Is a goose right for me?? Goose lovers, please help!

Discussion in 'Geese' started by heartofglass, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. heartofglass

    heartofglass New Egg

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    I don't currently have any geese or other outdoor birds, just two parrots who live indoors (obviously). I need a guard animal for my large, fenced yard which used to be used by local drug addicts to hide in and smoke meth and crack. I still find crack pipes in my yard when I get off work occasionally, and putting up a "no trespassing" sign does not seem to have helped much. I definitely do NOT want a dog, and a policeman who comes into my shop a lot was very encouraging about getting a goose. I don't live in a city, I just live in a town with a major drug problem, in Northern California, and I happened to buy a house that was vacant for 7 years until I purchased it, making it an attractive place for people to hang out unseen behind the tall fence. So, here are my questions regarding my situation:

    1) I'd like to get a goose that I can treat as a pet and bond with like my parrots, but one that will hopefully hiss at and scare off potential intruders. Most people I know do not want to mess with a ticked-off goose.

    2) Would it be cruel to have just one, even if it got lots of attention from me and my housemate?

    3) I guess it's good that the 9 random neighbor cats will be scared out of the yard (I love cats, but that's a lot of cat poop to deal with), but is it possible for a goose to get along with my own cats if I get it very young and introduce them to each other? My cats leave the parrots alone, and are a little afraid of them when they're out of their cages.

    4) Do geese eat snails and slugs at all, or are they strict vegetarians? I live in a very rainy climate and I'm overrun by snails.

    5) My yard is full of 70-something large raised beds set up sort of like a maze, with tile and moss pathways between them, and 13 dwarf fruit trees with nasturtiums planted underneath. There is no lawn. At all. Will the goose hate the fact that the yard is such a maze without any real pasture? (There are plenty of weeds, though).

    6) There are rare heirloom flowers, bulb flowers, and vegetables in most of the raised beds, and I let California poppies and columbine take over others. I'm lazy about weeding, so there's also grass and dandelions growing between flowers and veggies in most places. (I don't mulch, my garden is sort of an "explosion" of flowers). Will the goose really prefer the weeds to the flowers and veggies? (I grow mustard greens, kale, chard, beets, radishes, okra, fava beans, and squash, all surrounded by California poppies to confuse the snails).

    7) Would a goose eat the fallen leaves and fruit from my apple trees? My trees have scab disease, so it would be nice to have help disposing of all the mess from them, since they can't be composted.

    8) Do geese require a shelter with a roof? My neighborhood doesn't have any predators. Just cats (and dogs, but I don't think anyone is jumping my fence with their dogs in tow).

    9) Would/could a goose squeeze itself through openings in a wrought-iron fence? The front fence is ornate, antique Chicago wrought-iron and the house is a local landmark, so I don't want to do anything to uglify it. The rest of the fence is tall wooden planks with no openings, but the back, side, and front yards are all open to each other and it would be difficult to put in gates because of all the cement raised beds.

    Also, to alleviate any concerns, I do not have a homeowners association or anything like that. I live in the urban part of a fairly rural town, where several neighbors raise backyard chickens. My yard is a decent size, but no acreage, just a Victorian with its original double lot intact. Thanks for any advice!!! I like the idea of having a guard goose, and I love birds, just want to know if it's feasible. Sorry this is so long!
     
  2. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I may not be able to answer all your questions, and hopefully someone with longer experience than mine will chime in. here are my thoughts:

    1) I have no experience with making pets of my geese, most avoid being handled, but are calm once I catch them. there can be issues if they get too familiar with you, they can start to treat you like another goose and be agressive with you as well as strangers. I have not had issues with mine being agressive with me, but then I keep my "BIG goose" status and don't pet them... perhaps one of the pet geese folks can help you more here.

    2) you should get a pair for them to be happiest. two females, or a male and a female.

    3) possible for them to get along with cats, if by get along you mean "not try to kill each other". friends? probably not too likely. mutual respect? possible. geese terrorizing the cats? also possible. I've got barn cats and geese, they mostly don't interact even when they're going after the same treats. but then there's also turkeys, chickens, ducks, guineas... there's a lot of activity so I don't think the cats draw much attention from the geese.

    4) slugs and snails? I'd think they would, but I don't have them so I don't know. I do know ducks will eat them.

    5) geese won't mind the maze and the beds, but they may not stay on the walkways. how tall are your beds? also keep in mind they'll poop where they walk. they'll eat weeds, but they may also eat your flowers, so you'll want to make sure nothing in there is poisonous. and if you've got something you really want to protect that they find tasty, you'll have to fence it off. they'll dabble in your dirt some too, so they may make holes, especially if there are standing puddles.

