While it’s true that many birds on Earth have a broadly similar diet, there is actually a surprising amount of variation in the nutritional requirements among different species. Waterfowl and geese in particular have one of the most specific diets.
Though they’re technically omnivorous, geese predominantly green eat plant matter with a little bit of animal protein and a few grains, fruits, and vegetables for good measure.
But domestic geese tend to enjoy a diet that’s significantly more varied and nutritionally complete than their wild cousins.
Though geese can eat a lot of different foods, they can’t eat everything, and you’ll want to avoid feeding them things which might be harmful or make them sick.
Below you’ll find a list of foods that geese can eat, and nine of them they should never eat.
26 Things Geese Can Eat
Geese don’t typically eat many nuts in the wild, but they will eat them in captivity and can get good nutrition from them.
Almonds are one of the best nuts for geese, having a good amount of protein, plenty of vitamin E, magnesium, and other nutrients they need.
Make sure you crush up almonds into smaller pieces so your birds don’t choke on them!
Apples can make a crisp, sweet and tasty part of your geese’s diet. Apple flesh and skin is safe for geese, and they contain a great amount of vitamin A, vitamin C and dietary fiber.
Together, these vitamins and minerals can improve immune function and metabolism in geese. A word of caution, make sure you remove the core and the seeds, as the former is a choking hazard and the latter has toxic compounds.
Bananas are one of those tropical fruits that most geese would never encounter in the wild, but it is one that your geese can have on a limited basis.
Mind the quantity because it’s very sugary, but geese will benefit from the B vitamins and potassium in bananas. Discard the peels, they rarely like them.
Like most birds, geese seem to adore all kinds of berries, and that includes blueberries. Rich with vitamin C and packed with many antioxidants, they are a wonderful health boost for geese.
As with most fruits, make sure you feed them on a limited basis because they’re still quite sweet, and all that sugar can cause trouble for your geese.
Contrary to popular belief, bread is not absolutely horrible for geese but it’s not good for them either. It’s basically junk food even though it contains some minerals that they need.
It’s a good source of energy, however, and can give geese a little pep in their step if they’re tired. Give them only a little and only occasionally.
Emerald green, crisp broccoli can be a nutritious addition to your flock’s diet. Broccoli contains many vitamins and minerals that can benefit geese, namely vitamin K and calcium.
However, broccoli is a brassica plant that has a fair bit of oxalic acid. Eating too much of this acid can cause major problems for geese, so you want to limit their intake of broccoli and other brassica plants to a few times a week.
Geese love all sorts of crisp, leafy vegetables and they definitely enjoy eating all kinds of cabbages.
There are many varieties of cabbages out there, and all of the common ones we eat as salad veggies are safe for geese.
No matter what kind of cabbage it is, you can count on it having plenty of vitamin K and minerals that will help geese heal from injury and recover after molting.
Carrots aren’t a root vegetable typically associated with food for birds, but geese can benefit from them nonetheless.
Carrots contain a great amount of beta carotene, vitamin C and other nutrients that can help a goose’s eyesight and nervous system, and also circulatory health.
Make sure you cut carrots into small pieces and consider gently cooking them to make them easier for geese to eat and digest.
Celery is a crisp, refreshing, healthy and hydrating vegetable for geese. It’s also surprisingly packed with needed vitamins and minerals, and is another good source of vitamin K. Chop it up into bite-size pieces and your geese will love it.
Geese, like most birds, always enjoy corn and corn is an important dietary grain for them. Corn is a wonderful source of energy in the form of carbohydrates and many B-complex vitamins, particularly B6.
This is a great boost to a goose’s metabolism, but you’ll want to feed it sparingly because it tends to make them gain weight and geese struggle to digest large quantities of grain.
Moist, tender cucumbers are another vegetable that geese will probably appreciate in their usual rotation.
This is a good veggie to give it to geese if you want to help them stay hydrated in hot weather, and compared to most other birds, geese don’t struggle so much with moist foods like cucumbers.
Believe it or not, geese can benefit from eggs in their diet. Eggs are packed with protein and many nutrients that will benefit geese, but whatever kind of eggs you give them you’ll want to make sure they are scrambled; that way they won’t associate their own eggs with food and turn into cannibals!
Geese don’t eat as much fruit in the wild as you might think, but they can eat it, and they typically enjoy it.
