Want to add geese to your backyard flock, homestead, or farm, and you already have chickens?
You're right to wonder if geese and chickens live together and how you should handle integrating these two species.
The good news is that chickens and geese can co-exist happily, but there are some important things you need to know:
Can Geese and Chickens Live Together?
Geese and chickens can live together, but there are a few things you need to be aware of.
The main downside is that geese are very protective of their territory and there is a risk that they will attack chickens that they feel are invading their space.
Chickens can also be bullied by geese when a pecking order is established, so it's important to provide enough space for both species.
That said, geese will raise a loud alarm if they feel like there are predators or dangers present, and will help protect your hens.
Also, on the plus side, geese are great at clearing up pests and can help keep your yard clear of the annoying bugs your chickens pass on.
The obvious benefit is that geese lay huge, delicious eggs. They're typically about three times the size of chicken eggs, making them perfect for omelets!
Here's an overview of the pros and cons (I think the pros far outweigh the cons):
The Pros of Geese and Chickens Living Together
- Geese can help protect chickens from predators.
- Geese are excellent weed eaters.
- Chickens provide eggs and meat for the table, while geese also provide eggs, feathers, and down.
The Cons of Geese and Chickens Living Together
- Geese can be aggressive to chickens and may bully them.
- Geese can be messy, they are also a lot more destructive than chickens.
- Geese tend to need more space to roam than chickens to keep them happy and can be harder to round up.
- You'll need to make water available for them to bathe and play in.
If you're thinking about adding geese to your backyard flock or farm, be sure to do your research taking into account the space and land you have available.
Can Geese and Chickens Pass Diseases to Each Other?
Geese and chickens can also pass diseases back and forth to each other, so it's important to keep an eye on both species for any signs of illness.
You will need to keep on top of cleaning up their poop and make sure they can't contaminate each other's food and drinking water.
Make sure you also have a good quarantine area set up in case one of your animals gets sick as separating a sick bird asap is essential.
Can Geese and Chickens Eat the Same Feed?
Geese and chickens have slightly different nutritional needs, and each species requires different feed formulations at different stages of their development.
I know some people who let their mature chickens and geese share food to some extent, and it doesn't cause much of a problem.
Personally, I would keep their feeds separate and give each species specially formulated commercial feeds intended for them.
This way, you can just rest assured that both your chickens and geese are getting all of their nutritional needs met.
What about Housing for Geese and Chickens?
Ideally, you'll want to provide a separate coop for geese and chickens.
The floor should be covered with a deep bedding of straw or wood shavings to help keep the area clean.
You'll also need an outdoor run for your geese where they can get some exercise and play in water.
It's important to keep this area separate from where your chickens roam as chickens do not like getting wet.
In fact, soggy chickens will get too cold during the colder months and it will just end up causing a load of mess and getting their feathers muddy.
Chickens don't use water to clear themselves, they roll around in dust baths to get themselves clean.
Just as geese need their own washing quarters, you should create dust baths in your chickens' runs where they can roll about without having geese disturb their dust baths.
Do Geese Protect Chickens From Foxes?
If you have foxes in your area, bringing some geese into your flock might be the added security you're looking for.
One of the main reasons people add geese to their flock is because they are said to be excellent at protecting chickens from predators like foxes.
I have not personally witnessed this myself, but I have heard a lot of anecdotal evidence that supports this claim.
Geese make a loud honking noise and spread their wings and flap around when they see a predator, which in numbers is enough to make a fox think twice.
Geese can definitely co-exist with chickens, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Be sure to provide separate coops and runs for each species, as well as keeping their nutritional needs in mind when feeding them.
Make sure you have a good quarantine area in case of illness.
Lastly, geese can be great protectors against predators, so if you have foxes or other small animals that prey on chickens in your area, they might be a good addition to your flock.