    6) don't know what they'll prefer, depends on what's tasty [​IMG] ours really like grass... but then we don't have many flowers planted. in using geese as weeders, you have to let the non-weed plants get up in size a little bit to encourage them to go after the small tasty weeds. geese like young small corn plants and some other garden items. once the corn gets big, they'll ignore most of it in favor of the tender weeds. but as I said... what's tasty?

    7) fruit probably, but perhaps not till it starts to rot a bit. chickens are better designed for pecking a hole in an intact fruit. leaves? not so much... at least mine don't.

    8) if it's hot, they'll need shade. if it's freezing they'll need a place out of the wind. geese are pretty weatherproof. they need access to water, but it doesn't have to be a big pond, just something they can bath in.

    9) when they're small, yes. when full grown... well, how far apart are the pickets? my chinese geese are narrower than the small turkey you'd buy at the meat department, but wider than the biggest chicken you can buy.

    remember geese won't protect so much as alarm. some may be agressive, but mostly they're loud. some breeds are quieter than others... we keep chinese geese because they *ARE*VERY* loud when something new is happening in their space. but I don't expect them to defend the yard. maybe folks with other breeds can tell you what to expect from those.
     
  3. The goose girl

    The goose girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You need to get rid of all the crack pipes before entering geese - they'll try to eat anything, and I really don't think crack pipes are good for them.

    1) I'd like to get a goose that I can treat as a pet and bond with like my parrots, but one that will hopefully hiss at and scare off potential intruders. Most people I know do not want to mess with a ticked-off goose.

    I have a pet goose, and it usually scares strangers away. But it's not really acting hostile (not if you know geese), it's just greeting them in its own very loud, wing-flapping goose way. If people greet it back, it'll ignore them.

    2) Would it be cruel to have just one, even if it got lots of attention from me and my housemate?

    As I'm the owner of a solo goose, I'd have to say no. My goose has its very own daycare, though, a retired neighbor who looks after it when I'm at work or on vacation. The goose loves his place as well as mine, except it always wants to go home at night. Unless it can sleep over at his house - in the living room.

    3) I guess it's good that the 9 random neighbor cats will be scared out of the yard (I love cats, but that's a lot of cat poop to deal with), but is it possible for a goose to get along with my own cats if I get it very young and introduce them to each other? My cats leave the parrots alone, and are a little afraid of them when they're out of their cages.

    My goose generally tolerates my two cats. It will want to peck at them when they're sleeping in the yard, but one of the cats actually enjoys it, he probably thinks the goose is petting him, and he keeps bringing the goose treats like dead mice and rats. The goose hates strange cats and attacks them fiercely.

    4) Do geese eat snails and slugs at all, or are they strict vegetarians? I live in a very rainy climate and I'm overrun by snails.

    Geese are vegetarians and don't eat snails and slugs.

    5) My yard is full of 70-something large raised beds set up sort of like a maze, with tile and moss pathways between them, and 13 dwarf fruit trees with nasturtiums planted underneath. There is no lawn. At all. Will the goose hate the fact that the yard is such a maze without any real pasture? (There are plenty of weeds, though).

    Geese love grass, and they don't care how it's grown. I don't know the size of your yard, but I'm concerned there won't be enough for the goose to eat? My homemade estimate would be that you need about 3-400 square meters of grass per goose to keep it full and occupied. When it has cleaned off the edibles, it will start destroying everything else. And then of course it will need to be fed something else. Also, geese poop a lot, so the tile between the raised beds will quickly become very slippery.

    6) There are rare heirloom flowers, bulb flowers, and vegetables in most of the raised beds, and I let California poppies and columbine take over others. I'm lazy about weeding, so there's also grass and dandelions growing between flowers and veggies in most places. (I don't mulch, my garden is sort of an "explosion" of flowers). Will the goose really prefer the weeds to the flowers and veggies? (I grow mustard greens, kale, chard, beets, radishes, okra, fava beans, and squash, all surrounded by California poppies to confuse the snails).

    Geese eat what they like. I'm guessing they'll eat the grass and dandelions first, but when they're full, they'll chew anything. And they may decide they prefer your veggies over the dandelions.

    7) Would a goose eat the fallen leaves and fruit from my apple trees? My trees have scab disease, so it would be nice to have help disposing of all the mess from them, since they can't be composted.

    Fallen leaves, no. Fruit, maybe. Mine won't touch fruit, though, except the occasional pear, cut out in slices and handfed to the goose. Half-rotten fruit may harm the goose.

    8) Do geese require a shelter with a roof? My neighborhood doesn't have any predators. Just cats (and dogs, but I don't think anyone is jumping my fence with their dogs in tow).

    They need a shelter available although they probably won't use it much. When it's really hot they need the shade, and they'll also need to be able to seek shelter from a storm. They're usually not bothered by rain, but they like being able to dry off once in a while.

