What can I feed geese to help w/ cold temps? Suet? Suggestions, please : )

Discussion in 'Geese' started by lovedbygeese, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. lovedbygeese

    lovedbygeese In the Brooder

    Jul 31, 2014
    Background: I've been adopted into a family of geese at a local park and we've been a family for maybe 5 or 6 years. One of the 4 geese was lost to a coyote over the summer, so now it's two brothers and their sister. One gander is kind of the goose king, the other the supreme guardian/herder and the sister is a shy, polite, wonderful little hen loved and fiercely protected by her brothers : )

    Over the years we've also been invited into the lives of several very personable ducks and the coot among them.

    You wouldn't think it would get too cold in AZ, but it's been dipping into the 40s at night. Of course, when I go to feed the geese and ducks, everyone's just starving from the cold (and when the geese have come to the man-made pond where most of the ducks live, they're extremely frustrated, having to deal with the throngs of ducks in order to be fed.)

    The Question:

    My kids (the geese) love chick scratch, really deplore game bird pellets/crumbles. They're also not crazy about alternative proteins such as seeds/peanuts (they'll spit them out and look at me like I've insulted them.) Will geese eat suet? It seems like a calorie-dense, possibly tasty food. I'm really stumped as to what foods I could give them that would help them/condition/keep them alive them the most. Right now I'm visiting them everyday and everyday, they're just so awfully hungry.

    The birds are having to survive things that should be unsurvivable: trash bags full of leftover fishing line/lures/sinkers/split shot/treble hooks; packs of coyotes; and, worst of all, I've never seen a place where so many people of all ages are so openly violent toward the resident animals. Last week it was boy scouts, breaking off switches to chase/beat rabbits and birds. There are adults encouraging children to chase/beat/stomp rabbits and birds. And just a few days ago, someone snuck into the back of the park and shot to death a coyote who'd been socialized by humans. It's out of control and the park rangers and overseers do not care. They chalk the violence up to the animals, nature, survival of the fittest.

    That being said, I'd lay down my life for those geese as many times as I could. I'd camp there to look over them if need be. So I'm just trying to figure out the one thing I can give them to sustain them--the best possible, tastiest food : )

    Thanks so much!
    1 person likes this.
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Are most of the water fowl wild like Canada geese ,Mallards then you might try whole corn my geese and ducks and even chickens love it and when it's cold they all get some in the afternoon to help keep them warm over night in their houses. I hesitate to rec it if this is all they are getting as food though because it isn't a balanced diet. Can they forage grass and water plants? since geese are grazers grass would be first on the diet list. I am going to send you post to a friend and member on here who has really done great work at a park in her town to help the water fowl there. Maybe she can advise you even more. And i am sick to hear how people are treating these animals. What ever happened to respect for life. I am glad you are there to watch over them all.

    Welcome to BYC.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Kalsti

    Kalsti Chirping

    Jul 31, 2013
    Hi Miss Lydia and LovedbyGeese!
    I agree, this is so sad what we are seeing today.....maltreatment of all things it seems. Regarding nutritious food--We were advised here by veterinarians that Waterfowl pellets (at the Grange, very inexpensive) are the best for them. They also advised giving them cat chow, as it floats in the water, unlike the waterfowl pellets. I was advised that small amounts of cracked corn are ok---- all in all this diet coupled with lettuce and apples is a good plan, according to the experts here. My goose and duck both love the lacy leaf lettuce and purple edged lettuce both hand fed, on the ground, or in water. I like Miss Lydia's idea about the whole corn also-- I have to try that!
    We have a website and facebook page, called "Friends of Mingus Park," www.friendsofminguspark.com --and our mission and goals are explained there....basically we started in response to exactly what you are noticing; namely violence and abuse toward the wildlife. In our case "Joey" (a white Embden goose) was injured and lame, and was also being tormented by kids and teens with sticks and rocks, etc. We also noticed (as did you), that often the parents or grandparents would condone this abusive behavior toward the wildlife, laughing as they watched their kids or grandkids try to hurt the birds, ride bikes through them, or kick them. We have had some success in a year, but need more members in order to be successful. We absolutely see a big difference in the amount of moldy bread that is floating in the lake-- it is hardly ever seen now, as we have been handing out free bags of waterfowl feed to park visitors, along with our brochures, etc. We also have business cards that have bullet points on the back side, that include what to feed the birds, a phone number to call if abuse is witnessed, and what constitutes abuse. We are now working with our teens on board who will be taking Joey in to the grammar school classrooms to talk with the kids about her story, promote kindness, and help them to learn empathy. The teens are coming up with some great games for the kids, which will get the message across well. (Joey also goes to the presentations dressed up in fancy hats, scarves, and such, so it is a lot of fun!)
    I really encourage you to write a letter to the editor, get another person who feels the same as you do, and start working on building your group. Develop a proposal for what you would like to see for the wildlife (dispensers for feed? Signs?) and get a petition started and signed by park visitors. That will tell the powers that be very much. Work with the city and the parks commission if you have one.....help move things forward vs. asking or demanding that they do something.....Develop a cadre of park visitors who can monitor what is going on there-- and do "teachable moments" whenever something abusive or hurtful is observed. Most of the people to whom we have spoken, advising them of healthy waterfowl feed or behaviors, or leash laws--- are very pleasant and not defensive, if they are approached with a free bag of food to feed the birds! ;)
    Anyway, keep up the good work. The wildlife are lucky to have you advocate for them!!!!
    If you observed these things there is a good chance others have also observed these things. If you talk with the walkers who walk regularly there you will get to know who is tuned in and who is not.
    Good luck and keep us informed and updated!
    1 person likes this.

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