Need help figuring out goose/duck co-housing for nighttime

Discussion in 'Geese' started by lceh, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. lceh

    lceh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    We've raised and shown chickens and ducks for many years so I am pretty thoroughly acquainted with their needs, but I have just been offered a pair of Sebastopol geese. I have wanted a couple of Sebbies forever and I can't pass this up! Now, however, I need to figure out how they are going to fit into our current poultry setup.

    Our poultry (ducks and large fowl chickens) free range during the day in a 1 1/2 acre fenced field with high-tensile electric predator fence. They are all locked up securely every night. We are obsessive about locking up in HOUSES, not pens, every single night. So far we have had no predator losses in 4 1/2 years, other than hawks. The ducks go into the 10 x 10 duck house and the large fowl chickens have their own separate coop (the bantams are kept in moveable tractors as hawk protection). They all do fine locked in their houses at dusk with no feed/water overnight. These geese are apparently socialized with ducks so my plan is to bring them into the duck house at night but partition them off into their own corner with a play yard at first, until they get to know our ducks better. I've introduced new ducks into the flock this way and it's worked fine. After a week or so I take out the play yard and they all find their own spots.

    I am wondering, though, if once breeding season begins the geese will try to hatch eggs in the duck house and make it too stressful for my kids to go in to collect the duck eggs. Do geese typically build their nests where they sleep at night?

    My other option is a very large dog house that I could repurpose into separate nighttime shelter for the geese if I needed to, but I'm wondering how easy it would be to convince them to go in and let the door be latched shut every night. I can pretty easily add ventilation and a locking door. Would that be better for them than just bunking with the ducks? If I can avoid adding yet another house to lock up at night it would be great (we already have 2 large coops and 3-4 small ones to close/open every day), but if the geese would be happier alone maybe that's the best option. If they are locked in at night, would they likely choose to nest there as well during breeding season? If they try to nest under a bush or something I won't be able to let them sit out overnight on eggs.

    Any advice from experienced goose owners is welcome!
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I'm going to say from my own experience your better off giving the geese their own house, come breeding season you really don't want your kids going out to look for eggs and have to face an aggressive gander. They are very protective of their nest and mate during breeding season. Once mating season is over teach your kids how to handle an aggressive gander if they are old enough and you too because it's very important that you don't ever let the gander think he is higher on the totem pole that you or your kids are. We have a great thread about training your geese[gander] here on BYC if your interested.forgot to say yes m goose makes her nest in their house.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/561849/geese-training
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
  3. lceh

    lceh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Thanks Miss Lydia, that helps! I will certainly read that thread. This is an older pair being re-homed because the gander is too meek and tends to get beat up a lot. The owner knows I have kids and assures me that he is very mellow - but during breeding seasons I know enough about geese to know all bets are off!

    My gut tells me they would be better in their own house, like you say. It's a very big dog house and would be fine for them sizewise. But do you think they would let me -- or the kids -- reach down to shut a door and lock them in at night? It's a vulnerable position for sure! Or should we just let them come in and out of it at will and trust the electric fence to protect them at night? We ALWAYS lock our other birds in houses at night, but we do have an electric predator fence around the whole field. I've just never trusted that it's enough, plus we have owls. But maybe it's a better course than trying to lock them in. I'm not in a position right now to buy/build another pen for them and I'm not sure it would offer more protection than the electric anyway. What do you think?
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I think you should be able to lock their door. When my gander is being unreasonable I have a long bamboo pole I carry to keep him off of me I just put it between him and me and he attacks it instead, works especially well when I am closing the door at night and he wants to stick his head out and try to get me, I just reach the pole in the house and he is preoccupied with it till I get the door just about closed then pull the stick out. I wouldn't trust a fence even a good predator one with hungry preds just waiting for a chance.
    When my grandkids were young I never left them out with the gander by themselves, they are teens now and know how to act around them this year my gander was in love with my grand daughter. I know he has his mellow times and during breeding season isn't one of them. lol He was raised with Muscovy's for his first 5 yrs and now he doesn't want them any where near him or his family. Once breeding season is past they are entirely different animals.
     

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