winter goose housing in cold climates


In the Brooder
11 Years
Apr 23, 2008
Ontario Canada
Just curious to see what other northern goose keepers do to house there birds over the winter months. I have a pretty good handle on housing ducks though the Canadian winter, but need something larger for the geese and wanted to see a few ideas before I begin building.

Also what are peoples experience with goose violence (gander fighting) during the winter months? (may be an option to keep each pair seperate full time)
I don't know what your set up is or how much of a temp difference there is between us but our geese stay out in the cold and snow all winter with just some wind-blocks and trees for protection. I would certainly like a shed or something, but until then they'll just freeze in the snow.

I don't think you would have to worry to much about fighting in winter. We only keep our breeds separate during breeding season (from about end of Feb to late June early July here) and keep them together the rest of the year. They fight a little when initially put together to determine dominance then calm down until spring. We kept 5 different breeds over this winter totaling 22 geese and of those 8 were ganders.
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I am getting geese in 2 months, and was thinking of what I was going to do for winter housing. I will only have 2 geese that I will be wintering this next winter, though I want to build for up to 6 geese in case I increase the next year. I live in Ontario, Canada too, and so I also worry about winter housing as it can get really cold and very windy here. My plans so far are to build a shed about 8 by 12, having a small area where you first walk in to store extra feed. The inside roof rafters will be open ever 3rd or 4th beam, to allow for ventilation. The rest of the roof will be insulated along with all the walls. I plan on building it a foot or 2 off the ground and resting it on concrete blocks, during the winter packing underneath with hay/straw to insulate. The floor I plan covering with that white hard plastic sheets that butcher shops use, along with the walls. They are very washable and hard and durable. You can get them for about 20$ an 8 by 4 sheet but I feel it is worth it. Double doors also so I can drive the tractor up to the door and just push the dirty shavings in. I plan on having power running to the shed so there can be a heat lamp over the water during the winter, along with warming lights. I am still looking for more ideas, I want to build once and try to make as few mistakes as possible.
Hello Going to hyjack this post a little ...I too live in Ontario ....I am curious to see some geese houses /shelters made for the winter climates....I need something that I can shut up like the coop because of all the predators we have around during the night .
Thanks so much ....spring is in the air !!
guess there isent much help for us northern goose keepres all the advice seems to be leave them outside and thats about it.
I am in Michigan right of LAke Huron. It's very cold and extremely windy here. I was literally blown on my butt 2x this winter.

I built a straw house with a 4X8 sheet of plywood as the roof. They were able to go in and out all winter through a small opening left open on the South east corner. The house was built inside my 50' round pen I have for the horses. The round pen is three rail board fencing. I wrapped it in 4' poultry wire. We had no problems with predators. The main issue was frozen water as there was no electricity.
Only one bit of advise. Don't build too tight! each bird throws off lots of warm humid air. you want that humidity to excape and that means ventilation at the top of any shelter. If you trap that humid air inside you are asking for mold problems on the inside of your shelter and the natural insulation built into waterfowl won't work right and they will actually feel the cold more. The feet are not protected with feathers and dry bedding gives the best foot protection.
Thanks for the advice

I have built all of my existing buildings with ventilation ports in two locations and agree ventilation is a major necessity in any poultry building.

I guess what I was asking with this thread was to see if anyone has any goose housing pictures (there is a real lack of images of goose housing to work from) I have some ideas but wanted to see what others have done with there geese.

During the winter the birds will have to be completely locked up in a secure run as predators are to big of an issue here so most housing ideas will not work. I suppose I will just have to experiment.

How do people find overwintering several males (and females) together? I keep Pilgrim’s and don’t want to invest the time and effort on one large pen if aggression between males is going to be a major issue (if that is the case I would be better off building several smaller enclosures for each pair). Increasing the female to male ration is not an option as genetic diversity is too much of an issue to limit the number of males so all birds will be kept as a pair.

Our winter generally begins at the end of November (or early December) and runs till the end of March roughly.

In order to break parasite cycles I use the winter enclosures only during the winter months and all the birds are on pasture during the spring summer and fall.

I will see if I can get some pictures of my duck housing for the duck housing page as well so it gives people an idea of what kind of structures I generally build (not necessarily worried about initial cost as much as longevity and usability of the structure).
I would construct a 3 sided shelter and have a strong gate across the front to still allow for fresh air, but no intruders. It does not need to be fancy or expensive. Sometimes less is more when it comes to the health of Waterfowl. I myself have 3 sided sheds with no gates (no preditors) and they come and go as they wish, but most of the time they are just sitting in the snow.
I have 12 geese here - males and females and there is no problem in them being housed together, maybe I am lucky but I have only seen the odd argument and that has never led to any problems as it only ever amounts to one of mine chasing another away and they settle down again - I do however have one male which is a year older than all the others and "Boss" tends to keep them all in order.

As for climate, it gets very cold here in France minus 14 degrees overnight but mine are housed in a stable block overnight with all my other animals, they are however kept separate from my ducks and chickens as they can be quite aggressive towards them at times. Biggest problems are goose poo ( worse by far than my 12 ducks) and frozen water supply!

Having said all of that I would never be without geese - they are such characters!


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