Grazing Geese?

Finny

Songster
6 Years
Jan 5, 2014
838
76
128
I have read that grazing makes up most of geese's diets. When geese graze do they tear up the yard? I am thinking of only getting two. Will two do a lot of damage?
 

The goose girl

Songster
9 Years
Jul 7, 2010
913
340
232
Denmark
Geese usually don't tear up the grass, they just graze. None of my geese have ever done any sort of damage to the lawn, and as long as there's plenty of fresh, tender, green grass, they don't do much else.

But geese are curious birds, and especially while they're young - or during the winter when there's not much grazing - they'll investigate, explore, and keep themselves occupied with other things in the yard. In my yard they've destroyed lots of solar lamps, either by chewing the wire or by "uprooting" the lamps and dumping them in the pond. One pair found a small knot hole in the siding of my house and started expanding it. Another pair destroyed all my sempervivums. My first pair ate all my strawberries.

I don't consider these things damage; it's just one of the charms of having geese. If there's anything in the yard I really want to keep safe from geese, I goose-proof it with a fence.

But even with up to two geese in a relatively small yard with lots of flower beds and decorations, my yard is generally very nice-looking.
 

goose4

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 16, 2012
191
10
91
Up North MN
Last summer we had 3 baby white Chinese geese that we refered to as the minions. They would do things like stealing the gnome from the gnome garden. Tools left laying out were not safe either. I wonder how they will be this year now that they are a year old.
 

Finny

Songster
6 Years
Jan 5, 2014
838
76
128
Thanks for your responses :). I am glad to hear they don't rip up the grass. Geese sound like so much fun I can deal with little mischief ;)
 

Starfire669

Songster
5 Years
Mar 31, 2014
2,767
109
178
San Antonio, Texas
Goslings are very sweet and fun. I got my first batch this year and I am addicted! Get them a plastic kiddie pool and they will make you smile with their antics.
 

Finny

Songster
6 Years
Jan 5, 2014
838
76
128
Are geese vulnerable to hawks? If grass is a main part of their diet I would have to let them free range but I am worried about hawks. I have lost two ducks to hawks already :(
 

Starfire669

Songster
5 Years
Mar 31, 2014
2,767
109
178
San Antonio, Texas
Are geese vulnerable to hawks? If grass is a main part of their diet I would have to let them free range but I am worried about hawks. I have lost two ducks to hawks already :(

Yes geese are vulnerable to hawks, and other flying predators. Especially goslings who are smaller and easier to carry off. You could put them in a covered penor even a dog kennel as long as they have some shade and water.
 

DurhamDuck

Songster
8 Years
Mar 26, 2011
413
15
121
Durham, Connecticut
Have you considered a large "chicken tractor"? That way you could control where the geese graze and have a roof above their heads.

Geese are also less vulnerable to hawks then ducks, and in fact are good guardians of ducks due to their size and noisiness. Hawks come and observe our ducks and geese but have never touched them. That's not to say predator attacks don't happen however. Try hawk deterrents. Take some old scratched CDs, computer discs for out-dated programs, or video game discs and string them tightly from one tree to another, so that the disc lies almost flat horizontally. The shining light will hurt the hawks' sensitive eyes and frighten them. I haven't tried it, but it seems like it would work.
 

Finny

Songster
6 Years
Jan 5, 2014
838
76
128
I do have predator tape that I hung up around where the ducks hang out. I works if its sunny or windy but not if its cloudy. A hawk killed one of my ducks under a piece of it on a cloudy day.

I have heard of those chicken tractors. They sound like a good idea. Is it possible to make one or would I have to buy one? Where could I buy one? I have never seen one at my local Agway.
 

DurhamDuck

Songster
8 Years
Mar 26, 2011
413
15
121
Durham, Connecticut
Quote: I have seen very small ones for sale in my area, only suitable for young chicks or other baby fowl. I think regular ones are too big and cumbersome to keep at a store. You may be able to buy some online, I think, but they are probably on the expensive side. It is definitely possible to build one, though I've never done it. Look around online. Try searching "DIY chicken tractor" or maybe "how to build a chicken tractor". It should be heavy enough that the birds can't scoot under it, but light enough that you can move it every day.

Here's a link that might help. It's designed to hold many broiler chickens, so the size won't be right, but it'll give you an idea of materials needed.

http://www.grit.com/departments/how-to-build-a-chicken-tractor-zm0z12ndzgou.aspx?PageId=1

If that link doesn't work (not sure if I did it right,) just search for "GRIT magazine chicken tractor" and click on the article from grit.com.

PS- In answer to the original question about tearing up grass, it depends on the breed. African or Chinese geese (Descended from the "swan goose" species) are more likely to rip up grass from the earth. Other geese (Descended from the greylag goose) don't do that. My geese were purchased as "American" but they have small knobs on the bills and their coloring is slightly off, so I suspect some African blood in there. They do rip up the grass some, but not too bad.

Also, sorry about your duck. If you have crows in your area, throw out some food scraps to them. They chase hawks away, and just their presence alone seems to intimidate them. I give them old fruit and any eggs that the ducks managed to crack. (Just make sure the crows eat it and not raccoons, possums, etc). Also don't do this if you're planning on ducklings or goslings, as I've heard crows will go after them.

Hope all this helped.
 
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