• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • James Freyr
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • jordan barton
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Greg Martin
  • Leigh Tate

geese and small children

 
master gardener
Posts: 2181
824
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good question! If the ducks feel the need to escape the geese, the duck-size door would be great - but, if something else gets in with the ducks, the geese wouldn't be able to get into that side, to help them. On the other hand, if the geese DO go rogue, the ducks are toast, with a goose-sized door. So... maybe give them a month or two, to get better acquainted, before you make that decision.
 
gardener
Posts: 3718
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
1361
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You could start with a duck-sized door but cover it with hardware cloth so that even when it's shut, the "door" is a window so they can see each other. If they start ticking off each other in the spring, you could cover the wire with a rag, but I doubt you'll need to. We have setting ducks in our goose shelter all season protected by dog-run fencing and I usually only need to hang a couple of sacks in key areas to keep sensitive birds calm. They can't physically get through the fencing, but I don't particularly want oral arguing either when I want birds setting nicely. The big thing was realizing that it's quite normal for geese to come off the nest during the day to munch some grass and stretch their legs, so we have to remember to open their door even when they're setting, but lock them in at night for safety.
 
master steward
Posts: 15057
Location: Pacific Northwest
6834
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I was reading about geese, it seemed like all they would eat is tender, newly grown grass. Not these geese!

I love watching them slurp up long blades of grass like it's spaghetti. They also LOVE apples. I can throw an apple that had too many scabs to them, and they'll chew it right up. Ducks can't eat apples unless I make them into tiny pieces. Not so with geese! Their "toothed" tongue and bills bite right into that apple!
 
Posts: 56
Location: Michigan, USA
8
hunting chicken ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have geese with out ducks - I think that they do give some level of protection to the ducks, but it's not anything to brag about.  
The old gander adopts incubator goslings and ducklings every year and takes good care of them.  His wife can't hatch an egg for the life of her, but she'll care for babies too.  
My 2 year old had a run in with the gander... and now she has a bit of fear of them, but she's learning to give them space, and they don't generally bother her.  I've seen them attack roosters, but not drakes.  The only time they have attacked me is when I am collecting eggs... from under the goose (she wants to hatch them but has never had success, so I hatch them and return them a couple of weeks old)
 
Posts: 618
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
58
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've had ducks, geese and chickens that all live together in a big coop. they hang out with their own for the most part but respect each other. the key is raising them together in the 1st. place. geese esp. don't accept newcomers very well. i also handled my geese a lot when they were young. this way they will mind you when they get older. i can let my geese out around kids and they're fine. my aussie heeler on the other hand tries to herd anything she can!
 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
Posts: 15057
Location: Pacific Northwest
6834
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So far so good on the geese+kids front. Our goose, Patty, just started laying yesterday, and Clyde has been extra protective of her. He doesn't hiss at me, but he does at my son and daughter. No attacking or anything, but my son's worried about it and runs away (doesn't help that he hissed at them the other day). So I've been working with him to be calm and assertive and not scared or scary.



In other news, goose eggs are BIG and HEAVY! I had to take gratuitous first-goose-egg pictures

 
Thomas Dean
Posts: 56
Location: Michigan, USA
8
hunting chicken ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One of our geese started laying this week as well.  "Grandma" laid 2 eggs so far.  She's had good fertility in the past, but she can't hatch eggs.  Always wants to, fails every time.  So, I incubate them.  Anyone in MI want eggs or goslings?  
 
Posts: 79
Location: Ohio, United States
39
duck books fiber arts building sheep solar
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I raise Pilgrim geese and they are the only poultry I have that free range without losses to raccoons, mink, hawks, or foxes. I haven't found them to be particularly good duck/chicken guardians, though that may be because I bought them as breeding age adults and they didn't grow up with the other birds.

One thing I have found is that geese are incredibly low-input/sustainable livestock. Mine graze most of the year, with a little bit of supplemental grain during "grass months" that's more to keep them associating me with good things like food. In the winter they get a larger amount of grain and also "graze" off of the hay that the sheep drop from the feeders. They nest and raise their goslings every year, seem to be able to withstand the predator pressure here (again, nothing larger like coyotes or bobcats), require minimal shelter (and rarely use it) and generally are a "no fuss" addition to my operation that takes minimal care to produce eggs, offspring, and meat for the table. Definitely easier to keep than chickens or ducks in my system.
 
Posts: 20
3
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My Chinese geese were raised by my border collie and have cared for ducklings and once turkeys. A young goose was assigned by the gaggle to manage the turkeys, directing them into their pen at end of day.  But when I brought home Pekin ducklings, the alpha gander took charge himself.

