Ducks Vs. Geese – What’s The Difference?

Obviously, ducks and geese are both waterfowl. They both tend to live near the water too. Both are raised for meat and eggs. Of course, there are differences between the ducks and the geese. That is what we want to talk a little bit about on this page – Ducks Vs Geese.

ducks vs geese
Ducks Vs Geese

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Ducks Vs Geese – The Similarities First

We are going to be talking a lot about the differences between ducks and geese on this page. However, we thought that we would ‘kickstart’ by talking a little bit about the similarities the two birds share.

Of course, both of them are waterfowl (i.e. they spend most of their time by the water). They have webbed feet, and they tend to be very social animals. Some ducks and geese can even look the same!

Although, there is a way to tell the difference, but we will talk about that in a short while.

As you have probably guessed, both of these animals have been domesticated too. This means that both of them are suitable for meat and eggs, but we will talk more about that part in a short while because there is a small difference between geese and ducks!

They both require little by way of housing. A fence to protect them from the predators and at least a small pond where they can swim.

Another thing that is worth pointing out, is that the honking of the geese and the quacking of the ducks is something that can be annoying for you and your neighbors.

Differences Between Ducks and Geese

Now let’s dive in into the differences between the ducks and the geese.

The Number Of Breeds

Due to various types of breeding that takes place, it is pretty tough to know exactly how many species of each animal there are. However, it is believed that you will find a little over 90 duck breeds, and around 30 breeds of geese. This means that there are more types of duck out there!

Both of these animals can be found all over the world. If there is a body of water somewhere, then it is likely that geese or ducks will regularly visit it.

Ducks Vs Geese – Migration Habits

Geese are migratory animals. This means that when the winter rolls in, almost all of them are going to fly south for warmer climates.

There may be an exception for domesticated geese here, though. However, even domesticated geese have been known to follow their natural instinct.

Only a few ducks are migratory. Most of them tend to just stick around the same body of water, even when it gets a little bit cold outside.

Ducks Vs Geese – Size Differences

Geese tend to weigh several pounds more than a duck. Although, as we said before, there are some geese that are about the same size as a duck.

Perhaps the main way to tell whether it is a goose or a duck is to look at the neck. Geese will have longer necks, mostly because they have a few extra bones in it.

The Look of the Birds

Geese and ducks have different shaped bills:

  • The bill of a goose will be short and quite narrow. There will be notches in it. The idea is that this type of bill can help to grind up the plants that they eat a little bit better. The nostrils will be quite low down on the bill.
  • The bill of a duck is going to be broad and long. The nostrils will be located quite high up on the duck’s bill. The idea is that this shape of bill enables the duck to snatch food out of the water.

Can you recognize the ducks vs the geese in the image bellow?

ducks vs geese the differences
A Flock of Ducks and Geese

The color of the feathering is likely to be different too. Ducks have brighter colored feathers, while geese are more likely to be a white or grey color.

That being said, there are still going to be a few geese that have the odd brightly colored feathers, but it won’t be the most prominent part of their look.

Ducks Vs Geese – Diet Differences

This is where things can get a little bit confusing. This is because a lot of people seem to be of the belief that geese are herbivores when they are not as such. Although, we will talk more about this in a short while.

Ducks, for the most part, will eat plants, insects, and small water-dwelling animals, particularly crustaceans. In fact, a good amount of their food is going to come from the water. Ducks are omnivores.

Geese, on the other hand, are mostly regarded as herbivores. They eat a lot of grass and various types of grain.

They do not each more beyond this. That being said, we are a little bit hesitant to say that geese are always herbivores. This is because geese have been known to eat small crustaceans and insects if they really need to do so.

It is rare because they are going to get most of their food from grass, grains, and various pieces of fruit. However, during the winter months when food starts to become a little bit scarce, they do change their mind!

Check our article about what do geese eat, to learn more in depth about their diet.

Ducks Vs Geese – The Sound They Make

If you can’t tell what a bird is by looking at it, then you can listen to it.

Geese, as you may know, tend to honk quite a bit. Ducks, on the other hand, are going to quack. Ducks tend to be a bit more vocal than geese too, with most geese really only making a sound if they are under threat or if they are signaling that they have found food.

Ducks and Geese in a pond

Ducks And Geese Eggs and Egg Laying

Both geese and ducks lay far fewer eggs each year than chickens. As a result, they are not really animals to rely on if you need a steady source of eggs. That being said, ducks are a lot more prolific than ducks.

Both geese and ducks have breeding seasons. However, the breeding season of a goose is only a few weeks long. Per year, you will get no more than 9 to 12 eggs from a goose. A duck could produce anywhere from 60 to 100.

The Purpose of the Birds

Ducks and geese are used for:

  • Feathers
  • Eggs
  • Meat

Geese tend to be a meat bird for more ‘special’ occasions. After all, a goose is going to be a lot more difficult to breed.

Due to their shorter breeding season, and the very few eggs they lay, it can be tremendously difficult to produce enough geese to sustain a family throughout a year.

This is why they tend to only be for around the holiday season. Ducks can be eaten throughout the year.

Ducks also tend to be more used for eggs than geese. After all, the low number of eggs laid by a goose means that you are more likely to want to be using them for breeding, and thus you will not really have that many viable eggs leftover for eating.

Breeding Differences Between Ducks and Geese

Ducks are simple to breed. If you have males and females, then they are likely to breed. However, ducks will only breed with one other duck. They are monogamous animals.

This attachment will only last for a short while, though. The next time breeding season rolls around, the duck is going to choose a new mate to stick with.

Geese are actually a bit trickier to breed. This is because once a goose has found a mate, this is going to be its mate for life. This means that if a goose does not have a mate or the mate is not there, then the goose is unlikely to breed.

Generally speaking, geese tend to be a bit broodier too. You will struggle to find a goose that is not willing to raise its young.

In fact, it is likely going to have an attachment to its young for the rest of its life. This doesn’t just apply to the mother goose either.

The father goose will also take an active role. With ducks, this does not happen. Ducks can be broody, but not always. The male goose will never raise the young.

Caring Differences Between Ducks and Geese

Caring for the animal will not be that different.

Geese will likely need to have more space to roam around in than ducks. This is not just because they are larger birds, but because they naturally forage.

If they do not have land to forage on, then they are highly likely to fly away and look for pastures new.

Ducks will need a lot more water than geese too. After all, ducks will be spending most of their time on the water.

This means that, at the very minimum, they should have a pond they can swim about in. While a goose should still have an area to swim about in, they do not need as much space. This is because most of their time will be spent on land.

It is likely that you will need to take greater care in protecting your ducks from predators too.

Because geese are larger, most predators do not come near them (although, they can do!), and if the goose does notice a predator close by, it does a pretty decent job at being able to scare them off.

You should also be aware that geese can be a tiny bit more aggressive than ducks. This means that if you are raising geese, you should probably raise them from babies. Interact with them regularly, and they are less likely to be aggressive towards you.

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