Wondering what to feed geese? Learn about selecting the best goose feed option and the appropriate protein level required. Also, feeding geese treats is not necessary, however, healthy treats are beneficial to their diet. Discovering what geese eat will keep your flock healthy for years to come.
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It is stated that chickens are the gateway to farming, I beg to differ. I believe waterfowl are the gateway to farming.
Who can dismiss the adorable waddling or their independent nature? Not to mention the amazing eggs laid yearly? But more importantly, geese are very tolerant to the cold and heat, and overall healthier than chickens.
However, in order to keep them healthier it begins with what geese eat and how much they should consume daily.
What to Feed Geese
Much like feeding chickens it is important to feed geese a balanced diet. Their overall health and egg production depends on what they are being fed and how much.
In addition to selecting the appropriate feed there are necessities which must be offered. Grit and calcium must be available at all times and offered as a free choice option.
In addition to feeding geese a well balanced diet, grit, and free choice calcium, offering beneficial herbs boosts the immune system. There are many herbs which provide immune boosting qualities, however, there are a handful which are easily available and grow well in any type of garden. Further discussion of beneficial herbs is found later in this article.
Selecting the Right Goose Feed Option
Based on the age of the geese the crude protein will vary. Keep in mind, geese grow much quicker than chickens, and the crude protein level is much higher than what is offered to chickens.
What Geese Eat Based on Age:
|Naturally free Organic Starter||up to 3 weeks||22% – 22.5%|
|Naturally free Organic Grower||3 weeks to first egg||17.5% – 19%|
|Naturally free Organic Layer||egg laying months||15% – 16%|
Because geese are seasonal layers the crude protein level can be decreased once the laying season ends. However, it is not necessary.
There are a few goose feed options available, and what to feed geese is truly based on preference. Though it should be noted, not all feeds are equal. For this reason we offer an organic whole grain feed option for our flocks.
Our poultry team consisting of geese, ducks, chickens, turkeys, and guineas consume a whole grain diet. And depending on how busy we are the feed is offered dry, soaked, or fermented.
Whole Grain Feed
The most natural, and healthiest, option to provide your flock is a whole grain feed. This type of feed consists of grains and other beneficial ingredients such as:
In addition to whole grain ingredients, look for a feed which also offers byproducts from flax seeds, sea kelp, B12, folic acid, and other necessary vitamins and minerals.
Fermented Whole Grain Feed
Feeding geese (goslings to mature geese) a fermented whole grain feed increased the health benefits offered in a feed. In truth, there is no healthier feed option than one which has been fermented.
Fermented whole grains offers geese and other poultry:
- Fermented whole grains reduce the amount of feed being offered daily
- Not only a whole grain diet but filled with beneficial bacteria to keep the digestive system healthy
- Fermented whole grains absorb into the body more so than a crumble or pellet feed
- Geese and other poultry which consume a whole grain fermented feed release less waste and consume less water
- Fermented foods are immune boosting, in addition to offering a fermented whole grain feed, raw apple cider can be offered in the waterer as well
The fermenting process takes 3 days. A simple fermenting system and routine make it easy to allow your poultry team to remain healthy throughout their lifetime.
Pellet feed is readily available at many feed stores, and much like a whole grain option commercial feed is available for each phase of life.
There is a bit of controversy in regards to whether offering medicated feed to brooding waterfowl is safe. The controversy stems from the amount of feed goslings and ducklings consume on a daily basis compared to chicks. Making the consumption of medicated feed extremely high could cause young waterfowl to overdose on medicated feed.
However, there are studies which debunk this theory. Keep in mind, the immune system of young poultry can be offered the moment they hatch. How to prevent coccidiosis in a brooder is necessary to raise healthy geese and other poultry.
The decision to provide medicated feed is yours to make.
Goose Feed Ration per Day
Fresh grass or greens contributes to a large percent of a goose’s daily feed ration. In addition to consuming fresh grass or greens daily, a mature goose requires 2 cups of high grade feed per day. This can be offered dry or as mentioned, fermented.
Geese and duck require niacin in order to maintain strong bones and health. Many feeds contain small amounts of niacin, however, there is no harm in offering an additional amount.
Brewer’s yeast is an excellent niacin supplement for geese. There are many brands available on the market, and some outrageously priced. We have provided our waterfowl team AniMed Pure Brewer’s Yeast for years, and it is a great niacin supplement to give daily. One scope for every 2-cups of feed is sufficient.
Feeding Geese Beneficial Herbs
Naturally boosting the immune system of geese is quite easy to achieve. Aside from providing a natural probiotic in the form of fermented whole grains or raw apple cider vinegar, herbs and garlic given daily will also work to keep your geese healthy.
Waterfowl are less susceptible to illnesses and disease. However, if you wish to boost the immune system of your flock the following herbs can be offered fresh or dried. There is no concern about overdosing on the herbs listed below, by simply being consistent the immune system is naturally boosted. We offer 1/4-cup for every 6-cups of feed.
- oregano – antioxidant
- thyme – respiratory health
- sage – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory
- nettle – calcium, bone strengthening
- ginger – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory
- basil – adaptogen, anti-inflammatory
- parsley – vitamin K, D, and A, folate and iron
Garlic is offered in its fresh form. Adding a few crushed cloves to the waterer daily will support a healthy immune system. When possible, avoid purchasing garlic powder. Due to not knowing how long the powder has been sitting on the shelf the freshness of the item is questionable.
Grit and Calcium
Grit and calcium must be provided when raising waterfowl and other poultry. Both serve a vital purpose and are needed to ensure your geese (and other poultry) remain healthy.
The digestive system of geese is pretty complex. Geese do not have teeth to chew their food, instead it is quickly ingested and stored in the crop. From the crop the items consumed heads to the gizzard. It is within the gizzard that the food is broken down and becomes digestible.
However, the gizzard needs help breaking down food matter, and for that reason grit must be consumed. Grit is available in many forms, small rocks, oyster shells, and even in the form of sand. Grit is offered free choice, the goose will consume it as needed.
Egg laying geese must always have access to oyster shells. High amounts of calcium is needed to create the egg shell. Without a supplemental option available the calcium is drawn from their bones, potentially crippling the goose.
What Geese Eat | Treat Options
Geese are excellent foragers and when allowed, most of their diet will come from consuming grass and wild vegetation. What geese eat is very similar to what ducks consume, however, it is a much larger quantity. Because of this, make sure treats are given in moderation.
- Grubs and mealworms
- Black oil sunflower seeds
- Sprouted grains or fodders
- Dandelions, plantain, chickweed
- Garden discards
- Grass (free range) or grass clippings
- Grapes and many fruit options
- Frozen peas, corn, carrots
- Cooked rice, pasta, potatoes
- Earthworms and slugs
Geese will also consume cracked corn and scratch, however, this is not the best treat item to offer. These items are typically given sparingly to chickens and turkeys during the winter months to help pack a little weight onto the birds. A bird with an extra weight will remain warmer during the cold months.
However, since geese handle colder temperatures quite well there is no need to offer cracked corn or scratch grains to them.
Geese are a joy to raise. They are full of personality and imprint heavier than other poultry breeds. Keep in mind, they do consume quite a bit more than other waterfowl and thrive on a balanced diet of feed and grass.