question for geese owners

Discussion in 'Geese' started by farmchick897, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. farmchick897

    farmchick897 Songster

    Jun 20, 2010
    I was thinking of getting a pair of geese because I heard they will weed your garden (a job I hate!) and won't bother the plants. Is this true? or just a nice story people like to tell you? [​IMG]
  2. goosedragon

    goosedragon Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    Central NC
    Quote:It is partly true, a lot depends what crops and weeds you have in your garden. I figure a goose is about as smart as a dog. Would a dog know what is a weed and what is a crop plant? Heck most non gardeners and kids don't know the difference. What a goose soon learns is what is tender and tastes good. Turn it loose on a weedy crop of greens and it will probably eat the tender greens and leave the weeds. Turn it into 3 foot high corn with young weeds coming up and it will clean up the tender weeds first and then start on your corn. So if you get it out of there before it starts on your corn it has weeded your garden for you. right? So on the right crop at the right time they can be good weeders.
    Weeder geese got their reputation on cotton, strawberries and tobacco field crops before there were herbicides. Once the cotton plant gets some size on them and the weeds are just starting a bunch of weeder geese will cleanout the young weeds better than you can with a hoe. Weeds start again in a couple of weeks? turn the geese loose! they love tender young plants. The same with strawberries, between the blossoms and the berrys when grass starts to show above the straw the geese will seek out and destroy the grass which otherwise you would pull by hand. Wait too long till the berries start to ripen and they will eat the fruit and poop pink. get them on too early and they will eat the blossoms. Tobacco the geese will usually taste it once, spit it out and go eat weeds. In a field you control where they work by moving their water pails. Weed for a while then go get a drink, they aren't clean weeders usually much cleaner near the buckets and weeds left farther away so you move the buckets to the weedy areas.
    I usually turned my geese loose in my rose gardens, because they got lots of water I always had a proplem with a sledge that is commonly called "nut grass" there is an underground bulb or 'nut' that is usually left behind when you try to pull it and it just spouts back from the nut. Well when my geese dug out the first nut they decided it was goose candy and they kept digging down on the grass untill they had the nuts, completely knocked that pest out of my garden. Did they sample my rose leaves? yep sure did and they like the buds and blossoms too. the trick is to get them out once they have eaten the weeds and before they do much damage to the bushes. I hope this helped.
  3. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    I've had good success with goslings in a small garden too. Mostly they eat the grasses and weeds because by the time I put them in the tomatoes and peppers were taller than they were. Actually, I didn't put them in. They were supposed to be grazing the lawn and saw me a distance away watering the garden. Of course me plus water was too much to resist so I was descended upon by a thundering herd of goslings. I panicked for a moment but was amazed to see them set straight to work on the weeds, leaving the veggies alone. I've spent quite a few days watering the garden and supervising them. I've only seen them sample tomato leaves twice and strawberry leaf once. They got too big and began trampling the soft stems of some veggies but it was nice while it lasted. Now I'm back to handpulling or hoeing out grasses.

    When they were small they got into a flower bed full of impatiens too, looking for sowbugs. They tramped quite a few stems, which then grew tiny plants all up and down the length of the original plant. My impatiens bed is very full now! I've had the same thing happen with begonias before, but it's not a technique I'd recommend on purpose. [​IMG]
  4. Tim K

    Tim K Songster

    Apr 16, 2009
    Central, Oklahoma
    [​IMG] My Sebastopols like green tomatos, thats not good [​IMG]
  5. Cottage Rose

    Cottage Rose Songster

    Jun 24, 2008
    Mid west Michigan
    I've found that geese prefer tender grass over anything.
    They might eat weeds if they're starving.
    They will also eat you tomatoes, green beans etc. if put them in a veggie garden.
    I have 5 goose pens that are taken over by weeds.
    What does that tell you?
    Best way to control weeds....
    hand weed then mulch VERY heavy with straw or wood chips annually.
  6. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    I reread my post and realized I should have been
    more specific. The "weeds" in my veggie garden, for the most part, ARE tender young grasses. So ymmv depending on what your weeds are. In yard, pasture, and garden, my geese eats about 90% or more grass and few weeds. Though the weeds at a house I used to live in were apparently goose favorites and they DID clear those out. Around here the goats already have most of the ground weeds where the geese are picked out. [​IMG]

    I just didn't want to be misleading.
  7. Kim65

    Kim65 Songster

    May 29, 2009
    Washington state
    It's partially a "nice story" [​IMG] . The stuff YOU like to eat in the garden is also yummy to geese. When the garden is "spent", the lettuce bolted, and you're sick of picking the last tidbits of everything, having geese in the garden is great. They'll eat broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower leaves, bolted lettuce and spinach, and the tomatoes you don't feel like rescuing. They will ignore the young tender grasses in favor of the veggie leaves or veggies themselves, just so you know.

    Just make the rows in your garden wide enough for the lawn mower [​IMG] to go down them, viola! A weeded garden.

    Cotton patch geese were used on the plantations for weeding but dang, cotton isn't an edible plant. Of course they left the cotton alone.

    When my geese were babies (my first flock) I'd take them out to the lettuce patch for "breakfast". They couldn't eat much. I left the gate open behind me one day as I went back for a forgotten tool. When I came back, they were in the garden and in a strange ecstasy, demolishing several lettuce plants before I arrived and then eating a brussels sprout plant from the top to the bottom, brussels sprouts and all. It was such a sight I stood and watched them take the plant down to a nub before I tried to get them out. Now THAT was an interesting adventure, too. Try to get ten ffifteen pound geese in a feeding frenzy out of a raised bed garden.
  8. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    My geese like lettuce. I also feed them weeds. It's a nice story, I think, as they'll eat whatever suits them.
  9. noahsgeese

    noahsgeese Border Collie

    Nov 30, 2009
    My geese don't eat much weeds... They would prefer bread or lettuce or something like that!
  10. adrian

    adrian Songster

    May 12, 2009
    Regina, SK
    It's funny, because once I had a goose that would literally ignore vegetables, grass, and pretty much anything else, in favor of weeds. She would go from weed to weed through the garden. Of course, she liked the young ones the best, but that was okay - most were young, as we pulled a lot of them ourselves. But we'd pull once, and she'd take care of whatever popped up afterwards.

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