. Do they have access to a pond or pool? Also they should be fine for grit as long as they have outside access when eating then they'll eat as much as they need. They crumbles seem like a better option for her I hope she gets better soon.
My goslings are growing like weeds but they just don't eat that much of the crumbles. They prefer the pasture. Wild geese don't have access to crumbles anyway so I am not worried.
Geese don't eat much of anything except for the things they forage for, I can't believe I forgot that! I did so much research on Geese when we were expecting to get one. You seem to be a very good momma Goose to them I'm sure she'll be just fine. She's much younger then your full grown goose so in comparison she must have very little to eat.
I worried because there was NO poo, only water. My other goose eats anything green and rarely has a watery poo, just packed green pellets of sorts. She doesn't drink as much either. As for water, they have pans that are just deep enough that if they pull their feet up they can float. There is a trough too, but if they can't figure out how to get in it (up the steps) then I don't worry that they don't. Khaki Campbell ducks aren't as needy about swim water and plenty happy with the pans. The geese seem to be too. The gosling spends hours just kinda floating and paddling in the pan.
The good news is that she's not acting sickly or lethargic but like a normal gosling by the sound of it. She may be being bullied out of eating by other birds who are protective of their bowls. You could try putting more bowls out there. Do they have access to free-range or have a lot of green space because she may just be trying to figure out what she's supposed to be eating. Geese don't eat much feed anyways so maybe she's just going through an awkward stage. I wouldn't worry unless you notice a change of behavior. Maybe try hand feeding her and seeing if she accepts it, the older goose should be showing her how to forage.
It's amazing how much the older one keeps track of her. If the ducks approach or act like they are pressuring her, the older goose (Maggie) simply moves closer and in-between and the ducks back away. The whole time they are grazing they talk to each other, they can be clear across the yard but still they talk, almost too quiet to hear. COOS COOS, coos coos, COOS COOS, coos coos, all the while nibbling happily. Well, that is what ideally happens. There is still plenty to eat but perhaps it isn't as obvious to the younger goose as the summer continues and the grassy hummocks dry out. As for the ducks, they pretty much each different things than the geese. They look under the grass and leaves for worms and bugs (I have learned that geese simply do not care for the bugs, worms, and snails the way the ducks do) The ducks beg for dried meal worms, the geese can't figure out what the fuss is about. It could be that the younger goose hasn't discovered what more to eat since the seed head have been cleaned off of the tall grass.

The whole area that is fenced is about 50'x50' for the back area. Half is hummocks of tall, rough field grass with the tallest having seed heads. I used to bend it over for the geese to eat but they are perfectly able to bend the stems down to eat the heads. The rest of the tall part is a thick, large leaf grass that has been trimmed about 8" tall. The two older ducks, the one who is my principle layer and her mate (they love each other dearly) have their own 16'x20' mostly grass area that they have exclusive use during the day and share half of it with the geese at night, although both geese have been in the house at night since this started. The chickens go where the chickens go. They all can readily fly out of the 6' night area fence and once it became clear they would stay in the yard and come back at night I stopped worrying as much. Two are show chickens that are penned up at night and when it rains. I have another strip 10'x50' that isn't fenced that will be included with the duck yard when I can get the poles and wire. I also take the older ducks out to the front yard for attended foraging, the geese have gone separately a few times as well. I still haven't taken the three duck children out and haven't successful mixed them with their parents. The father tries to do x-rated things to his children and the geese, and one of the young drakes tries the same with his mother. The hysteria and potential for injury isn't worth trying and more. I'm not sure how they would be when I'm watching them as a loose flock in the front yard. I could take the two geese and three young ducks I think. So that adds more to the area they have now. About half of their existing yard is the short cushioned grass that grows after ducks and geese have been after it a while. I water the two main areas about once or twice a week if it hasn't been raining.

Today the young goose has been eating more when she is penned in at night and seems to be drinking less. Her poos are watery but about half green grass color or tan like the crumbles. The no longer look like clear water. They are not yet the firm green stools the other goose has. When I have put everyone in at night and pick up the dishes which with the pellets had been full enough to need to be picked up (rodent control) they have been empty. So perhaps it was the feed after all. Now, what does one do with nearly 50 pounds of feed that doesn't temp the rats? I can't put it in the compost pile or they will be all over it.

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