My geese are worthless as guards and over the years have mellowed even more - despite this breed’s reputation for ornery.  My dog is just head over heels in love with the geese and they satisfy his need to herd.  In this photo gander is bowing to express his deep pleasure, and Tadaaki mirrors the gesture.
EE10B527-2DA7-4406-85A8-62D7C356AAF5.jpeg
Goose dog body language
Goose dog body language
 
Jay Angler
gardener
Posts: 3718
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
1361
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My gander was very happy in the past to foster young goslings that had been hatched out by Muscovy moms. Now that it's spring and he's got a favorite goose, his tolerance for everyone else has totally shifted though - less mellow rather than more. Somehow we've lost fertility and I'm wondering if that's part of his issue - he wants babies and isn't getting them. I suppose I should go hunting on the web and see if I can find any goose eggs but things are already a little crazy here, so I'm trying not to add more craziness to the picture!
 
                      
Posts: 2
1
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Out story, to answer your question: We first bought and raised a female Toulouse named Mother. The children are the ones who've taken care of her since she was a wee gosling, so I don't know if it is from their interaction with her, the fact that she's female, or just her personality, but she's incredibly docile. In fact, she's so docile she wasn't making a good guard! Then our friends who also have gaggle of children told us they were having problems with their male Toulouse, apparently he was too good at guarding and killed their rooster and attacked one of them. Well, we really wanted to hatch goslings, so we said we would take him to breed with ours. We named him Father and had a cute little prenuptial ceremony (neck tie included!) when we introduced the two to each other. Upon getting him home, we noticed an immediate difference in their temperaments- he has been very guarding since day 1 of coming home and man he is SO LOUD!!! So he does a great job warning us any time a predator is near. Knowing that he has a history of aggressiveness I have not let my smaller children (under 8ish) in the run with him, and only allow my older children (9 & 11) to do the care. We have had no problems with him for a full year until now. They are definitely mating finally, as my husband and I witnessed it the other day, so she's laying fertile eggs and ever since he has become MEAN. He attacked both of my older sons this week, grabbing hold of their clothes with his bill, biting their hands and breaking the skin! And beating their legs with his wings so hard it left immediate bruising! My oldest says it feels like he's waking you with a metal poll. Well yesterday my 9 year old went to put out a fresh waterer and apparently in doing so got too close to Mother. Father attacked for the last time. I fear he could seriously injure a smaller child or even a larger one if they happened to trip and become below his eye level. Father is now off feed, he'll be dinner next weekend. It's just not worth the risk to me and I share my story to say- yes, they can be dangerous!
 
pollinator
Posts: 319
73
dog trees books bee medical herbs
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What an enjoyable thread this has been to read through! Thank you, everyone, for sharing your stories and pictures. I have gotten such a better sense for what a large and enmeshed part a goose can be in a more domestic setting! Love the stories! I do hope someone will have a more positive story to share after the one that was posted last. I realize things can certainly go the way they did in the story, just as it can with any domestic animal whether dog, cat, etc., but I would love to see the thread have a more positive goose story as its most recent one.
 
Annie Collins
pollinator
Posts: 319
73
dog trees books bee medical herbs
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Saucey Mama wrote:Out story, to answer your question: We first bought and raised a female Toulouse named Mother. The children are the ones who've taken care of her since she was a wee gosling, so I don't know if it is from their interaction with her, the fact that she's female, or just her personality, but she's incredibly docile. In fact, she's so docile she wasn't making a good guard! Then our friends who also have gaggle of children told us they were having problems with their male Toulouse, apparently he was too good at guarding and killed their rooster and attacked one of them. Well, we really wanted to hatch goslings, so we said we would take him to breed with ours. We named him Father and had a cute little prenuptial ceremony (neck tie included!) when we introduced the two to each other. Upon getting him home, we noticed an immediate difference in their temperaments- he has been very guarding since day 1 of coming home and man he is SO LOUD!!! So he does a great job warning us any time a predator is near. Knowing that he has a history of aggressiveness I have not let my smaller children (under 8ish) in the run with him, and only allow my older children (9 & 11) to do the care. We have had no problems with him for a full year until now. They are definitely mating finally, as my husband and I witnessed it the other day, so she's laying fertile eggs and ever since he has become MEAN. He attacked both of my older sons this week, grabbing hold of their clothes with his bill, biting their hands and breaking the skin! And beating their legs with his wings so hard it left immediate bruising! My oldest says it feels like he's waking you with a metal poll. Well yesterday my 9 year old went to put out a fresh waterer and apparently in doing so got too close to Mother. Father attacked for the last time. I fear he could seriously injure a smaller child or even a larger one if they happened to trip and become below his eye level. Father is now off feed, he'll be dinner next weekend. It's just not worth the risk to me and I share my story to say- yes, they can be dangerous!



