Does a guard goose need training to be ready to protect your other poultry? If you are having trouble with small predators, or even nosy neighbors, a guard goose might be able to help you keep your flock safe. Learning more about geese before you jump into owning a guard goose will help you be successful in keeping your future geese happy and healthy. I recently received a copy of Kirstin Lie-Nielson’s new book, The Modern Homesteader’s Guide to Keeping Geese. This new book contains much valuable information that will help you decide if adding geese is right for you.
How Does a Guard Goose Operate?
A guard goose is a good idea if you are having a problem with pesky predators. While the goose is also at risk for predator attacks, they are likely to charge any animal that poses a threat to the flock they are imprinted on. What is imprinting? Geese have a strong tendency to closely bond with their “family”. The family can be a flock of ducks, chickens, mixed poultry and people. Imprinting is important to the development of a healthy goose.
Three particular traits make geese worthy of being guards.
- The goose has keen eyesight.
- Geese react to what they see by making loud, aggressive honking noises.
- The goose knows what is considered it’s territory or home area. They are very defensive of home when they perceive a threat.
One Guard Goose Per Flock
While reading The Modern Homesteader’s Guide to Geese, Nielson explains how geese react and if the rumor that they attack all the time is true. Turns out this is not true for the majority of geese you raise on your homestead. In fact, while the guard goose might be awesome at intimidation, they rarely attack full force. Sending up an alarm by honking, wing flapping and a defensive stance is enough to bring the human reinforcements running.
Two factors I did not know were explained in the chapter on the guard goose. If you want to have your chicken flock protected by a goose, it’s better to have only one or two geese and raise them with the flock. The imprinting will bond the goose or geese to the chickens, making them protective of the family flock.
Second, a large flock of geese will innately take on the job of protecting your “territory”. Better than any driveway alarm or door bell, the geese will let you know that someone unknown is on the property. But a large flock of geese may not bond as tightly to a flock of chickens. Nielson recommends one or two geese for each flock of chickens, for optimal guarding.
For the last few years, I have seriously thought about adding geese to our homestead. After reading this book, I think the best course for us will be to only have one or two geese. Now I have to convince the ducks that it’s a good idea to have geese move in!
Tried and True Advice
The Modern Homesteader’s Guide to Keeping Geese covers everything you need to know to raise geese, including:
Profiles of breeds and how to select the best one for your needs
How to “imprint” goslings on a person
Using geese for weed control, soil improvement, and as “watch-geese”
Cooking with goose eggs and meat
Additional coverage includes a look at the rich history of geese on farms in North America and Europe that will enhance any goose keeper’s enjoyment of these intelligent and unique birds.
This practical guide is a must-have essential for the kitchen table of homesteaders, small farmers, permaculturists, and professional farmers looking to add the power of geese to their land.