Raising Geese: A Beginner's Guide

Brown Chinese Geese
Photo Credit
H. Mirdha/SS

How to Raise Geese for Eggs

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Are you ready to go for geese? These delightful birds have delicious eggs and are great guardians for chickens, are social, and are great weeders. Learn what to expect from your first flock of geese, how to house and feed them, and how many eggs to anticipate.

Chickens are the most common starting point for hobbyists looking to keep poultry, but once they have a taste for raising chickens, people frequently look to expand their collection. 

Why Raise Geese?

Geese are hardy, low-maintenance birds that produce large eggs. They’re more intelligent and more self-sufficient than chickens and suffer from fewer diseases and parasites.

Added to all this, they’re sweet, funny birds that will add a lot of joy to any yard. They’re often pets. Read on to learn the ins and outs, ups, and featherdowns of adding geese to your backyard flock.

Credit: Fotogrin

Considerations for Raising Geese

Domestic geese are much less aggressive than their wild counterparts, but the famous fighting spirit of birds like the Canada goose hasn’t been eliminated so much as mellowed in their well-bred cousins. 

Geese are spirited, intelligent, curious animals that love to explore and get into mischief. They’re flock animals who need company, but are less hierarchical and can thrive in smaller groups than chickens do. 

Geese can also be quite talkative, or noisy, depending on your perspective. They’ll react loudly to any change or intruder in or near their pen—great for deterring predators or training a “guard goose,” but less great for neighborly relations. 

Their larger size and reactivity also make them a worse fit for a family with small children, who tend to love the quick movements and loud noises that startle geese.  

Credit: Mursalin Depati

Supplies and Set-Up 

Geese are hardy, self-sufficient birds but still need shelter and a secure, predator-proof area to roam around in. 

  • They can live happily in a minimally converted shed, provided enough space. However, it can vary depending on the size of your geese. A good rule of thumb is to provide six square feet of floor space per goose. 
  • The only significant change a standard garden shed would need to become a goose house is the addition of hardware mesh. The hardware mesh should cover the windows and any gaps in the floor or walls. Put a full sheet of mesh under the floor, to further deter burrowing or underground predators. 
  • Hardware mesh is also your best option for fencing. Domestic geese are too heavy to fly, so their fencing needs are pretty much the same as those of chickens. The bottom twelve inches of the fence should be hardware mesh, with additional mesh buried at least six inches underground or spread on the ground outside the fence to prevent digging. In particularly predator-heavy areas, you could consider running electrified wires around the fence as a further deterrent. As always, the best predator deterrents are a strong coop your birds spend the night in and safe feed storage. 
  • The last thing your geese will need to thrive is a source of water to swim and mate in. Domestic geese spend less time in the water than their wild counterparts; their food is on land (versus aquatic plants), so they don’t need a full pond. Your flock should be very happy with a good-sized, shallow plastic tub.

Geese love water bowls where they can submerge their full bills to clean up, so make sure it’s deep enough. The tub should also be checked, emptied, and cleaned regularly. 

Geese Feed and Maintenance 

The first time I went to my local feed store and looked for “geese feed,” I was disappointed not to find any. I wasn’t disappointed when I found the reason for this! Domestic geese largely eat grass, and are more than capable of grazing the bulk of their diet without much interference from you. Fresh, short grass is their favorite food, so grass over three inches (eight centimeters) may need to be mowed before your geese will go for it. Once they start, you’ll never have to mow your lawn again! Geese don’t dabble in mud like ducks nor take dust baths like chickens, so they’re much kinder to your lawn than other poultry. 

However, if you live in a temperate or highly seasonal climate, even the largest lawn will not sustain your flock throughout the year. The trouble with relying on a natural food source is that it can vary with the seasons, the weather, and any number of other interferences. 

Additionally, if you’re hoping to keep your geese fat and happy to either make good meat birds or lay many eggs, they’ll need a bit of a boost from extra food. Layer goose feed is commercially available, and can be placed in a closed feeder in or outside the coop, just like with chickens. Another option is to drop wheat into their water bucket or pool; the geese will enjoy sticking their heads underwater to fish it out, and other pests that want to get at it won’t be able to. 

Geese will also likely need a few supplements, notably grit, to help them grind down their food. This can be as simple as offering them sand, but you can also buy mixed grit with oyster shells mixed in, which will help provide the calcium carbonate they need to form strong, healthy eggshells.

Because of their grass-heavy diet, goose poop is mostly grass, which makes it relatively easy to hose or rinse off many surfaces. This is important, since the poop’s high nitrogen content means it can be harmful to grass and other plants – even “burning” them as it decomposes, especially if it’s allowed to accumulate in one area. However, if the poop is composted, this same high nitrogen content can make it an excellent fertilizer, especially for nitrogen-hungry plants like rose bushes and fruit trees.  

Brown Chinese geese are the best layers of all goose breeds. They’re docile and good foragers, sometimes referred to as “Weeder Geese.”

Goose Eggs 

Goose eggs aren’t nearly as popular as chicken or even duck eggs, which I think is a real shame, as they’re delicious. The eggs are similarly nutritious, delicious, and about twice as big as standard chicken eggs. 

That larger size is good, because geese are much less regular as layers than chickens or even ducks. The average goose can lay an egg every 24 to 72 hours, which might not sound too far off from many chicken breeds, but geese only lay for a few months out of the year. 

Though it can vary between breeds and individuals, peak laying season is usually in the spring. Most geese will produce a clutch of 10 to 15 eggs, and peak fertility usually lasts for around five seasons. 


Overall, geese are intelligent, curious animals that are great fun to watch and interact with. Although their egg production isn’t high in quantity, they make up for it in the quality of their eggs, and company. In many ways, these fascinating birds are the perfect next step for a chicken keeper who’s ready to take on a new challenge. 

About The Author

Chris Lesley

Chris Lesley has been raising backyard chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth-generation poultry keeper. Read More from Chris Lesley

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