Protecting your hens is no easy task. Hens seem to get into trouble all day and night sometimes. You might even wonder if they make chicken alarms for when they are in danger. While these alarms don’t exist, we have something better. A guard goose! You might be wondering, Why get a guard goose for my flock? Are they really that great? We are here to tell you that a goose could answer all your problems.
Pros Of A Guard Goose
To convince you that a guard goose is precisely what your flock needs, let’s look at the pros. Here are all the reasons you should get a goose today.
A goose has incredible eyesight compared to a chicken. They see things coming from far away and will alert the flock. Even from a distance, they can see something as small as a rat. Nothing gets past a goose.
There is no mistaking when your goose sees an intruder. You will hear them honking inside the house with the TV on and the kids playing. You want your chicken alarm loud so that you never miss the call for help. Once you hear the honking, you know to check on the safety of your flock.
One of the best things about geese is that they are very territorial. They will protect their flock, home, coop, and all surrounding areas with no problems. The territorial nature of geese is what makes them perfect for protection.
We have all met a goose or two that hissed and charged in an attempt to run us off. Your guard goose will display these same behaviors to anything that they see as a threat. Whether that threat is a rodent, snake, or skunks, your goose will try to make themselves bigger. Geese might not be much in terms of defense, but their loud noises and aggressiveness might be enough to deter most predators.
No Training Needed
Why get a guard goose for my flock? Because guard geese are effortless. There is no special training for geese to guard your flock. Protection and sounding the alarm is their instinct. All you need to do is imprint them to protect chickens instead of other geese. But we will talk more about that later.
Cute Protective Actions
One of the cutest things you will see is your goose watching over the hens. They will make sure all chickens are close and within the boundaries, they have set. Your goose will also keep watch that all the chickens go back into the coop at night. They won’t even enter until everyone is inside and safe. If that isn’t the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, we don’t know what is.
Several Breeds To Choose From
And finally, there are plenty of breeds to choose from. You could select the goose based on breed, looks, temperament, or size. There is no end to the possibilities.
Cons Of Owning A Guard Goose
Geese are not all sunshine and daisies for some. Some goose owners even regret the decision because they aren’t well informed. But you won’t have that problem because we are going to get into the nitty-gritty here.
If you have close neighbors, you won’t want to get a goose. Geese are loud at all hours of the day and night. You might even find that your geese have the urge to notify you of every change of the wind. All of this honking will get nothing but complaints from all around if this is the case.
Chickens can be messy, but they aren’t as large as geese. Goose poop is large and mostly liquid, which makes it difficult to clean. They also like to make a real mess of meals and swimming time.
It might be a no brainer that geese need to swim. A kiddie pool might be enough to satisfy your goose, but some breeds will need larger areas. And you can’t keep a deep pool in your chicken run for risk of chickens becoming trapped. So you will need to provide a separate swimming time every day away from the hen coop.
Geese can’t eat chicken feed and get all the nutrition they require. So you will have to monitor your goose that they are eating well and from their food containers. But this shouldn’t be a problem for most geese unless they prefer chicken food over their own.
Inevitably most owners experience that their geese attack them any time they come into the run. Some of this is due to the goose trying to assert themselves over you. But other times, it is the result of the goose trying to protect the hens from you. Attacking is the number one reason most owners get rid of their guard goose.
How Does It Work?
We mentioned in our pros section that guard geese don’t need any training. But how does that work? The key is to work with your goose’s imprinting instinct. When a goose hatches, they imprint on their flocks to form tight bonds that aren’t easily broken. The goal here is to get your goose to imprint on your hens as their new flock.
The imprinting process should begin as soon as possible. You won’t have much luck getting an adult goose to imprint on your hens. You will want to get your goose young enough that they don’t need to be in the brooder. Depending on the breed, that will be anywhere between 7-9 weeks old. Another option is to raise your chicks and hens of the same age. This will even work if you are adding new chicks to an existing flock.
To succeed in imprinting your goose to your hens, you will only need one goose. If you have more than one goose, your geese will bond to each other and ignore your hens. You will also need to take care that the geese don’t imprint on you. That means you can’t treat them like pets with lots of affection and attention, as hard as that may be.
The relationship between you and the goose should be one of respect. For young geese, keep contact to a minimum until they have imprinted on the flock. After that, you can work on making them friendly toward people. They will come to you when you call and for food, but they won’t cuddle or follow you around. Once your goose sees themselves as part of the hen flock, the rest is natural.
Best Guard Goose Breed
You don’t want to go out and buy just any goose for this job. You should get a goose that is large and known for their defensive skills. Below we have some of the best guard goose breeds and what we love about them.
1. Chinese goose
Chinese geese are some of the most popular guard geese. Their large size and loud natures are precisely the answer to why get a guard goose for my flock. These geese aren’t necessarily more aggressive than other breeds, but their vocals alone make them the best alarms. Not to mention these birds are a beautiful creature to look at.
2. African Goose
Another popular favorite is the African goose. These geese are magnificent and calm tempered. Your African goose will keep a watch over their flock with a sense of pride and purpose. What makes these guys a great candidate is that they are very vocal. They rely more on their voice to ward off danger. Of course, you will hear this and come out to see what the problem is, making them excellent alarms.
3. Tufted Roman Geese
Also called a Roman Tufted, these geese are most known for their fantastic updo. These birds aren’t as large, but they make lovely watch birds. They might not have a mean bone in their body and won’t protect physically. But they have powerful vocals and will warn you of any danger they see. Now what they view as a threat is another issue entirely.
4. Saddleback Pomeranian Goose
While the Saddleback is mostly docile, they are also very territorial. Combine this with their need to be heard, and they make the best guard geese. Not only will they let you know of anything suspicious, but they also try to hold their own. And since these beautiful birds are unique, they can make a great addition to any flock.
Guard Goose Male Or Female
Now that you know the best breeds, the last decision to make is gender. Which makes a better guard goose, and why? Many people might think that getting a male is the best for protection. But they are known to be aggressive during the mating season. It isn’t uncommon for males to kill hens during these times.
Females are more docile, and they typically see the smaller hens as babies that they have to guard. They don’t get aggressive during mating season and rarely fight with hens once a hierarchy is in order. Most owners have the best luck with a single female, and another pro is that you might get a few goose eggs from her as well.
So Why Get A Guard Goose For My Flock?
A guard goose will let you know of anything that poses a danger to your chicken flock. They might have a few challenging characteristics. But once you learn your way around them, you love them as much as your hens.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!