Geese may not be your first thought when considering a pet. Many people don’t think of a goose as anything more than a typical barnyard fowl.
You may be surprised to learn that geese can make great pets! As with any pet, though, you will need to make sure your lifestyle is suitable for this animal.
It’s important to note that geese are not for everyone. There are many things to take into consideration before choosing a goose as your pet.
How Long Do Geese Live?
Domestic geese have a lifespan of up to 20 years. You will want to make sure you can commit to your pet goose for the entirety of its life. This will include all the dietary, housing, and yard requirements necessary for your pet to thrive.
What About Their Temperament?
Geese are social, flock animals, and you may want to consider owning at least two to three geese to give them a more natural social structure. Male geese tend to fight one another. Females are much less likely to fight with each other and would be the more optimal choice as pets.
Geese have a reputation for being territorial and aggressive. Aggression can be avoided if geese are hand-raised and well-socialized with humans from a young age. They are intelligent and inquisitive and are often very loving, gentle, and tame when raised properly.
Domestic geese have been used for centuries as watch animals. Their territorial nature makes them great guards. Geese tend to vocalize when there is anything new in the environment and will alert their owners to anything unusual.
Noise is an especially important factor to consider before choosing a goose as a pet. Geese are very noisy. Their distinct honking sound will be heard often. They may not be the most convenient pets for those who live in residential areas, as they will inevitably be heard by the neighbors.
What Do Pet Geese Eat?
A goose’s diet consists of mostly grass, up to 70%, so it is important to have a grassy area with adequate space dedicated to your geese for grazing. The grasses contain the vitamins and minerals needed for these birds to thrive. They will also feed on wheat, corn, alfalfa, barley, insects, and commercial foods made for waterfowl.
How Do You House Pet Geese?
If you live within city limits, you will want to brush up on your city guidelines and/or homeowner’s association rules and regulations to ensure that backyard poultry like chickens, ducks, and geese are allowed in your area. Geese will require an adequate amount of grassy outdoor living space to thrive in their environment. You will want a large, secure, fenced-in area for your geese to graze.
Fencing is necessary to protect them from local predators. In addition to a safe area to graze, geese require reasonably sized housing that will keep them warm during winter and protect them from the heat in the summer. Geese are sensitive to extreme weather conditions. They can easily overheat in the summer if no shade or water is available, and they will be at risk of freezing in the winter without adequate housing.
Geese will require access to water at all times. Daily cleaning is essential to maintain a healthy habitat. A plastic tub or pool for the geese to submerge themselves for daily bathing will suffice.
Can Geese Be Kept Indoors?
Geese can be kept indoors under the right conditions. They will need enough space to carry out normal behavior and move around comfortably. They will need regular access to water for drinking and bathing.
Your indoor geese will also need easy access to an outdoor area for daily grazing. A properly sized doggie door would be convenient so they can come and go as they please. Keep in mind that geese cannot be potty trained. Goose owners who keep their pets primarily indoors typically use diapers to keep messes to a minimum.
- See Also: How to Take Care of Baby Macaws
What Is the Best Breed of Goose?
There are a variety of domesticated breeds to choose from. Here is a list of the most popular breeds of domesticated geese and a short description of each.
With an unknown origin but thought to be related to Chinese geese, African geese are known for being calm, easy to confine, and the most talkative breed of goose. African geese typically reach 18 to 22 pounds.
A quiet, docile breed originating in the United States, Pilgrim geese weigh between 12 and 14 pounds when fully grown. This breed is known to fly over fencing if something on the other side strikes their interest.
The calm, friendly, and affectionate American Buff has pale brown feathers and brown eyes. This breed originates in North America, weighs between 16 and 18 pounds, and has been commonly used in the meat industry.
A lightweight, active breed that typically weighs 10 to 12 pounds, Chinese geese are well known for the prominent knob on their bill and their weed-control abilities. They are great foragers and typically leave established crops untouched. They can easily fly over fencing and can be more sensitive to the cold. This breed will sound the alarm to any unusual activity in their environment.
The Embden is a large, white breed that originated in Germany. They have orange bills and a fast growth rate. They typically reach 20 to 25 pounds when fully mature. The Embden is generally a very calm breed.
With a more unpredictable temperament, the Pomeranian goose can range from tame and docile to hostile and aggressive. This breed from Northern Germany is typically more hardy in the winter than other breeds. These geese tend to weigh between 14 and 17 pounds.
Originating from southeastern Europe, Sebastopol geese have long, flexible feathers that curl and give an unkempt appearance. Their feathers make it difficult to deflect rainwater. They weigh between 12 and 14 pounds, are sensitive to the cold, and are not able to fly well.
Shetland geese are the smallest and the lightest domestic breed. They max out between 7 and 10 pounds and are great flyers. These Scottish birds are active and love to forage. They do have more feisty personalities and require more time, patience, and frequent handling to result in gentle, friendly pets.
The Toulouse is a French breed and is the most commonly pictured barnyard goose. These birds can weigh anywhere from 18 to 26 pounds and are known for their appetite. They tend to be quite docile.
A small white breed from Italy, Roman geese are known for their docile, friendly natures. They generally weigh between 10 and 12 pounds and have a distinct clump of feathers on the top of their heads.
If you are looking for a smart, social pet that comes with a built-in alarm system, a goose (or multiple geese) might be the right choice for you. Remember to keep in mind the environmental and dietary requirements for housing geese. Also, you will want to locate a local veterinarian with experience treating birds. If properly cared for, a goose can make a great companion animal that can live up to 20 years.
Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay