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Animal Sciences and Industry


1. When is the correct age to pluck geese?
Young geese can be plucked at least three times; 92 and 16 weeks of age and just before marketing. However, processors don’t like to buy geese that have been plucked just prior to marketing because it makes them harder to pick.

2. How should geese on pasture be managed?
One acre of succulent pasture will support 20 to 40 geese. For best results, the goslings should be 6 weeks old before being turned out to pasture. Provide shade and water at several locations in the field. Keep the goslings hungry; a light feeding of grain (3 lb./bird) at night is sufficient. Ref. L. Waterfowl – "Raising Geese".

3. Can geese be used to control weeds in crops?
Yes, they are very good at eating weeds in certain crops. For some reason geese will eat grass and young weeds as quickly as they appear but will not touch certain cultivated crops.

Two to four geese are needed per acre in row crops; more may be needed in beds. White Chinese and Africans are the best breeds for weeding because they are more active than other breeds. Place water troughs at far end of field so geese will work the entire field. Provide shade. Small amounts, 5 to 20 lb./100 geese/day, of supplemental feed should be provided. The geese must be hungry to graze well. Strawberries (until the berries ripen), orchards, nurseries are types of crops that geese will weed. Ref. L. Waterfowl – "Raising Geese".

4. How can you determine the sex of adult geese and ducks?
In mature geese, masculinity is usually expressed by a larger body, longer neck, and a somewhat coarse and larger head than those of the females. In the Pilgrim breed from day-old maturity, the down, the plumage color of males is light or white, and in the females a dove-gray. The day-old Embden male has a lighter shade of gray present than the female.

Mature male ducks are also commonly larger in body and head parts than the females. The male has a soft, throaty quack; the female, a loud, distinct, and harsher quack. The main tail feathers curl forward on the drake. In colored breeds the males are more brilliantly colored than females.

Contact a Poultry Specialist for diagrams showing how to sex adult geese by examination of the sex organs.

5. What is a possible cause of leg weakness in ducks and geese?
Some breeds of ducks and geese, particularly the Embden, have an above average need for B-complex vitamins, particularly niacin. Administration of a water soluble stress pack (which contain niacin) in the drinking water is recommended.

6. Is chicken feed satisfactory for ducks and geese?
Ducks and geese can be fed chick starter and grower rations if commercial duck and geese feed in not available. These rations should not contain sulfa drugs because they may be toxic to ducks.

7. What are some of the poisons that may be toxic to goslings?
Cockle burrs, milkweed, moldy feed and excess salt under the right conditions, are toxic to goslings.