There are some foods that our domestic geese get that they would rarely, if ever, get while in the wild. For instance, certain kinds of fruit and many veggies, particularly root vegetables that are under the ground…
Concerning whole foods, geese tend to subsist mostly on leafy greens whether they are in the wild or in captivity, but domestic geese typically enjoy a more varied diet.
Nonetheless, not all otherwise healthy vegetables are considered good for them. How about carrots? Can geese eat carrots and are they safe for them?
Yes, carrots are safe for geese as long as they are cut up into small pieces or cooked to soften them a little bit. Carrots tend to be very firm, and since geese can’t chew, they can be a choking hazard if you aren’t careful.
Carrots are sort of a funny example when it comes to vegetables for geese: Prepared correctly, they are safe, nutritious and a healthy supplement to the usual diet of our birds.
But otherwise, geese that are in the wild would not be able to gain access to carrots, and even if they could they can’t really eat them. If you want to give carrots to your birds, there’s more you’ll want to know, so keep reading…
Do Geese Like Carrots?
In my experience, yes, as long as they are prepared for them. Carrots tend to be sweet and are reasonably attractive to them as long as they are cut up into small pieces. Geese don’t have any way to effectively or safely eat a whole carrot, however.
This means that, compared to other veggies, we’ll have to do more work to prepare them prior to serving. If you’re willing to do that, carrots can be a good addition to their usual menu.
Are Carrots a Healthy Food for Geese?
Yes, definitely, even if they are not a typical food source for them. Carrots are carbohydrate-rich and reasonably easy for geese to digest. This makes them a good source of energy, but more importantly, they are a highly nutritious vegetable.
Carrots contain a good overall assortment of vitamins and minerals both. Looking at the former, we see that they are one of the very best sources of vitamin A and beta-carotene, along with many of the B-complex vitamins, like B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6.
The B-vitamins are backed up by vitamin C and vitamin K, along with a little bit of folate. Mineral content is also good, but not as good as the vitamins, generally.
Carrots can still give your birds plenty of potassium and manganese along with a little bit of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and calcium.
Together, carrots can do a lot to improve the overall health of your flock. The nutrients present in them will improve nervous system health, circulatory health, organ function, healing, tissue and skeletal growth, and feathering, and they will definitely improve eyesight and eye health.
The only downside is that your birds won’t be able to readily eat carrots unless you prepare them accordingly.
Are Raw Carrots Safe for Geese?
Yes, raw carrots are safe for geese, but there are a couple of caveats. These cannot safely eat whole, raw carrots because they cannot take a bite out of them.
Beyond this, when you chop up carrots for your flock, they must be small pieces that are easy to swallow. Large ones can be a choking hazard for geese.
Are Cooked Carrots Safe for Geese?
Yes, cooked carrots are safe for geese and this is one of the rare examples where the cooked version of a vegetable is probably superior to the raw version.
Cooking carrots will reduce the amount of vitamins and minerals they contain, yes, but it will also soften them and make them easier for geese to handle and swallow, reducing the risk of choking. It also makes these tough vegetables easier to digest.
But a word of warning: never serve your flock any carrots prepared with butter, salt, sugar, cheese or any other such ingredients! It might make a tasty dish for us to enjoy, but that stuff will severely hurt the health of your geese.
Are Purple and White Carrots Okay for Geese?
Yes, they sure are. Carrots of all colors are just fine for geese, including classic orange, purple, white, red and even black carrots!
Are Carrot Tops or Greens Safe for Geese?
Yes, carrot tops, or carrot greens, whatever you prefer to call them are indeed safe for geese. In fact, this might be the very best part of the carrot for your flock!
Not only are they extremely nutritious by themselves, but geese will be highly attracted to these leafy fronds, gobbling them up readily.
Can Carrots Hurt Geese in Any Way?
Potentially in a couple of ways, but only one of them is a major concern and that is choking.
As I mentioned above, geese can’t chew. They don’t have teeth and can’t cope with really hard foods that they can’t swallow whole.
But believe me, they will try, and if they try to swallow a piece of carrot that’s a bit too big, the possibility of choking or crop impaction is always on the table.
To avoid this, it is critical that you cut up carrots into small bites that your geese can easily swallow, or cook them so they soften enough that the possibility of choking is reduced.
The only other consideration is in case you overfeed your flock with carrots. Carrots are generally healthy, but they are not a staple food for geese and they definitely aren’t nutritionally complete.
You shouldn’t try to make them subsist on carrots alone and instead include them as a supplement to their usual, well-rounded diet.
How Often Should Geese Eat Carrots?
I prefer to give geese no more than two small servings of carrots weekly, whether or not they are raw or cooked.
As I’ve already mentioned several times, carrots are a supplement to their diet, not a primary component and definitely not a mainstay for them. They are healthy, yes, and can give your birds good nutrition but they shouldn’t be living on carrots alone.
If you give your geese limited amounts of carrots weekly they will probably look forward to them as a treat or novelty, and they won’t suffer any ill effects from them.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Carrots to Geese?
You have quite a few options for preparing carrots for your flock, actually.
If you’re going to keep the carrots raw, I recommend you dice the carrots into small cubes or bits to minimize the risk of choking and improve overall digestibility.
A large chunk of carrot, even one that your bird manages to swallow, is going to be more difficult for them to digest.
Another way is to shred the carrot, adding the shavings to other foods that they can eat with even greater ease.
If you’re willing to cook the carrots, this will make them much easier to eat and digest at the expense of nutrition, but you don’t want to overdo it: that can make them mushy and can cause other problems.
Boil, roast or steam them just long enough so that you can mash them with a little bit of effort between your fingers and that should do it.
Never Give Geese Carrots if it is Rotting or Moldy
Avoid giving bad, old or moldy carrots to your birds. Don’t treat your geese as trash cans for produce that you let spoil in the refrigerator or that didn’t get harvested in time.
Sure, they might eat it, but you need to know that geese are highly vulnerable to various foodborne illnesses, in particular those caused by certain mold toxins, as with other birds.
Giving your geese bad carrots could make them terribly sick or even kill them. Be responsible and don’t risk it!
Are Carrots Safe for Goslings, Too?
I will say yes, but it is a very cautious “yes.” For starters, goslings have intensive nutritional requirements and carrots just aren’t an ideal option to get them the nutrients they need, or the calories.
But, assuming the goslings have grown up a little bit to around 5 weeks of age, you can serve them carrots as a novelty or treat but I highly recommend you shred them using a cheese grater.
The choking risk that carrots can pose is even greater for goslings than adult geese. If you have any doubts or concerns, I say skip on them because there are plenty of other options for baby geese to eat.
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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