Geese get a bad rap (unfairly in my opinion), but we have found them to be a great addition to our homestead. If you’re curious about geese, here’s what we’ve learned over the years of keeping them on our little farm.
- Geese are large, loud, and in-charge. They make great guard animals.
We have a multi-tiered guarding system on our five-acre homestead to keep our birds safe. The geese work together with the guineas and the Great Pyrenees to help keep everyone safe.
Guineas are useful at alerting everyone that something is not quite right, the geese are great at scaring things away (especially people LOL), and the dogs get called in by all the noise to investigate and fight, if need be.
They can scare children, and sometimes grown-ups, by charging and hissing. Geese are the largest type of fowl we have on the homestead. Their sheer size can be intimidating in its own right.
We make sure the kids know to carry a goose stick and also teach them to be intimidating to the geese if they need to be instead of running away and being chased by a goose. Our geese back down very easily, but they will chase if you run.
- Geese are vegetarians.
While geese occasionally snack on a bug or two, they are primarily vegetarians. They love to eat grass, hay, dandelions, weeds, and herbs. They also love to eat flowers. They great thing about geese is that they are fantastic at foraging, if you let them free-range. We don’t really have to feed our free-ranging geese in the summer, but they will need to be feed in the colder months. They eat the chicken food we put out for everyone.
- Geese can be useful for weeding.
Since they really like to eat grass and weeds, they can be useful for weeding. I don’t let mine in the garden until the end of the season because they’ll also mow down garden plants, but they do a nice cleanup job in the fall when the garden is done.
- Geese are monogamous and mate for life.
A pair of geese is fun to watch. Geese are monogamous and they can mate for life. We learned this the hard way this past winter. Over the winter, we had three geese, one goose and two ganders. One gander is paired with the female, and the other gander has just been a tagalong.
Well, we had a very cold spell this winter and wanted our geese to spend the nights in the coop. They normally sleep outside in the chicken yard. When we put them in the coop, the two ganders started fighting. So, we separated them and left the female with the wrong gander accidentally. We quickly learned that was not ok! We had to put the female with the gander to restore peace in the chicken coop.
- Beautiful Eggs
Geese lay huge, beautiful eggs. Geese aren’t known for egg production, but goose eggs are edible! In fact, they are prized by gourmet chefs and crafters. A goose will lay only for a few weeks in early spring. Like chickens, they lay about an egg a day, but they don’t lay them for long. So it’s a real treat to find goose eggs!
Of course, you can raise geese for meat as well, but we have not tried that. Instead, we enjoy our geese for all the reasons listed above!
Do you have geese? Why or why not?