Outcast Gander (Goose behavior questions)


Chickens.....are my ONE weakness!
11 Years
Mar 5, 2008
Southern New Mexico
We have 9 geese, 7 africans and 2 toulouse all are girls except for 3 africans.

One of the ganders was the head honcho until this past week, when it seems that the others have cast him out of the group and run him off. He stays off by himself whether they are freeranging or in the pen for the night. Sometimes the two toulouse girls hang with him. They are just real laid back.

He has taken to hanging around the back door, which is usually open. We have a screen door that is part glass. He honks and honks when he sees me. I went out to him today and he chirruped at me for along time and put his head down low scraping his beak on each side.

He didn't really seem aggressive, though he did nibble my feet and tried to grab my dress. I didn't hang around to see if he was friend or foe, cause they are big now and I didn't want to see if being bit hurt as much as I think it does!

Do we need to do anything for this guy or will they all work it out? Will he be able to go back into the flock (or would it be gaggle?) or will he always be an outcast?

Has he decided that we will make a good new flock for him? All of the geese do a mock aggressive stance with my husband and kids, never serious just a lot of noise. They don't do it with me, unless I grab one to examine a foot or something and then everyone gets upset.

This is our first time with geese and we know squat about them and I have found a lot of breed descriptions online but no real info about behavior.

Any advice or links to info would be greatly appreciated.


Maybe he is sick?
DuckyBoys, I don't think he is sick. He doesn't act like it. He is eating fine, and appears healthy. Eyes are bright. Poops are normal.

He has been trying to buddy up with some of the ducks who are a tad afraid of him because when he ruled the coop he picked on them!

So now that he is a social pariah he wants to be their "friend". So many life lessons to be learned from the barnyard! LOL

Thanks for posting!

My gander is basically evil. Mostly just goosey instinct and evilness. I love him. He will nibble clothes, and toes (ow), and will bite at you if you pet him, but it doesn't really hurt. If he gets all low, and puts out his arms, and gets hisssssssy, then the bites will hurt, and can bruise for weeks. I think your goose is trying to make friends, and you should let him. Geese can be so cute, but really are basically evil. just expect your goose to act like a goose, and appreciate it.
If he was ousted by another gander then he may not go back to the group. Have you tried penning him up with the laid back Toulouse for a week, then letting everyone range again? That will either get everyone back together or it'll form two groups of geese. If it forms two groups then lock them all up together for a week and see what happens.

If he's being friendly to you then be friendly back. I wouldn't worry about him biting - he'll give you warning in advance if he means business. Offer him a few treats and talk back to him. If he wants to make friends now then it will make things easier later on when he decides he has to be the knight in feathery armor to his ladies in the spring.
Can you more experienced goose people answer a couple of other questions for me?

Do I have too many ganders? Will they become aggressive and kill my chickens if they free range together? (During mating season?) They all get along now.

Is it better to find homes for the extra guys....I "think" I have three ganders, but you never know...it may be more! I also have three little drake "bachelors" do I need to and one really dominant pekin drake. (I have six female ducks.) Do I need to find homes for the extra guys? They don't even get in the ball park with the ladies.....just beat up a lot.

Do I need to do anything special for the geese during mating season? Exactly when is that season and how long does it last?

Also any book recommendations?

Thanks so much everyone who responded!

Geese are usually kept in pairs and trios. It's very unlikely that you have too many ganders. They get along just fine with everything else in the yard and won't kill your other birds.

You can easily sex adult geese, especially if you know how to sex rabbits. Flip the gander on his back and hold him upside down with his tail facing you and his head staring at your backside. Fumble around in the down for a bit until you find his vent and massage, tug and push until something pops out. If you see a spiny white spiral thing then you have a boy. It's large. You won't miss it. If nothing pops out you either didn't massage right or it's a girl.

Another option is putting out a tub of water in the spring and seeing who is on top of who. Go out and band the girl's leg and the boy's leg, then repeat the process each time you catch someone new in the act.

Your extra drakes you'll probably need to find homes for. Usually the extras will finally break off to form their own little flock. We had one batch that did that and two of the males paired up. Literally. Even when offered their own hens they snubbed them in favor of one another's company. It really drove home what exactly is and isn't "natural"

During mating season your geese will know what to do. It normally starts in late February, early March and ends around May. In January the males begin asserting who's boss of who and starts to woo the ladies, even if they're not quite interested in being charmed as of yet. You can put out tires with nesting material in or near them under some sort of shelter. Geese love using tires as nests (when they aren't busy loving hidden areas around the house...).

Holderread's Book of Geese is fantastic. There's also a pricy book from England called Domestic Geese. It's a large hardcover with tons of color pictures and information about everything you need to know about geese, including a decent section on behavior. I've read that book cover to cover (though not in order) a half dozen times.
Omniskies, Thanks for all of the info that you took the time to post. I appreciate your time.

I plan to get onto amazon and order both books this morning. (If the Brithish book is TOO pricey I may have wait on that one for my next paycheck! LOL)

I do love my geeser's and am glad that keeping all of them won't have the dire outcome that I was led to believe by a poster on another geese site.

Our three bachelor drakes have already formed a peaceable little group. As long as they are happy and not being too bullied, I think I'll keep them. I get so attached to my critters.

Two of them are perfectly content keeping company with one another with no evidence (yet) of "mating" behavior between them. The other fellow is still trying to steal a girlfriend from the dominant drake. I'm going to take a wait and see attitude with them.

David (the name the kids gave the outcast goose) comes every morning and sits on my stoop, honking, until I come out for a few minutes and he jibber-jabbers all of his troubles to me and I feed him snacks and commiserate, then he and his toulouses go off by themselves to graze and hang out.

I'm an information junkie so I'll be anxiously awaiting my books!

Thanks again!

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