    9) Would/could a goose squeeze itself through openings in a wrought-iron fence? The front fence is ornate, antique Chicago wrought-iron and the house is a local landmark, so I don't want to do anything to uglify it. The rest of the fence is tall wooden planks with no openings, but the back, side, and front yards are all open to each other and it would be difficult to put in gates because of all the cement raised beds.

    It depends how wide those openings are. My goose needs something like 20-25 centimeters to squeeze through. I'm not too sure, though, as it usually doesn't want to go anywhere without me.

    As zzGypsy says, geese also need water to bathe in.​
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Sounds like a good dog would be a better solution. [​IMG]
     
  5. DUCKGIRL89

    DUCKGIRL89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I dont know ANYTHING about geese, but for that slug problem you might want to get two or three ducks for that [​IMG]
     
  6. birdboy15

    birdboy15 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your problem cant be solved by a goose. A good guard dog that lives outside and IS NOT a pet is your best option.
     
  7. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    1) I'd like to get a goose that I can treat as a pet and bond with like my parrots, but one that will hopefully hiss at and scare off potential intruders. Most people I know do not want to mess with a ticked-off goose. Geese can be aggressive to intruders but I personally don't believe they would scare anyone off

    2) Would it be cruel to have just one, even if it got lots of attention from me and my housemate? I kept a single goose for almost a year after her mate passed away. If you can give her lots of attention i think she will be ok

    3) I guess it's good that the 9 random neighbor cats will be scared out of the yard (I love cats, but that's a lot of cat poop to deal with), but is it possible for a goose to get along with my own cats if I get it very young and introduce them to each other? My cats leave the parrots alone, and are a little afraid of them when they're out of their cages. I would not introduce them at a young age. Once the goose is full grown cats should not be a predator problems and the goose will most likely ignore them.

    4) Do geese eat snails and slugs at all, or are they strict vegetarians? I live in a very rainy climate and I'm overrun by snails. My geese rarely eat insects. Ducks would be a much better option for that

    5) My yard is full of 70-something large raised beds set up sort of like a maze, with tile and moss pathways between them, and 13 dwarf fruit trees with nasturtiums planted underneath. There is no lawn. At all. Will the goose hate the fact that the yard is such a maze without any real pasture? (There are plenty of weeds, though). As long as they have weeds and space to run around they should be fine

    6) There are rare heirloom flowers, bulb flowers, and vegetables in most of the raised beds, and I let California poppies and columbine take over others. I'm lazy about weeding, so there's also grass and dandelions growing between flowers and veggies in most places. (I don't mulch, my garden is sort of an "explosion" of flowers). Will the goose really prefer the weeds to the flowers and veggies? (I grow mustard greens, kale, chard, beets, radishes, okra, fava beans, and squash, all surrounded by California poppies to confuse the snails). Geese usually prefer weeds but some will destroy a garden

    7) Would a goose eat the fallen leaves and fruit from my apple trees? My trees have scab disease, so it would be nice to have help disposing of all the mess from them, since they can't be composted. If the leaves are diseased I'm not sure letting the goose eat it would be the best idea.

    8) Do geese require a shelter with a roof? My neighborhood doesn't have any predators. Just cats (and dogs, but I don't think anyone is jumping my fence with their dogs in tow). Yes and yes your neighborhood has predators. Hawks are an issue when younger. Stray dogs, Raccoons,Owls, Possums, and many more can harm your goose.

    9) Would/could a goose squeeze itself through openings in a wrought-iron fence? The front fence is ornate, antique Chicago wrought-iron and the house is a local landmark, so I don't want to do anything to uglify it. The rest of the fence is tall wooden planks with no openings, but the back, side, and front yards are all open to each other and it would be difficult to put in gates because of all the cement raised beds. I've seen my goose squeeze through one when he was younger so yes it is possible depending on the breed.
     
  8. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    I also think a guard dog would be your best option or else you may end up with a crack head goose or someone's dinner in that area.
     
  9. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not a goose owner, but I have some experience with geese. I don't think I would rely on them to attack intruders. If someone's determined to get into your yard, they will get in despite the geese. The louder breeds will definitely sound the alarm, but if any of these intruders are not scared of geese, the geese could get hurt. It may scare the average person who doesn't know geese that well away, though, for a short time.
     
  10. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Geese will eat fruit drops, but they will not touch your slugs. They will also eat weeds and vegetables, especially your brassicas and mustards, which they love.

    I would not keep a single goose, though some people do. I would opt for a small flock of 9-12 of a lighter, noisier and more aggressive breed like Chinese. I met a man once who told me in Korea they used flocks of Chinese geese to keep the runways mowed and to alert them of enemy.

    Geese are more noise then anything, but they can be extremely aggressive. Though a single dog might be scarier then a flock of geese . . . anyway, good luck!
     

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