Your geese can have a wide variety of fruit in limited quantities; although geese can cope with the moisture of most fruits just fine, the high sugar content can cause crop and digestive problems if they get too much.
Most kinds of lettuce are just fine for geese with the darker green varieties being healthier typically. Romaine, Bibb, and butterhead have lots of vitamin A, vitamin K and folate that geese can benefit from.
Iceberg doesn’t have that many nutrients by comparison, but geese still like it. Remember that this is a low-protein and low-calorie food, so only give it to your birds as a supplement.
Geese can eat various kinds of meat, but they only eat specific animal proteins as part of their natural diet, namely slugs, snails, fish, insects, amphibians and other critters found near the water.
They can eat other types of meat, but aside from the aforementioned species should only have it in a strictly limited amount.
As mentioned above, geese don’t typically have access to or seek out nuts in nature but they can and will eat them.
Most nuts have lots of vitamin E, protein and healthy fats that will benefit them, helping them to grow and heal, but you must take care to crush nuts into smaller pieces to prevent choking.
Remember that geese typically swallow their food whole!
Geese are actually common raiders of grain crops in the wild, and domestic geese still love to get them when they can.
Oats are one of their favorites, and while they’re very healthy with good carbohydrates, manganese and other minerals, eating too many is associated with illness and digestive problems in geese, especially young geese.
Only give them oats occasionally and in small quantities for safety…
As strange as it seems, popcorn is actually okay for geese as long as it doesn’t have any salt or other flavorings on it.
Plain popcorn is a good source of energy and various minerals, though geese will gain weight if they get too much of it. As an occasional treat, popcorn is just fine for geese.
Geese can have cooked, plain potatoes as long as they don’t have any other parts of the plant or any green spots on them.
Potatoes are another good source of healthy carbs for geese and packed with minerals and vitamins that can benefit many aspects of a goose’s health.
Pumpkins might seem like another strange food for geese, but it is one with a surprising amount of benefits.
As long as you can break the pumpkin open and chunk the flesh into bite-size pieces, geese will benefit from the ample amount of vitamin A and vitamin C that they contain. They can also eat the seeds, but remove the stringy guts because they might be a choking hazard.
Geese can have raisins, but only a few as a rare treat. They have lots of nutrients, including iron and potassium, but they are naturally a source of highly concentrated sugars which can easily throw a goose’s digestive system out of whack.
Every now and then, you can give them a few raisins as a sweet treat, but do mind the quantity!
Geese really like rice, and can get a ton of benefits from the ample B-complex vitamins that it contains. Most kinds are a good source of magnesium, too.
Cooked rice is best for your geese, but you can let them pick at scattered uncooked rice too without worry; that old wives tale about uncooked rice blowing up geese and other birds is just a myth.
Geese tend to love leafy green vegetables, and that means spinach is one that they really enjoy. Packed with vitamin A, vitamin K and lots of iron, it is a nutritional powerhouse but it has the downside of being very high in oxalic acid.
This is another brassica plant the same as broccoli, and geese that get too much of it will usually start suffering from a pronounced lack of calcium in their system with life-changing consequences. Just watch the quantity, and your birds will be fine.
Another berry that geese love, strawberries are a tremendous source of vitamin C and beneficial antioxidants that can prevent cellular damage and improve immune system function.
They’re soft and easy for geese to eat, but they are sugary and so your birds shouldn’t be allowed to eat them all the time.
25. Sunflower Seeds
Pretty much all birds, and that includes geese, are big seed eaters in the wild and your geese will still love seeds even though they are living on the homestead.
Sunflower seeds are packed with protein, lots of healthy fats, magnesium, manganese and vitamin E. Great for geese, but also very calorie dense, so don’t overfeed them or your birds will get fat.
Geese can eat tomato fruits on a limited basis. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin c, antioxidants and other nutrients that will help geese thrive but they are also highly acidic and prone to causing digestive upset.
Notably, geese should never eat tomato plant leaves or vines as they contain toxic solanine. More on that in the next section.
9 Things Geese Should Not Eat
Geese should not eat avocados because all parts of the fruit, and the rest of the plant for that matter, contain persin, a dangerous toxin that can cause respiratory issues, organ failure, and eventual death.
Although the skin, leaves and pit of the avocado have higher concentrations of the compound, you can’t rule out problems if geese eat only the flesh. Avoid it!
