Can Geese Eat Nuts? Is it Safe?

When you stop to consider the likely diet of geese out in the wilderness, you probably imagine them eating all sorts of plants and maybe a choice bug or two.

collage of geese eating various foods
A collage of geese eating various foods

You’d be right in this regard, and of course, it makes sense that geese would eat leaves, sprouts, and other edible greenery like that but are there any other parts of a plant that geese can eat? How about nuts? Can geese eat nuts, and is it safe?

Yes, most kinds of tree nuts are safe for geese to eat and are nutritious. However, any nuts that you give to them should be shelled and free of any added salt, seasonings, or other additives.

Nuts can actually be a remarkably healthy addition to your flock’s diet. They are jam-packed with protein, good fats and a great assortment of nutrients that can benefit geese.

But you’re going to have to use discretion when it comes to feeding them: many nuts you buy from the store are covered in stuff that you don’t want your birds to have.

Nothing to be scared of, you just need to pay attention. I’ll tell you all about it and the rest of this article…

Do Geese Like Nuts?

Yes, they do. Or rather I should clarify that most geese I have seen tend to like at least some kinds of nuts. Many geese like all kinds of nuts!

And you might be surprised to learn that in the wild geese will flock, naturally, around potential sources of nuts like acorns for easy meals that are full of nutrieents and energy.

Are Nuts a Healthy Food Choice for Geese?

Yes, but the only caveat is that they should get them in strict moderation. In fact, nuts tend to be a pretty inspired choice when it comes to rounding out the diet of geese: they are a terrific source of easily digested protein, full of good, healthy fats, and crammed with minerals and vitamins that will certainly benefit your birds.

Speaking of vitamins and minerals, let’s look at them. Obviously, the nutritional content of nuts will be different depending on what kind of nut we are talking about, so for this example, we’ll look at one of the most well-rounded and popular nuts, almonds.

Up first is the vitamin breakdown, and almonds have a great assortment of B complex vitamins including vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and folate. These are supplemented by a good amount of vitamin E and a little bit of vitamin A and choline.

The mineral content of almonds, and most nuts, is also excellent. They have tremendous amounts of magnesium, manganese and phosphorus and slightly lesser but still stellar amounts of iron, calcium, calcium, zinc, copper and selenium.

When you combine the micro- and macronutrient profile of almonds you’ll see that it can and will improve almost everything about a goose’s overall health:

  • ✓ circulatory health,
  • ✓ immune system function,
  • ✓ growth and healing of tissues and skeleton,
  • ✓ feathering,
  • ✓ nervous system function,
  • ✓ cellular reproduction,
  • ✓ disease resistance,
  • and more – all stand to benefit from adding nuts to their diet.

It’s no exaggeration to say that a few handfuls of nuts every now and then could make a huge difference in their overall well-being.

Are Raw Nuts Safe for Geese?

Yes, raw nuts are safe for geese. Typically, raw nuts are best for geese and most tend to be easy for them to eat and digest. And they’re safe, as long as they’re shelled and small enough to easily swallow.

Are Cooked Nuts Safe for Geese?

Yes, cooked nuts are also safe for geese, but there are a few more reservations associated with them. If you’re going to give your flock cooked nuts, they mustn’t have been prepared with any salt, sugar, seasonings, and other ingredients that can be bad for them.

Also something to keep in mind is that cooked nuts will always have a reduced nutritional profile compared to raw, fresh ones; that’s because the cooking process reduces vitamin content significantly and sometimes even minerals.

Can Geese Have Almonds?

Yes. Almonds are among the most popular nuts in the world, for people and for animals, and they happen to be greatly loved by geese also.

Can Geese Have Acorns?

Yes, surprisingly! Acorns tend to be problematic for many animals because, when untreated, they contain high levels of tannins which can quickly lead to toxicity when eaten.

However, these compounds don’t seem to affect geese or other birds, and it’s common to see flocks of them eating acorns that have fallen from trees.

Can Geese Have Cashews?

Yes, but with a little bit of caution. Cashews are another nutritious nut and a great addition to the diet of your birds, but that crescent shape can be a choking hazard. Large cashews should be split or crushed prior to serving.

Can Geese Have Hazelnuts?

Yes, they sure can. Geese seem to like hazelnuts particularly, but they can only have shelled hazelnuts safely. Take care of that and there will be no problems…

Can Geese Have Peanuts?

Yes, geese can eat peanuts safely. You might or might not know that peanuts aren’t real nuts, they are legumes, but regardless they are still safe for geese to eat. Make sure you don’t give them salted ones by mistake!

Can Geese Have Pistachios?

Yes, pistachios are safe for geese but again with caution: you must shell pistachios prior to serving, as those pointy shells are a significant choking hazard for geese and nearly indigestible.

Can Geese Have Walnuts?

Yes, but only if they are shelled. Walnut shells are incredibly dense and hard, and there’s no way a goose can deal with them. Walnuts themselves are extremely healthy, though!

Can Nuts Be Problematic for Geese in Any Way?

Yes, and in a couple of different ways if you are careless…

For starters, any nut that has a large, hard shell should be shelled prior to serving. The shells, aside from being generally indigestible in many cases, can also pose a secondary choking hazard as discussed above.

Then there’s the fact that some nuts themselves, edible though they may be, can be a bit too large for a goose to swallow easily. In this case, the nut should be roughly crushed into smaller pieces.

Then there is the fact that nuts are not truly nutritionally balanced to be a constant part of a goose’s diet. They are only a supplement to their usual diet, though they are a highly nutritious one and a good source of energy for all kinds of birds.

If you give your geese too many nuts they’ll be getting too much of certain nutrients, and too much protein, but they won’t be getting everything needed to thrive.

How Often Should Geese Eat Nuts?

Depending on the specific nut and the needs of your flock, I recommend two to three small servings of nuts weekly as part of a well-rounded diet.

As mentioned earlier, you should never, ever give your geese nothing but nuts, as this will quickly lead to serious problems and dietary deficiencies.

You can use nuts specifically as a supplement to their usual diet of feed or other whole foods, or even hand them out as a treat, something that I like to do with my own geese.

If you keep them in a tin and give them a shake when it is treating time, they will come running and flapping.

What’s the Best Way to Serve Nuts to Geese?

Serving nuts to your flock is very simple so long as you remember to shell them and, in the case of very large nuts, crack or crush them to reduce them to a more manageable size for easy eating.

Aside from a potential choking hazard, keep in mind that nuts or shells can sometimes block up the crop of a goose and that’s a potentially life-threatening event.

Never Give Geese Nuts if They’re Rancid or Moldy

Nuts contain lots of fats. And even though they are good fats those fats can go rancid, and nuts can spoil. When that happens, they can host mold, fungus and other nasty microorganisms that can potentially make geese extremely sick if they eat them.

You never want to give your flock any whole foods that you wouldn’t feel comfortable eating yourself if it came down to it. If you have any nuts that are obviously bad, smell funky or are visibly discoloring, you don’t want to chance it: throw them away and go get fresh.

Are Nuts Safe for Goslings, Too?

Yes, nuts can be a safe food for goslings but with some significant reservations. First, you’ve got to take the time to crush nuts into small pieces that they can easily eat. Think something like a coarse cake batter or wet sand texture…

Then, you must be sure that goslings don’t get too much; it is easy for them to overdo it on a diet that is rich in nuts. They should be sticking to their starter feed for the majority of their nutritional needs at this phase of life until they are at least 5 weeks old or so.

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