The below information is designed to be used as a guide for keeping geese written by Christopher Lane, Gulliver Geese - Farm Manager, a professional stock-man with 25 years experience in goose breeding, gosling production and keeping geese. If you have any questions about keeping geese, please contact us and we will endeavour to answer your question.
Caring for your goslings
Visit our Caring for Goslings page for information on looking after goslings
Keeping Geese on grass
After two weeks the goslings can be given access to an outside area making sure they don't get too cold.. This area needs to be surrounded by a fox proof fence or the geese will need to be shut in at night. Remember, geese will eat anything! so protect any trees or plants with nets or fencing. If you plan to keep your geese inside at night then a standard wire fence will do. Normally about three foot, 1 metre high.
Goslings need a constant supply of clean, fresh water, changed daily. The water trough should be only 1-2 inches deep for the first week. As the birds grow you can increase the size of the trough. When birds are fully grown they will need a trough large enough to get their heads in and under the water. It is important to clean the troughs daily. For the first three weeks feed your goslings on a starter ration, water fowl starter ration or duck starter ration. Protein level should be 18-19%, oil 4.5% and fibre 4.5%. I don't recommend you use a high protein feed of 21% or more, as goslings tend to go off their legs. It is very important you don't feed chicken feed, especially chicken starter that has anticoccidiostat in, as this can kill goslings. After three weeks, go onto a duck/goose grower ration, 16-17% protein, oil 3.25% and fibre 7%. The next 8-10 weeks are very important as the gosling will grow in its frame. After 12 weeks geese can go onto finisher/grower ration protein 16%, oil 3.7% and fibre 4.5%. They can also have corn or grass but this will affect their end weight, the more grass or corn, the lighter the bird will be. To gain heavier birds, I recommend keeping birds on good quality compound feeds. Geese are natural grazing animals and will thrive on good quality pasture, orchards or good quality lawns. This is ok for pets but not heavy commercial birds.
Time to finish
Geese will be ready after about 23 weeks. In our experience, geese that have been kept for a few extra weeks will be slightly larger so if you require big birds, give yourself more time to fatten them.
Caring for your Geese
Geese should be littered once a day. You should check to ensure all water drinkers are working properly, and if applicable, are set at the right height for the current age of the geese. This opportunity should also be taken to check the condition of the birds.
As you move through the pen the geese will try and maintain a certain distance from you where they feel comfortable and not threatened. If you are littering a shed, try and walk down the sides of the shed to allow the geese to pass you without too much fuss. If more than one person is in the shed then they should try and work in the same area or end to give the geese plenty of space. Any geese which are slow to move away from you may be ill. If this occurs, pay special attention for the next few days. String and plastic should not be left in the sheds as the geese will eat it or get it wrapped around there legs.
Any outside area should be walked at least once a day to check for string or plastic or any other potentially harmful objects.
Protecting your Geese
Depending on your area, it may be necessary to protect your geese from foxes and feral cats over night. The best way to do this is to make the sheds predator proof by covering any openings with mesh or blocking then in entirely.
Vermin cause a myriad of problems for someone keeping geese. They are attracted by the presence of food and can transmit disease, cause damage and in some cases attack goslings. The best approach to vermin control is to take all preventative steps possible and consult a professional if poison is to be used. Listed below are some of the preventative measure that should be taken:
- Clear up any spilt food.
- Keep food is a vermin proof container.
- block up any likely holes.
If you have any questions related to keeping geese, please contact us and our stock-man will endeavour to answer your question.