Can Geese Eat Spinach? Is it Safe?

I think that most folks know enough about geese by now to understand that they primarily eat plant matter, and in domestic settings that means they eat plenty of vegetables, too. But whether they are in the wild or on the homestead, there is nothing that geese love more than leafy greens.

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

In fact, it’s usually the majority part of their diet concerning whole foods! However, not every plant and veggie is safe and good for our birds. What about something that’s famously healthy like spinach? Can geese eat spinach and is it safe?

Yes, spinach is safe for geese and can be a great supplement to their diet but only get small quantities. As healthy as it is, spinach has a lot of oxalic acid, a compound that blocks calcium absorption. This can cause major problems for young geese and laying dames.

It’s sad to say that spinach, one of the healthiest vegetables around, has a sort of dark side when it comes to feeding our flocks. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t give it to your birds, but you’ve got to be cautious to avoid giving them too much.

Some of the issues that oxalic acid can cause are really terrible, potentially even life threatening! It’s nothing to be afraid of, and spinach still has a spot on the menu, but you’ve got to know what you’re doing. I’ll tell you more below.

Do Geese Like Spinach?

Yes, in my experience, most geese tend to really enjoy spinach. It makes sense why: there’s hardly any kind of food that geese love more than tender, leafy greenery.

Whatever kind of plant, whatever kind of vegetable, this is food that they are optimized to eat and digest.

So, the good news is that geese won’t hesitate to eat it, but that can also be a drawback if you give them too much – they might wind up easily eating more spinach than is good for them!

Is Spinach a Healthy Food for Geese?

Yes, concerning the nutritional analysis of spinach, it is extremely good for geese. Spinach, as most of us know already, is rightly famous as an extremely healthy vegetable and that is a reputation it deserves.

Spinach has a respectable amount of protein for a plant, but the real payoff is in the vitamin and mineral content.

Most spinach varieties contain lots of vitamin A and beta carotene, vitamin B1, B2, B5, and folate. Even better, it has a good amount of vitamin C and vitamin E, and a truly gargantuan amount of vitamin K.

The mineral content is likewise very impressive, with lots of iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus, and potassium.

So what’s the problem? Paradoxically, it is the huge amount of vitamin K that is part of the issue in spinach.

Make no mistake, your geese will absolutely benefit from all of these nutrients, and virtually every element of their health and biology can be improved by these vitamins and minerals.

But the bad can easily outweigh the good if they eat too much. I’ll tell you why in the next section.

Can Spinach Hurt Geese in Any Way?

Yes, it can. Let’s get the boilerplate out of the way first: spinach is genuinely packed with vital nutrients that geese need, but it’s still not nutritionally complete and they shouldn’t be eating spinach as a major part of their diet regardless of the other hazards it presents.

The other hazard is a significant one. I mentioned above that spinach contains a ton of vitamin K, and it also contains high amounts of oxalic acid which can easily turn toxic for geese.

Now, I want to be clear here when I say that spinach is not truly poisonous: your geese can enjoy it with absolutely no ill effects as long as they aren’t getting too much of. They won’t keel over as soon as they take a bite or anything like that.

The issue is that oxalic acid stops a goose’s body from absorbing calcium, including the calcium that’s present in the spinach. Go figure! You don’t need me to tell you that calcium is critically important to geese, and if they’re eating spinach regularly, then their body will effectively take up less and less calcium, and then eventually stop absorbing it altogether.

Without calcium to draw on as a resource, all sorts of devastating health issues will occur: for starters, a lack of calcium will cause a goose’s bones to become brittle and prone to fracturing.

This is an even bigger problem for any geese that are laying eggs. It can turn eggshells brittle and make them prone to break, and in some really hideous cases, the egg may form improperly, or without a shell at all!

This can cause a blockage in the laying goose’s oviduct, or vent blockage, and either can quickly turn fatal for the affected bird and if you don’t intervene, she could be dead in less than a day.

These are truly dreadful health problems, and it seems almost perverse that such a healthy food could cause them. But it is true…

You don’t have to be afraid of spinach or afraid of serving it to your flock, but you must be absolutely diligent about portioning and out for them to prevent these mishaps.

Is Raw Spinach Safe for Geese?

Yes, raw spinach is safe for geese so long as they don’t eat too much for all of the reasons I outlined above.

But, is a trade-off of sorts because while raw spinach contains the best possible amount of nutrition it also has the highest amount of the potentially dangerous oxalic acid. You can never, ever let your geese get too much raw spinach!

Is Cooked Spinach Okay for Geese?

Yes, cooked spinach is fine for geese and can be a better option if you’re worried about oxalic acid intake.

Boiling spinach dramatically reduces the levels of oxalic acid, but it also significantly reduces the nutrients. Another bitter pill, so to speak, because though it makes the spinach much safer it eliminates much of the nutritional content!

How Often Should Geese Eat Spinach?

This is the most important part of this article, so pay attention!

For most geese, give them no more than a single small serving of spinach weekly. This will give them a great boost of nutrition and the oxalic acid will not be so much that the body cannot cope with it.

But you must take pains to ensure that no laying dames get any spinach whatsoever! The risk of complications with their eggs is just not worth it.

For particularly large breeds of geese (Embden, African, Toulouse, etc.) You can give them two small servings of spinach a week, but make sure they are spread out.

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

The best way that you can give your geese spinach depends on your objectives. They will get a much better nutritional payoff by eating it raw, but giving them boiled spinach is a lot safer due to the reduction of oxalic acid.

It’s up to you, but if you are going to boil it just remember to let it cool before you serve it to them.

Never Give Geese Spinach if it is Rotting or Moldy

One more thing to note is that you must never give your geese any spinach that has gotten old, moldy, or slimy.

Sure, your geese might eat it but, believe it or not, geese are just as vulnerable to all kinds of foodborne illnesses as people tend to be.

And you should know that they are especially vulnerable to various kinds of molds and the toxins that they produce.

As a rule, if the spinach is so bad that you wouldn’t eat it yourself do not give it to your flock.

Is Spinach Safe for Goslings?

No, I don’t think so. The risks associated with oxalic acid intake are just too high, especially for sensitive young geese that are in a vulnerable and critical stage of development and growth.

You don’t need much imagination to know how bad things can go if you deprive a rapidly growing skeleton of the calcium it needs to form properly.

There are plenty of other healthy greenery options when you want to add a little bit of variety to a gosling’s diet. Skip the spinach!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *