One of the first questions I had about purchasing a goose was “will it get along with my chickens?” You may have noticed that chickens are territorial and do not like to share nicely with newcomers. I was nervous about getting a goose so late in the game with 18 grown chickens and 3 roosters. Needless to say, I shouldn’t have worried. This is how I went about introducing geese to my chickens.
Why you should get a goose
Maybe that was your first question. Why in the world would I need to get a goose? Number one, they lay eggs! Production was my main priority. If I get a farm animal, I want it to work for me and have a purpose. Geese lay eggs that you can eat just like chicken eggs, only larger. I also have an egg allergy, where I can’t eat the yolk of chicken eggs (ironic isn’t it). I’ve heard that egg allergies are not a problem with geese eggs, so I’ll find out if that is true soon enough.
My hubby and I also recently started hatching our own chicken eggs. Our incubator is compatible to hatch geese eggs. I would love to start hatching geese eggs. Have you seen the cost to buy a goose? They’re expensive (at least compared to a chicken). I really haven’t looked into it yet (I will eventually), but I bet there’s a market out there for geese eggs.
Number two is that geese are great protectors because they are loud. If there is anything new that comes around, the goose is honking. We recently had a badger come around (those things are huge!) and the goose was yelling up a storm, causing us to come running to the window to find out what was wrong. The badger wasn’t remotely interested in my chickens, but it was nice to know that the goose was alerting me to a potential predator.
Now, geese should not be purchased for the sole purpose of “protecting” your chickens. These are great animals, but they shouldn’t be counted on as solely a protector. That’s why you need a rooster. Roosters will die fighting to protect their women.
Fun and Cute
Geese that are raised from babies can be cuddly and more friendly than chickens. I’ve read many an article where a person’s goose followed them around like a dog and stayed at their side throughout the day. I think that’s just adorable and I can only hope that my goose turns out the same.
Introducing Geese to Chickens
Now, depending on when you got your goose is how you will determine how you will introduce them to your chickens. If you purchased the goose as a gosling, then you will need to introduce the gosling slowly into the chicken community, just as you would a chick to the older chickens.
Introducing Goslings to your Chickens
I have two separate chicken coops, a small one and then my big main chicken coop. The smaller coop is located next to the big coop, but is separated by two runs. With chicks, I keep them in the small coop until they are about the same size as the older chickens. So for about 3-4 weeks, they are kept separate. Bigger chickens will pick on or even kill smaller chicks. So, because of the runs being next to each other, the chickens and the chicks can see each other and get to know one another. Once they are about the same size, I introduce the chicks into the same coop as the chickens.
The same concept applies for a gosling. Keep the goslings separate from the chickens until they are about the same size. Geese grow quickly and are larger than chickens, so the size should not be an issue for long. If you don’t have a separate coop, use a wire cage. Put the cage in the coop for a couple of days so that the chickens can see and get used to the goslings. After a couple of days, let the goslings out and see how the chickens react to them. If the chickens ignore the goslings, you’re good to go.
Introducing full grown geese to your chickens
When I first got a goose, I got a full grown male African Gray Goose. He was my friend’s goose, but she was moving and couldn’t keep him. So I went and picked him up. We transferred him in a large wire cage that fit in the backseat of my car. My heart went out to him. The goose was shaking from fear the entire car ride.
My main concern was how to introduce this large goose to my 3 roosters. Fernando, my head honcho rooster, is very possessive of the chickens and is a wonderful protector. My other 2 roosters (I call them The Brothers because they are inseparable), are a little squirrly and one is very aggressive. The unknown was whether the roosters would attack the goose as soon as I brought him in. I was wondering whether I should (1) keep the goose in the cage for a day or two, or (2) let him out and see what happened.
My husband picked option 2 and let the goose out into the run as soon as we got home. Needless to say, I shouldn’t have worried. This goose knew how to stand on his own. He just stretched his neck real tall, spread his wings, and walked in like a king. Talk about making an entrance.
Freaked Out Roosters
This is where I had to laugh and say that I am very surprised with what happened next. My roosters were freaked out. They did not know what to do. Fernando tried to hide behind the chickens! My main guy, the head honcho, decided that it was every chicken for himself and that he was out of there. The other two roosters kept a very respectable difference and emitted high pitch screeches. You can see the video below on how the goose and chickens reacted.
For the first day, the goose and chickens kept to themselves. The goose was on the right side of the run and the chickens and roosters stayed on the left. The second day, the chickens were still a little wary, but quickly found the goose feed and discovered the joys of chowing down in the run. The goose was happy with his water bath and didn’t mind sharing his food. By the third day, it was like they had grown up together and now they are a big happy family.
My goose does not like to go inside the coop at night. Eventually, I want to train him to do that. I don’t like thinking about him sitting outside in the run all night in case of predators. But it’s very sweet in that the goose sits outside the coop door in the morning and waits for his friends to come outside to play.
Last thoughts about introducing geese to chickens
So if you are thinking about getting a goose, I would encourage you to do so. I think they are fascinating creatures and I like how different they are from chickens. You shouldn’t have to worry about introducing geese to chickens and how they will react if you do it properly depending on the goose’s age. Geese are a simple and easy way to expand your farm if you are just raising chickens.