Interested in learning what to feed geese? Whether you’re raising goslings, or adding adult geese into your flock, or gaggle, its important to have an awareness that geese thrive on a specific diet. Geese are primarily a grazing species, their bodies break down and digest feed rapidly, ideally their diet consists of 80% grasses and 20% grains/cereal.
WHAT TO FEED GEESE
When choosing what to feed geese, remember they need four (4) main food groups
- Blue Grass
- Orchard Grass
- Timothy Grass
- Brome Grass
- Calcium. Excellent sources of calcium can be Grange Co-op’s Black Oil Sunflower Seeds and Oyster Shell
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin D is produced by geese bodies through exposure to sunlight. In the Pacific Northwest, it is especially important to supplement vitamin D3 into their diet.
- Kelp is a great natural source of vitamin D3, supplementing with Grange Co-op’s Tidal Organics Kelp Meal, you can ensure your geese are receiving enough of it.
*When choosing what to feed geese, it’s important to recognize grasses/greens supply vitamin E, riboflavin, vitamin A and calcium. Alfalfa is too tough of grass for geese to digest.
When choosing what to feed geese, know that geese need more Niacin (Vitamin B3) than chickens and even ducks! Supplementation can be added in the form of brewers yeast at the rate of 1.5 TBS per cup of feed or 2 cups of brewers yeast per 10 lbs. of feed. Another excellent source of Niacin is Vitamin B3 liquid, 500mg per 4 gallons of water.
Geese& do not have teeth which can make their digestion a little bit more complex. As the animal ingests its food it is stored in its crop and makes its way to the gizzard. The gizzard is where food starts breaking down to be digested, but it needs the help of grit. Grit needs to be readily available in the form of small rocks, sand,or oyster shells.
The following foods are toxic to geese and shouldnotbe fed:
- Avocado, any part-has the toxin persin
- White potato, any part-has the toxin solanine
- Green tomato, as well as the leaves- has the toxin solanine
- Eggplant and pepper-has the toxin solanine
- Apple, apricot, cherry, peach, pear, plum (seeds/pits)- has cyanide
- Rhubarb, any part-has oxalic acid which can lead to soft shells; leaves are toxic
- Dried beans, raw and bean plants (fine if sprouted)- has phytohemagglutinin
- Raw peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, and pecans- may inhibit protein absorption
- Onions, any part- has thiosulphate
- Chocolate-has theobromine
- Caffeinated coffee or tea-has caffeine which is dangerous
- Anything visibly moldy or rotten
- Processed human foods, especially greasy, salty, or sweet foods
- Anything sprayed with herbicides or pesticides
The following plants are poisonous and shouldnotbe fed:
- Beans- castor fava, navy, and scarlet runners
- Birds of Paradise
- Bleeding Heart
- Cardinal flower
- Datura- Angels Trumpet
- English Ivy
- Four o’clock
- Fox Glove
- Horse chestnut
- Jerusalem Cherry&
- Lily of the valley
- Mock Orange
- Monk Shood
- Morning glory
- Night Shade
- Potato Plants
- Sorghum Grass
- Weeping yew
The following foods can be fed, but in moderation:
- Spinach-the oxalic acid interferes with calcium absorption
- Citrus- can interfere with calcium absorption
When choosing what to feed geese, some great treats are:
- Pumpkin- chopped
- Sliced apples- no seeds or cores
- Berries- raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, blueberry
- Oatmeal and scratch grains
If you believe your geese are in need of an extra boost to their diet, some common household items work great! Oregano is an antioxidant, sage and ginger are both antioxidants and anti- inflammatory, basil is anti- inflammatory and an adaptogen, thyme supports respiratory health while fresh garlic supports immune health, parsley is high in vitamin K, D, A, foliate and iron. All of these can be fed in the form of whole herbs.
Geese do well to regulate their body temperatures when it is cold. They can decrease their body temperature and heart rate to help keep themselves warm. On those colder nights you can supplement corn, cracked, rolled, or whole, to help warm them up. The corn is slightly harder for their body to digest, making the heat they produce stay closer to their core.
With so many complete feeds for geese on the market, it can quickly become overwhelming. Our best-selling feed for the entire backyard flock is Purina® Flock Raiser® Poultry Feed found at your local Grange Co-op. Never feed geese a food formulated for laying, as the levels of calcium are dangerously high.
And always remember, before creating your own feed, consult with your veterinarian.
Come in to any of our locations and speak with a Grange Livestock Expert for answers to questions you may have.