If you are even passing away familiar with the diet of ducks and geese, you probably know that they eat mostly plants. This means that geese are herbivores, right? No, not so fast!
Geese are technically omnivores even though they eat mostly plant matter, and geese in the wild eat a good variety of animal proteins from various sources. So, is it true then that they eat meat, and is it safe for them to do so?
Yes, meat is safe for geese, though it should ideally come from certain sources that are a natural part of their diet. Wild geese eat things like insects, slugs, snails, and small fish. Domestic geese can even eat cooked chicken, pork, and beef.
Don’t get me wrong, these birds are not particularly carnivorous. They are opportunistic feeders, and will eat various small creatures that are usually found near water sources; they aren’t running down and killing their prey like a dog or cat would, most times!
Nonetheless, meat is actually an important part of a healthy diet for geese, and there’s a lot you need to know on the subject so keep reading.
Do Geese Like Meat?
Yes, broadly speaking they do.
It’s hardly uncommon to see geese snatching insects out of the grass or off of the water’s surface. Likewise, they are really prolific predators of slow-moving creatures that can’t get away, such as the aforementioned slugs and snails.
Geese can even eat small fish, and there are a few breeds that prey on fish more than others.
But in any case, your own flock will always be happy to get some high-quality protein in the form of meat, whatever kind of animal it comes from.
Is Meat Good for Geese?
Yes, it definitely is. Like I said above, geese really need animal protein in their diet to fulfill various nutritional requirements. They don’t need a whole lot, but they do need some.
Of course, the nutritional content of meat can be drastically different depending on the species of creature that it comes from.
But, in general, you can always depend on meat to have lots of protein and calories, and also lots of fats, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
But in all cases, you can depend on the nutrients found in meat to significantly improve the growth, healing, feathering, and various other bodily processes of your birds…
This makes it essential for young geese that are growing quickly, any goose that is recovering from an illness or injury, or any goose that is undergoing molting.
In fact, for domestic geese that are raised specifically for their own meat, their diet will be supplemented with meat in one way or another, whether it is an ingredient in their feed or given to them directly in the form of insects and other creatures.
This is one of the few ways to ensure that geese can put on weight both quickly and healthily.
What Sorts of Meat Do Geese Usually Eat?
When it comes to meat that geese could conceivably eat in the wild, most species will eat a variety of aquatic invertebrates, insects, fish, and related creatures.
Some of their favorite foods include slugs, snails, small fish, mollusks, and of course insects. Worms and similar critters are sometimes eaten, too…
Basically, anything that’s small and easy for a goose to catch, and swallow whole, is on the menu – assuming it isn’t harmful or dangerous.
And as with any meat, this wild fare will provide lots of protein, fat, and various nutrients for these birds.
Can Geese Eat Meats that People Eat?
Yes, to a large degree, but preparation is important. Geese can actually eat things like pork, beef, turkey and chicken assuming that you take the time to cook it.
They can likewise have these proteins if any of them are incorporated into pellets or other feed as an ingredient.
To be totally clear, no, geese don’t track down these animals to prey on them or scavenge from them in the wild; you won’t ever catch a goose legitimately ripping flesh from bone in order to feed!
But nonetheless, their bodies are capable of handling and digesting these meats in order to extract nutrition from them.
Is Raw Meat OK for Geese?
Yes, raw meat is safe for geese with a few caveats. Obviously, geese in the wild eat nothing but raw or fresh meat.
When it comes to various invertebrates and small creatures that would normally find themselves on the menu, geese are fairly well adapted to eating them without much risk or worry.
However, you can never rule out the possibility of foodborne illness, parasites, and other bad outcomes when it comes to your birds eating raw meat, and this is especially important for the non-standard types of meat mentioned above, beef, pork and so forth.
Is Cooked Meat Safe for Geese?
Yes, cooked meat is just fine for your geese, and in some ways, it’s the best way to give it to them without worry of complications. Cooking any kind of meat, whether it is whole or not, will drastically cut down on infection from germs and parasites.
For this reason, I highly recommend that you cook any meat you plan on giving to your geese, or incorporate it into their feed.
Can Meat Hurt Geese in Any Way?
Yes, potentially. The most obvious risk is that of disease or parasite infestation from undercooked or tainted meat. It’s a constant problem for all sorts of animals, geese included, and though these birds are generally hardy and resilient, they are not invincible.
If you have a choice, you should only serve fresh and fully cooked meat to your birds, or else some sort of food that has meat in it that has also been fully cooked.
The other consideration when feeding geese meat is nutritional imbalance. Simply stated, geese just don’t need that much meat in their diet compared to other animals.
This doesn’t mean they won’t eat a lot of meat if they are allowed to, or if you give them too much. That outcome can quickly start to cause problems!
Excess animal protein intake can be very hard on the digestive tract and also on a goose’s kidneys. And as nutritious as meat is, it’s not the mainstay food for them and they cannot live on it alone.
How Often Should Geese Eat Meat?
Geese can have meat regularly, but they should have it in moderation, treated as a necessary, but in limited quantities. How much they get and how often depends on what form it takes.
If your geese, like so many domestic birds, are subsisting primarily on specially formulated waterfowl feed, then they’re already getting their protein requirement from the feed and should be fed with it according to their nutritional requirements.
But if you plan on giving your geese insects, fish, slugs, snails, and other things that they should be getting those whole food options three or perhaps four times a week, again depending on their nutritional requirements and also the size of the birds.
Larger birds need a little more protein, of course!
What’s the Best Way to Serve Meat to Geese?
Again, the best way to give me to your flock depends upon what form it takes. If you’re dealing with a natural or whole food option in the form of small critters, fish, worms, insects and so forth, you can give them to your geese as they are and let them gobble them up at will.
For any other kind of meat, I highly recommend you cook it thoroughly until it is well done, then chop or slice it up into small pieces that your birds can swallow easily.
If, for whatever reason, that won’t work for you then shred it and mix it into other kinds of food in order to fortify it with more protein and nutrients.
Never Give Geese Meat if it is Rotting or Spoiled
Just because geese can and will eat certain types of raw, or even live, meat in the wild, this doesn’t mean they are immune to foodborne illnesses. Far from it!
Because of this, one of the worst things you can do is give any sort of rotting, spoiled or otherwise bad meat to your flock.
Tainted or contaminated meat can easily give diseases to your birds or cause them to pick up parasites which can turn into devastating infestations. Either is going to make them very ill and can easily kill them.
Whatever kind of meat you’re going to give to your geese and whatever form it takes, always make sure it is fresh and prepared properly!
Is Meat Safe for Goslings, Too?
Yes, but in a far more limited way than adult geese. Aside from being young, delicate, and more sensitive to digestive trouble than adults, goslings can only handle tiny insects, mealworms, the smallest fish, and things like that.
They need the protein and nutrients, for sure, but you can make a great case that they are better off getting what they need early in life from waterfowl feed.
In any case, it will not harm them or put them at a disadvantage if you wait for them to grow up a little bit before you start giving them real meat.
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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