Feeding tips for domestic geese:

 

- Young geese up to 16 weeks

We give them a special waterfowl crumb food for the first few days and then, after 5 days, we give them this mixed with waterfowl breeding pellets. After a week they just receive breeding pellets until they are about 16 weeks old. Our geese always have food available. We are particularly careful in the first few weeks to check that there is food in their bowls. Obviously small pieces of cut grass, carrot and lettuce are also good.

- From week 16th

From around week 16th we mix the breeding pellets with basic pellets that is also suitable for waterfowl. After a few days, usually once the breeding pellets have run out, they go onto just basic pellets mixed with wheat. They get this food until about halfway through January, or earlier depending on the weather, when they go onto laying pellets. Of course we mix this food with the basic pellets for the first few days. The reason why we mix wheat into the waterfowl food in the summer and autumn is that some geese can get too heavy on just waterfowl pellets which can cause fertility problems in the spring.

- After 16 weeks we also give them some corn although not too much as then they would not eat their pellets which contain all the vitamins and minerals that they need. They just get corn here as a treat. Some are mad it and others are not that keen. Geese have different tastes as well!

Giving them an apple is a real treat! It is the ideal way to make them tame and keep them that way. They actually fight and press up against us to seize a piece out of our hands. They react the same for some lettuce, endive, chicory or other vegetables. Like corn, we only give apple or some vegetables as a treat.

There is always a container of grit available but, in our experience, they only tend to eat it when they are laying eggs. Our geese eat more sand than grit outside the breeding season. Geese need sand and/or grit to be able digest grass etc. Picking the ground with their beaks to find sand to eat is also a favorite pastime for our geese.

We give very little bread to our geese as it contains little or no nutrients . There are only one or two geese who like it over here. There is also the danger that, if the bread is mouldy, it could kill a goose, particularly young ones! If you still want to give them bread then ensure that it is fresh and only give them a few small pieces.

Grass: most people say that you can't keep geese without grass. You can keep them on bare sandy ground with sufficient supplementary nutrients from a good feed and greens but they will not be happy. Although they do not need to eat grass to survive, it is an occupation for them. Picking grass sits in their genes. A bite to eat, a bit of sleep, eat a bit of grass, a bit of running around and flapping, eat a bit more grass, a splash in the bath, if possible eat a bit of grass while splashing in the bath and so it goes on.

As our geese always have waterfowl pellets available all day there are never fights over the eating bowls. Our geese know that there is enough for all of them so they are happy to have a snack and then go back to eating grass. This means that they all get enough food, even the less bold ones. This also means that our geese never overeat.

There are several brands of waterfowl feed on the market. Look what is easily available in your area and check that it is specially formulated for waterfowl! This way they get all the nutrients they need.

And how much do they need to eat each day? No idea ! One will eat more than the other but, because the food is available all day, we just check whether the container is empty or not. If the container is completely empty then we give a bit more, if it is still quite full then we give them a bit less. We find that they do eat more when the temperature drops and when the ladies are laying eggs.

And what must never be forgotten: CLEAN DRINKING WATER !! Water must always be available; it is particularly important for goslings.

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