In the wild, geese primarily eat a diet of wild, green plant matter along with a few select bits of animal protein, usually various creatures that live in or near the water.
But in captivity, these big birds enjoy a significantly more varied menu, one consisting of leafy greens, yes, but also additional veggies and other things.
In fact, they can eat many of the same vegetables that we eat! How about something like cucumbers? Can geese eat cucumbers and are they safe for them?
Yes, cucumbers are safe for geese and they are a nutritious, hydrating addition to their diet. Cucumbers have lots of good vitamins and minerals that geese need, and they are very hydrating. However, geese shouldn’t eat too many because too much moist food can cause indigestion.
Cucumbers are a great snack for your birds, and they can be a worthwhile, ongoing addition to their menu- as long as you don’t give them too many or give them too often. And don’t be surprised if your birds start to look forward to that periodic treat of cucumbers!
Cucumbers are healthy and wholesome, yes, but there is still more you’ll need to know before you feed them to your geese. I’ll tell you all about it in the rest of this article.
Do Geese Like Cucumbers?
Yes, in my experience, they do. Although it usually takes them a little bit of time to warm up to them.
Geese can’t exactly bite through a whole cucumber, but they will readily scarf down smaller, more sizable chunks. This is when they seem to really start to enjoy them.
Are Cucumbers a Healthy Food for Geese?
Yes, cucumbers are definitely a healthy food option for geese. However, they are very low in calories and so are not a great source of energy for them.
On the other hand, cucumbers are highly nutritious with a good array of vitamins and minerals alike that your birds will need.
For starters, looking at the vitamins, we see a good amount of most of the B complex vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and folate. These are supported by a good amount of vitamin C and A surprisingly tremendous amount of vitamin K. All good stuff so far!
But we have the minerals to look at, and although not quite as impressive as the vitamins your geese will be glad to get iron and calcium, manganese and magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
When you consider all the benefits that these are nutrients can provide, they will prove to be a great health boost for your birds, improving everything from feathering, growth, and healing to organ function, circulation and the regulation of their metabolism.
Even better, cucumbers are very hydrating, and this makes them a great option for a springtime or summertime treat for the flock; it can help them get just a little bit more water intake.
Are Raw Cucumbers Safe for Geese?
Yes, raw cucumbers are completely safe for geese. Raw cucumbers are best for them because they have the best possible amount of nutrition and are easy for them to eat and digest assuming they are cut up into appropriately sized pieces.
Are Cooked Cucumbers Safe for Geese?
Yes, strictly speaking, cooked cucumbers are also safe for geese but I recommend you avoid cooking them in the first place…
It won’t make them any easier for your birds to eat, and another downside is that the cucumbers will lose a significant amount of vitamin content during cooking.
And, in case the thought crossed your mind, you should never serve your geese any cucumbers that have been cooked with ingredients they shouldn’t eat: things like butter, oils, salt, seasonings, sauces and so forth.
Can Geese Eat Cucumber Skins?
Yes, geese can eat and digest cucumber skins with no problem.
They are completely safe, but as I mentioned above don’t expect your geese to bite through a whole cucumber. They are a bit too firm for that, though some larger geese can manage okay.
That said, you do not have to peel the cucumber before you cut it up, either.
Can Geese Eat Cucumber Seeds?
Yes, geese can eat cucumber seeds! Good thinking, but cucumber seeds are completely safe and even nutritious for geese. No need to seed before you chop.
Are Pickles Safe for Geese to Eat?
No! Pickles are usually made from cucumbers, but have way too much salt and other ingredients to be safe for geese.
In fact, a few pickles can easily cause sodium poisoning, or hypernatremia, in geese and in a very best case scenario they are still facing serious digestive upset and some ghastly diarrhea.
Don’t risk it; don’t feed pickles to your geese!
Can Cucumbers Hurt Geese in Any Way?
Generally not, assuming you aren’t feeding them too many and they are still getting plenty of other foods to provide the nutrients that they need.
The big thing to remember with cucumbers is that they are extremely low in calories, so they aren’t going to give geese much in the way of energy.
But assuming you aren’t overdoing it, and you are cutting up the cucumbers into small and manageable pieces prior to serving them, you shouldn’t expect any issues.
How Often Should Geese Eat Cucumbers?
Cucumbers are definitely a healthy option for your geese, but they aren’t a primary part of their diet and should never be a mainstay because they are so low in calories.
Because of this, I recommend you give your birds anywhere from 2 to 3 small, supplementary servings of cucumber per week, and don’t be afraid to rotate it out with other seasonal veggies they can have.
And, be cautious about the serving sizes: you don’t have to worry about calories, but cucumbers are highly moist and if geese eat too much moist food it can cause diarrhea and other issues. Just something to be aware of…
What’s the Best Way to Serve Cucumbers to Geese?
All I do, and all you should do, is cut up the cucumbers into bite-size bits that are appropriate to however big or small the geese are.
Bigger birds can handle bigger bites, and the biggest, most adventurous geese might in fact be able to take a nibble out of a whole cucumber. But they generally won’t be too attracted to them this way.
Bite-size pieces are the order of the day, and as a reminder, you don’t have to peel or seed them first; both are safe and easily digested by geese.
Never Give Geese Cucumbers if They are Rotting or Moldy
Any cucumbers that you give to your flock must be fresh, clean and wholesome. Never give your birds any produce, including cucumbers, that are old, moldy, slimy, or rotten.
Bad food can easily sicken geese, and if the food is contaminated with various mold toxins and other nasty stuff it could even kill them!
Whether you grew them yourself or had them inside your own refrigerator, if the cucumbers have gone bad just toss them out, don’t toss them to your geese!
Are Cucumbers Safe for Goslings, Too?
Yes, cucumbers are generally safe for baby geese. And that being said, you do have to feed them cautiously and only when they are old enough to start having some novel foods.
I like to wait until goslings are about 5 or 6 weeks old before they start getting new types of produce to try. Make sure that any pieces you give them are very small to prevent choking.
And do keep in mind that cucumber is nowhere close to supplying the calorie or nutrient requirements of goslings. Because of this, it’s basically just a treat to let them try, and it should never take the place of any early life feed or other foods they need more.
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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