Wild and domestic geese alike can eat all kinds of plants. They love grasses, sprouts, tender roots, leaves and a whole lot more. But compared to their wild cousins, domestic geese usually get a much better and broader menu- including some fresh produce!
All kinds of veggies make great supplements for a goose’s diet, but they can’t eat every kind, even some of the really healthy ones. You’ve got to know which ones to avoid giving your flock. So what about fall produce like pumpkins? Can geese eat pumpkins and are they safe?
Yes, pumpkins are safe for geese to eat, generally. Pumpkin also has a variety of nutrients that geese need. However, you should only give them the tender flesh and seeds, as the skin and guts can both be troubling, and they tend not to like them anyway.
When you consider the size and shape of a pumpkin, it seems like something that geese would just totally ignore, doesn’t it? They’re just too big and too massive, and likely too hard for geese to break into.
That might be true in the wild, but if you can spare a few minutes to prepare pumpkin for them you’ll find that your flock should really love the stuff!
But, as with many such vegetables, you’ll need to know quite a bit more before you hand over a little pumpkin in the fall. Keep reading; I’ve got a lot more for you below.
Do Geese Like Pumpkin?
Yes, surprisingly enough, they do! Or at least I have only ever seen a few geese that won’t eat the seeds or the soft flesh if cut up into an appropriate size. Geese love all kinds of seeds- you already know that- and pumpkin flesh is sweet and highly appealing to them.
Is Pumpkin an OK Food for Geese?
Yes indeed, it is. Pumpkin is often thought of in the context of various delicious fall desserts, and because of that it is easy to forget that it is quite nutritious all by itself.
Pumpkin can serve your flock as a great source of energy in the form of carbohydrates and also a really nice variety of vitamins and minerals that they need. It even has a little bit of protein!
If we assess the vitamins first, we will see that pumpkins are one of the very best sources of vitamin A and beta-carotene around. Other than that, the B-complex vitamins are well represented with vitamins B1, B2, B5 and B6 all being fairly abundant along with vitamin C vitamin E, vitamin K, and folate.
Pumpkins contain a good assortment of minerals, too, although this assortment is not quite as strong as the vitamins: your flock will still benefit from the iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and manganese in pumpkins.
If we look at the net effect these nutrients have, adding pumpkin to the diet of your birds certainly can improve everything from their circulatory health and immune system function to their eyesight, nervous system, organ health, feathering and a lot more.
You can even help females lay eggs more easily, and it will improve egg viability by thickening their shells.
This is a pretty remarkable set of benefits for a single food, and one of the reasons why you should always look for an opportunity to add pumpkin to the menu in the fall.
Is Raw Pumpkin Safe for Geese?
Yes, raw pumpkin is safe for geese. Just keep in mind that geese typically don’t like or need all parts of the pumpkin. Raw pumpkin, in any case, has a big advantage in that it will always contain the best possible amount of nutrients.
Is Cooked Pumpkin Safe for Geese?
Yes, it is, and this is one of the rare examples where cooking a veggie can make it a better option overall for your geese.
Cooking will reduce the vitamin content significantly, though, and even impact the minerals, but it can soften the flesh and toast the seeds to make them more digestible and also more appealing to your birds.
Are Pumpkin Seeds Okay for Geese?
Yes, big ol’ pumpkin seeds are fine for geese. They’re surprisingly nutritious and immediately appetizing to them. Just keep in mind that the largest pumpkin seeds can still be a potential choking or crop impaction risk even for geese.
Is Pumpkin Flesh Okay for Geese?
Yes, pumpkin flesh is fine for geese and is really what you should be looking to feed to them if you can. It is soft, tasty and surprisingly nutritious but you’ll have to do the work of cutting it up into bite-sized chunks for your flock.
Is Pumpkin Skin Okay for Geese?
Yes, in a manner of speaking, but practically, it isn’t an option for geese because it is so dense and hard. It’s possible that geese will still eat it if you cut it up into tiny cubes or something, but you might not want to waste time with it.
Are Pumpkin Guts Okay for Geese?
Yes, but with caution. Geese can eat pumpkin guts, but I will tell you right now that in my experience, geese tend to avoid them and won’t eat them.
If they will, you’ll need to be cautious because they are so stringy and slimy they are actually a pretty significant contributing factor to crop impaction.
If you want my advice, remove the guts and throw them in the trash the same you would if you were getting a pumpkin ready for Halloween. Make sure to scrape the seeds out, though; you’ll want to feed those to your flock.
Can Pumpkin Hurt Geese in Any Way?
Pumpkin is only a problem for geese if they’re getting way too much of it, too often, or if they are getting pumpkin to the exclusion of other foods that are more nutritionally complete.
As long as your geese aren’t eating huge quantities of pumpkin and are not missing out on better foods, it won’t be an issue…
How Often Should Geese Eat Pumpkin?
I recommend giving geese no more than two, maybe three, small servings of pumpkin weekly. This is entirely adequate to give them a great boost of nutrition and some variety in their diet, without risking any problems associated with overconsumption or nutritional deficits.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Pumpkin to Geese?
The worst part about giving pumpkins to geese is that they require some significant prep work. For starters, you need to cut the pumpkin open, get rid of those guts, preferably retain the seeds, and then start chunking out the flesh into pieces that are appropriate for your geese.
Some geese will be happy to eat it raw, as is, but if they aren’t and you want to make it more appetizing, you might need to lightly roast or steam the pumpkin.
Never Give Geese Pumpkin if it is Rotting or Moldy
It’s easy to imagine geese in the wild eating whatever food they can come across, no matter what kind of shape it is in, but you might be surprised to learn that geese are quite vulnerable to a variety of foodborne illnesses.
Specifically, various kinds of mold are known producers of toxins that can be extremely deadly to all kinds of birds.
If you have an old, decaying pumpkin, maybe one that you carved up for Halloween and don’t want to throw in the trash, you might decide to give it to your geese or other animals.
This can be a mistake that could cost them their life: never give your geese any kind of food, including pumpkins, that is moldy or spoiled.
The rule of thumb I use is that if I wouldn’t eat the food, specifically fruits and vegetables, then I won’t even think of giving it to my birds.
Is Pumpkin Safe for Goslings, Too?
Yes, you can give pumpkin to baby geese, but you’ve got to be a lot more careful and preferably only give it to them once they are about 5 weeks old or so.
For starters, be very careful with those seeds: they’re large enough to be a real choking risk for goslings. I would avoid giving them the guts entirely.
They can have a few little nibbles of the flesh, but you’ll probably need to chop it into even smaller pieces to make it easy for them to swallow.
And as always, be very careful that you don’t let your babies fill up on pumpkin and miss out on other more nutritionally complete foods: they must have them at this early stage of life.
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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