Although nowhere near as popular as chickens, geese are still important livestock birds. But unlike chickens, geese are mostly (although not completely) herbivorous. This means they eat a diet that is predominantly just plant matter, though they do partake of certain animal proteins.
For domestic geese, fruits and veggies can make up a good part of their diet, but they can’t eat everything that you might think they could. Let’s look at apples, for instance. Is it safe for geese to eat apples?
Apples are safe for geese to eat. Sweet, easily digested, and nutritious, apples are a good source of energy for them and have various vitamins and minerals that they need. Be sure to remove the seeds because these can be very toxic to birds, including geese.
Turns out that most animals you might expect to see on a homestead enjoy apples and can eat them safely, your geese included.
Although they aren’t nutritionally complete, they are a good addition to the diet of your flock and work wonderfully as treats. But, as wholesome as apples are there’s a lot more you need to know before you give them to your birds. I’ll tell you everything below.
Do Geese Like Apples?
Yes! From what I’ve noticed, most geese seem to really enjoy apples as long as they’re cut up into reasonably sized chunks that they can easily swallow. I think the sweet aroma of apples is highly attractive to them. This is one treat you can feel good about giving to them.
Are Apples a Healthy Food for Geese?
Yes, apples are a surprisingly healthy food for geese if they don’t get too many of them. Apples are a good source of energy as mentioned and contain enough moisture that they can help to keep your flock hydrated.
The vitamin and mineral profile, although not quite as good as most of us were led to believe in childhood, is still highly beneficial.
Geese can benefit particularly from the B vitamins present in apples, namely a great assortment of B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6.
Apples also have a good amount of folate along with vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, and a decent amount of vitamin C. Pretty impressive, and all stuff geese need even though they make their own vitamin C.
The mineral content is also beneficial, but less impressive, as apples only contain a decent amount of phosphorus, potassium and manganese with lesser amounts of iron, calcium and magnesium.
Together, these nutrients can benefit a goose’s growth and healing, feathering, organ function, circulation, and even promote proper cellular division and DNA synthesis. Important benefits for sure, and you can do a lot worse if you want a sweet snack for your flock!
Are Raw Apples Safe for Geese?
Yes, they sure are. However, because geese don’t really chew their food you must make sure that any raw apples you give to them are small enough for them to swallow easily. The benefit is that raw apples contain the most nutrients which will benefit your birds.
Are Cooked Apples Safe for Geese?
Yes, cooked apples are just fine for geese. Cooked apples have an advantage over raw apples and that they are easier to swallow and digest, but the major trade-off is that they lose a dramatic amount of vitamins and some minerals in the process.
I recommend you give raw apples to your geese; just make sure you chop them up into small pieces.
Can Geese Have Red Apples?
Yes. Red apples are totally fine for geese, any variety.
Can Geese Have Green Apples?
Yes, they are. Any green apple is safe and healthy for geese.
Are Apple Seeds Safe for Geese?
No, they are not. Be sure to remove the seeds from any apples that you give to your geese. This is because apple seeds have compounds which are essentially chemical precursors to cyanide if they are digested.
Considering that geese and other birds grind up food in their gizzard, these seeds will be broken open to release this compound which will then be absorbed into their digestive tract.
A few apple seeds are unlikely to cause harm, but it won’t take too many before there are serious negative effects… Core and seed those apples!
Can Geese Eat Apple Cores?
Yes and no. Technically, yes, geese can eat an apple core if it is chopped up very small. I mean to say they can swallow it and digest it. However, there’s no reason for geese to eat apple cores because they are not nutritious, generally.
Can Apples Hurt Geese in Any Way?
Usually not, assuming you or making sure your geese have a balanced diet and you are taking the time to remove the seeds. However, I caution all goose owners to think twice before feeding geese store-bought apples that have been treated with pesticides.
Birds are especially sensitive to many of these pesticide chemicals, and even thorough washing and peeling won’t remove all traces.
A better bet is to give them apples that you grow yourself, certified organic apples, or apples that you purchase from a trusted grower.
How Often Should Geese Eat Apples?
Apples are a healthy treat or supplement for a goose’s diet, but they should still only get two or three small portions weekly. Make no mistake; your geese will probably love them and be happy to eat as much as they can get, but this won’t make for a nutritious and well-rounded diet.
Use apples as a supplement to their usual menu or as an occasional treat and they will do fine.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Apples to Geese?
If you’re going to give apples to your flock, you’ve got to prepare them ahead of time. No goose can take a bite out of an apple like we do!
Accordingly, take the time to chop the apple into small chunks that can be easily swallowed without the risk of choking, or you might consider shredding the apple using a grater and mixing it with other foods they like.
Don’t forget to remove the seeds and core the apples before you chop them up!
Never Give Geese Apples if They are Rotting or Moldy
One more thing to keep in mind is that you should only ever give fresh, wholesome produce to your birds.
Birds generally, and geese specifically, are shockingly vulnerable to the toxins produced by some kinds of mold and other microorganisms that take hold of decomposing food. These toxins could kill your geese or make them terribly ill!
My rule of thumb is that I will not feed a goose anything that I myself wouldn’t eat when it comes to freshness.
Are Apples Safe for Goslings, Too?
Yes, apples are safe for goslings with a few reservations. For starters, you want to let them grow up a little before they get apples. Anywhere from 5 to 6 weeks of age is probably appropriate. Also, give them like a treat for baby geese: apples are healthy, but very sugary. Goslings have strict nutritional requirements which must be met to prevent developmental problems.
A tiny portion, once or twice a week, is more than adequate to give your goslings a little pep in their step and keep them happy without risking nutritional deficiency.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.
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