How cold is too cold for geese? Winter feed?

bethw(z7 VA)December 8, 2006

The previous owner of our three chinese geese allowed them to free-range 24 hours a day for all of their 8-10 year old lives.

Now that we've have our first truly cold and windy day of the season, I'm worried for them. They absolutely hate to be in the barn, but this morning when I went to feed them, they came up from the pond and ate sitting down; I think to keep their feet warm. They seem perfectly happy sailing about on the pond as usual, but it's supposed to get down to 19°F tonight with a strong wind.

The cold worries me but the wind worries me more. I think for my own piece of mind, they're going in the barn with the ducklings tonight, whether they like it or not.

When do you decide it's too cold?

Second, since they free-range all the time, I only feed them treats in the summer since they have several acres to graze. They won't eat the feed I bought them, although they gobble up corn like maniacs. Is there any edible grass in the winter or should I go look for another feed that they *will* eat?

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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Have you tried them on scratch? Preferably one with several grains rather than just corn.

Geese can be picky. Mine won't touch corn, tolerate scratch some of the time and most of the time will only eat the organic layer mash I buy for the chickens.

Grazing is best for geese, of course, but in winter the turf just isn't enough. This is my second winter with geese and I worry too.

Just posted about rehydrating alfalfa hay for them. I find they eat grains better too when I soak them.

As far as the cold... they can take quite a bit, but it is good if they have a place they can get to that is out of the wind. I always put mine in their house at night and on a handful of really severe days keep them in completely. They hate it, but there isn't much out there for them anyway and MOMMA KNOWS BEST.

If your geese are the kind with the knob on their bills, please note that they can get frostbitten there and that it can be serious. I am not familiar with the Chinese/African/Egyptian type of geese... I like the "goosely geese" descended from the European graylag. I have three Pilgrims and an American Buff. So I can't be more specific about the frostbite question.

You'll find a good discussion of geese and winter feed in this old thread.

Here is a link that might be useful: Geese - Winter feeding

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 7:34PM
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