This is a bit of sad story, both for goose and children. I wonder if one were to give consequences to a goose acting out, if that would possibly change the behavior. Consequences, both positive and negative, are part of nature, after all, and how we all learn. I have never had a goose so know little about them as far as direct interaction. But I have known a lot of dogs in my life and have been training them for decades. I have also had my share of cats. All were taught what was acceptable behavior and what wasn't through the use of positive and negative consequences, including our cats. It is amazing how much cats can be taught as far as behavior. With one of ours, as little as tossing a small pillow at him (not throwing it, just tossing it) was enough of a consequence for him to stop the unwanted behavior. If a pillow wasn't available then something else that would not hurt him, but make clear that whatever he was doing was not acceptable. These type of things work very well. I wonder if there would have been something one could do to make clear to the goose in no uncertain terms that the behavior he was doing was unacceptable and thereby put a stop to it? In my world, giving a clear, swift consequence that will stop a very unwanted/dangerous behavior is better than killing the animal. But like I said, I don't know if that is possible with a goose. I somehow get the sense, however, that it would be. I have seen my share of dogs that were very aggressive that people said would not be able to be changed and should be put down have a complete turn-around in their behavior through good, fair, and consequent training. I've also seen a couple of horses be taught to stop aggressive behavior and be saved from being put down. But like I said, I have never had a goose. After reading these stories, however, I'd love the experience of a relationship with one!
 
pollinator
Posts: 2498
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
405
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Annie Collins wrote:

Saucey Mama wrote:Out story, to answer your question: We first bought and raised a female Toulouse named Mother. The children are the ones who've taken care of her since she was a wee gosling, so I don't know if it is from their interaction with her, the fact that she's female, or just her personality, but she's incredibly docile. In fact, she's so docile she wasn't making a good guard! Then our friends who also have gaggle of children told us they were having problems with their male Toulouse, apparently he was too good at guarding and killed their rooster and attacked one of them. Well, we really wanted to hatch goslings, so we said we would take him to breed with ours. We named him Father and had a cute little prenuptial ceremony (neck tie included!) when we introduced the two to each other. Upon getting him home, we noticed an immediate difference in their temperaments- he has been very guarding since day 1 of coming home and man he is SO LOUD!!! So he does a great job warning us any time a predator is near. Knowing that he has a history of aggressiveness I have not let my smaller children (under 8ish) in the run with him, and only allow my older children (9 & 11) to do the care. We have had no problems with him for a full year until now. They are definitely mating finally, as my husband and I witnessed it the other day, so she's laying fertile eggs and ever since he has become MEAN. He attacked both of my older sons this week, grabbing hold of their clothes with his bill, biting their hands and breaking the skin! And beating their legs with his wings so hard it left immediate bruising! My oldest says it feels like he's waking you with a metal poll. Well yesterday my 9 year old went to put out a fresh waterer and apparently in doing so got too close to Mother. Father attacked for the last time. I fear he could seriously injure a smaller child or even a larger one if they happened to trip and become below his eye level. Father is now off feed, he'll be dinner next weekend. It's just not worth the risk to me and I share my story to say- yes, they can be dangerous!



This is a bit of sad story, both for goose and children. I wonder if one were to give consequences to a goose acting out, if that would possibly change the behavior. Consequences, both positive and negative, are part of nature, after all, and how we all learn. I have never had a goose so know little about them as far as direct interaction. But I have known a lot of dogs in my life and have been training them for decades. I have also had my share of cats. All were taught what was acceptable behavior and what wasn't through the use of positive and negative consequences, including our cats. It is amazing how much cats can be taught as far as behavior. With one of ours, as little as tossing a small pillow at him (not throwing it, just tossing it) was enough of a consequence for him to stop the unwanted behavior. If a pillow wasn't available then something else that would not hurt him, but make clear that whatever he was doing was not acceptable. These type of things work very well. I wonder if there would have been something one could do to make clear to the goose in no uncertain terms that the behavior he was doing was unacceptable and thereby put a stop to it? In my world, giving a clear, swift consequence that will stop a very unwanted/dangerous behavior is better than killing the animal. But like I said, I don't know if that is possible with a goose. I somehow get the sense, however, that it would be. I have seen my share of dogs that were very aggressive that people said would not be able to be changed and should be put down have a complete turn-around in their behavior through good, fair, and consequent training. I've also seen a couple of horses be taught to stop aggressive behavior and be saved from being put down. But like I said, I have never had a goose. After reading these stories, however, I'd love the experience of a relationship with one!



I've only had the two geese but my son would carry a large stick to hit them with when they would attack him and it made no difference. The killing of the chicken was the last straw for me and yes it was them, watched them do it.
gift
 
Willie Smits: Village Based Permaculture Approaches in Indonesia (video)
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic