Geese are picky birds. If you want your geese to be friendly and inquisitive birds, offer them special treats. While they will nibble at most anything, they are particular about what they eat. I’ve had to try all sorts of different food combinations to find what they like for a special treat.
My geese eat a waterbird crumble for their regular food, and they have free access to a trough of feed throughout the day. In the summer, they don’t eat much of their crumble because they have plenty of green grass to munch on, but in the winter they go through about a pound of feed per day.
Goslings are much more curious about treats than adult geese, so if you want to get your geese accustomed to some special snacks, start feeding them when they are very young. They’ll continue to appreciate the treats into adulthood even as they get more picky about trying new things.
Here are a few of the favorite treats in our goose flock.
Geese are technically vegetarians, but most of them won’t turn their beaks up at a crunchy, dried-bug treat. Dried mealworms are a common treat for our chickens and ducks. Packed full of protein, they’re great to feed all of our fowl in the winter months when they aren’t getting the foraged bugs they do during summer. Mealworms also are a special treat if you let them float in your goose’s water dish or a pool you keep for this purpose and the geese can have fun fishing them out of the water.
Watermelons are some of the best treats to give poultry during the summer. Because they are full of water they help prevent dehydration, and everyone enjoys pecking and nibbling away at a few slices of watermelon on a hot summer day. Geese are particularly fond of them and they love gnawing the fruit down to the leathery exterior. You can bet that anything water-related will be a hit in a goose’s book, and watermelons are no exception.
3. Lettuce Greens
It is no secret geese love greens, that’s why it is important to keep the birds out of your vegetable garden. But greens make the perfect treat, and one your geese will go crazy for. You can feed them romaine and other common lettuces, or the tops of root vegetables such as carrot or beet greens. My geese are especially fond of beet greens. Kale is also a great option. Avoid spinach, however, because it contains oxalic acid, which depletes calcium in bird bones. During the summer, geese might not be that intrigued with greens, but in winter they’ll relish the opportunity to try some leafy vegetables.
4. Bread (On Occasion)
Generally speaking, you are discouraged from feeding ducks or geese bread. But I don’t mind feeding a few crusts to my geese in moderation, and they love the stuff. It is the perfect consistency for them to mash up in their beaks, and there is never a crumb left. The reason to avoid bread? Well, it’s kind of like a Big Mac for birds. It’s full of fats and provides very little in the way of proteins or vitamins. But a little bit of “junk food” on occasion will not harm your geese, and they’ll enjoy it.
This is my geese’s favorite. They like the greens, but they love the flowers. They will pick over the yard for dandelion flowers in the spring with gusto, and they’ll get very excited if the blossoms are offered as a treat in their pen or brooder. Dandelions are great and healthy snack for your birds, and most people won’t mind their geese helping keep a lawn free of dandelions.
Oftentimes when I’m sitting in the yard with the geese, the treats that they seem to enjoy the most are grass stems I pluck for them, or they might be satisfied to just nibble around the edges of my boots. And that’s one of the reasons I’m so fond of geese: It seems like as much as they enjoy treats, just hanging out with their people is sweet enough for them.