Letter Re: Some Experience Raising Geese

Captain Rawles,
I’ve some info that might be of interest to the visitors to your blog.
What started out as an impulse buy by my wife and daughters 10 years ago has resulted in our discovery of a creature that has a very long life span, is a good watch or alert critter, is easy to keep, provides good entertainment and lays eggs.  It is African geese. We bought two of these as goslings and raised them to adults. By doing this, we discovered that they will be very loyal to their caretakers and friendly. Anyone that has been around geese know that they are bad about sneaking up behind you and pinching.  This is not true for those who have raised them and understand their tactics. My daughters were 14 and 16 when we got our first two geese.  They treated them as pets, cuddled and hugged and talked to them. Now 10 years later, they can go out and sit by the pond and the goose will come up and sit in their lap, and rest his head against their shoulder.  At the same time, he will chase and pinch my wife if she is not careful.  We ordered some more goslings this spring.  They weigh over 10 pounds now.  They are quite pricey, about $10 per gosling.  However, they live very long, up to 20 years.  We had a guy with a track hoe come and dig out their pond last year to six foot deep so it would not dry up during the droughts.  We also have the pond stocked with channel catfish.  We have a four foot high non-climbing wire fence around the pond with an electrified wire around the top to keep the predators out.  Our first two geese were males.  Our next batch has some females that have not yet started laying.  We have designated some as pets and others as a food source.  These geese do well on whole kernel corn which we raise on our retreat.
The benefits we have discovered are as follows:

1) These are very good alert animals.  They make much more noise than guineas, but they don’t overreact as guineas do, so they are not as annoying.  They alert at vehicles, strangers, and new animals. People who aren’t familiar with geese would not know they aren’t being alerted and hide as would someone who is familiar with dogs barking.

2) They don’t fly, so they stay inside the fence.  I killed all our guineas many years ago because they devastated our tomato crop.  I went to pick the tomatoes from our 50 plants and found a 5 gallon bucket of soured tomatoes the 25 guineas had pecked.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if they would have eaten the whole tomato.  I did enjoy the guinea gumbo.  Now that we grow tomatoes in raised beds with a low fence around them, our one stray guinea doesn’t bother them.

3) The geese in our pond and the corn we put out for them makes our pond a haven for migratory game birds.  It is illegal to hunt this spot with live “decoys” and bait, but in a survival situation that might be different.

4) Goose eggs are three times the size of chicken eggs.

If you are raising geese, below are some helpful links:

Worms in Waterfowl and Poultry
Gizzard Worms in Geese

Regards, – M.E.R.