Geese are probably some of the pickiest eaters when it comes to domestic birds. So, what do geese eat? What do geese eat in the wild or during the winter? Let’s take a little look at the their diet, shall we?
What Do Geese Eat?
Geese are foragers. They will mostly try and forage for grass and plants. In fact, they are probably going to be spending most of their time foraging for food. Typically the geese will eat:
- Leaves of grass
- Small insects
They may pick up the odd berry or too as well. However, you will likely find that geese spend the vast majority of their time eating grass. They seem to love the stuff!
While we did say before that many geese are vegetarians, there are a few breeds that will also eat small insects. It isn’t really going to be providing them with a major part of their diet, though. It is more likely to supplement their protein intake.
You probably will not find them doing it all that often unless there is a decent source of insects nearby.
What Do Geese Eat In The Winter
Their diet isn’t going to change all that much during the winter months, to be honest. However, you may see a couple of small changes. After all, a lot of the plants that they eat will have started to die out.
A lot of geese will start to eat a lot more corn during the winter months. This is because it is going to be a lot easier for them to obtain. However, the main reason is that it is incredibly slow to digest corn.
This means that the goose will feel a lot less hungry. They are also going to be getting a decent energy boost from the corn, which is always going to be a positive!
You may find that geese tend to become a lot less picky with what they eat during the winter months. Although, it is still mostly going to gravitate towards plants and grass.
What Do Domestic Geese Eat?
To be honest, geese are such fantastic foragers that, providing they have a decent amount of land to wander around on, they will do pretty decently at feeding themselves.
You will only have to do a minor bit of supplementation. This is a stark contrast to chickens where, despite being good foragers, you will need to go out of your way to ensure food is constantly stocked up.
Since geese love green, leafy vegetables, try to make sure that you get a lot of that into your geese’s diet. Foe example geese will love to eat spinach, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, and chard.
In fact, geese love most vegetables, give them some carrots, green beans or celery, try and get them into the goose’s diet. Just make sure that you remove them before they become moldy.
On top of this, you can feed them some grains. Wheat works well here, as does cooked rice. Corn is also fantastic, particularly during the colder months of the year.
If you own geese, then it is also important that you have a stable amount of grass that they can munch on. This is likely to be providing the vast majority of their diet.
Of course, you should also ensure that they have a decent supply of food pellets available. This is especially important throughout the winter months where it gets a little bit more difficult for them to obtain food any other way. Foraging is pretty much out of the question then.
If you do give them pellets, make sure that the pellets are designed for geese. This will ensure that they end up getting all of the right nutrients into their diet.
Chicken Grit – Since geese lack teeth, providing them with chicken grit is very important so they can better digest their food.
Geese Will Kill Small Animals
We want to point this part out.
If you have geese, you may notice that they can kill snakes and small rodents. However, they are never going to eat them if this happens. The only reason they are going to be killing them is to protect their young and their food sources.
We wanted to point this part out, because a lot of people see dead small animals on occasion with their geese. However, we promise you, the goose is never going to eat them! They are not part of the geese diet.
Geese Get Most Of Their Food From Land
Obviously, geese spend a lot of their time on the water. However, unlike a few other water-dwelling birds, geese do not actually get much of their food from the water.
They may pick out the odd bit of plant or so, but they are never really going to make it a point to focus on water-based food. It is almost always going to come from the land.
Yes, geese can eat fish. But it doesn’t mean that they will do it very often. Perhaps if they were on the brink of starvation, they may consider it, but they probably won’t do it.
About the closest they are ever going to come is eating small crustaceans, but even that is going to be quite rare. Most geese are actually vegetarians.
What Geese Can’t Eat?
If you own geese, then it won’t be long before you see them as very, very picky eaters. They will turn down most of the food that you give them.
For example; geese can eat bird seed, but they will never eat sunflower seeds. This means that if you give them traditional bird seed (which they can eat), you will find that all of the sunflower seeds will be leftover.
Of course, there are also some foods that they really, really can’t eat. These are the ones that you should be avoiding feeding your geese.
This is not a complete list, but it is a list of the ones that most people consider giving their geese at some point, so please do not do it!
- Potato (uncooked)
- Leaves from a tomato plant
- Seeds from most fruits
- Uncooked rice, although they absolutely love cooked rice, and that should be a stable part of their diet.
- Most nuts. This especially includes peanuts.
- Citrus fruits
Of course, when you feed the geese something new, you should always keep an eye on their health and stools. This should give you an idea as to what is working for your goose, and what you should avoid giving them.
Related geese articles:
– Embden Goose
– Sebastopol Goose