Chocolate is bad, bad news for most animals, and geese included. This is because chocolate contains cocoa, and cocoa has caffeine and theobromine, both of which are toxic for geese.
Theobromine particularly can result in heart arrhythmia, seizures, major digestive upset, and eventually death.
Also know that, the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it will contain. Just a little bit of dark chocolate might kill your geese.
3. Dairy Products
Geese aren’t mammals, and so they do not need any dairy products, including milk, yogurt, cheese and the like.
Geese cannot digest it properly, and many of these products contain salt and other stuff that is just plain bad for them.
4. Dog Food
A few stolen nibbles of dog food here and there won’t harm your geese, but contrary to some reports geese cannot eat dog food as a substitute for a proper diet.
Dog food is for dogs, not geese, and particularly the excess protein in it will quickly cause major nutritional imbalances and systemic harm for your birds.
5. French Fries
Potatoes are okay for geese, but french fries are never okay. Fried crispy in oil, they are a caloric catastrophe that’s going to give geese severe indigestion, and can potentially cause sodium poisoning and liver issues.
If you care about your geese, do not share your french fries with them.
Garlic is generally not good for geese and other birds, being an allium-genus plant that contains thiosulfates which can cause serious circulatory system harm culminating in anemia.
Garlic does, though, have some utility as a dewormer for geese if given in sustained, small doses but that is the only exception.
7. Nightshade Plants
The green parts of nightshade family plants, particularly vegetables like potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and eggplants, all contain dangerous levels of the toxin solanine which, in high quantities, can cause seizures, paralysis and eventual death in birds.
Geese can have limited amounts of ripe tomatoes and potatoes as detailed above, but never let them eat the vines or leaves of these plants!
Onions are another allium-genus plant like garlic above, and it poses the same risk to geese only this time it does not have the significant worm removal properties of garlic.
Although this is contentious, and some goose owners say they feed their geese onion greens, chives and the like with no issues, it’s generally a good idea to avoid feeding onions to your geese.
9. Uncooked Beans
Uncooked beans are surprisingly dangerous to geese (and people!) because they contain lectins, specifically phytohaemagglutinin.
These proteins can perforate the gut and eventually interfere with proper cellular function in the body, resulting in horrendous diarrhea eventual organ damage and death in high concentrations.
Any beans that you feed to your geese must be soaked and properly prepared!
Can Geese Eat Acorns?
Yes, geese can eat acorns but only in very limited amounts because they contain toxic tannins. Most geese don’t eat too many acorns in the wild.
Can Geese Eat Alfalfa?
Yes, geese can eat alfalfa and it is a good source of protein for them. However, it has too much protein and certain minerals to be eaten regularly, so serve it to your geese sparingly.
Can Geese Eat Arugula?
Yes, they can. Arugula is safe and nutritious for geese so long as it is fed to them as part of a balanced diet. Note that arugula does not have enough calories to support geese by itself.
Can Geese Eat Asparagus?
Yes, geese can eat asparagus but most don’t like it. At best, you can expect your geese to nibble the softer tops off of the asparagus and leave the woody steams behind.
Can Geese Eat Avocado?
No, geese should never eat avocado! Avocados contain persin, a toxin which could potentially kill geese if they ingest too much. The flesh contains very little, but the skin and other parts of the fruit have a lot more.
Can Geese Eat Beans?
Yes, but only if they are properly prepared and cooked. Dry, uncooked beans are dangerously toxic for geese and many other animals!
Can Geese Eat Broccoli?
Yes, geese can eat broccoli in limited quantities. Broccoli is very nutritious for geese and they love the florets, but it’s high in oxalic acid and it should only be fed to geese in very limited quantities alongside other brassica veggies.
Can Geese Eat Cabbage?
Yes, geese can eat cabbage and typically love it. Cabbage is crisp, easily digestible, and nutritious food for your birds.
Can Geese Eat Cantaloupe?
Yes, geese can eat cantaloupe. Cantaloupe and other melons are sweet, refreshing and nutritious treats for geese but they should be fed on a limited basis because they are very sugary.
Can Geese Eat Cilantro?
Yes, they can. Geese love to eat tender, fragrant herbs like cilantro, and it’s a highly nutritious addition to their diet.
Can Geese Eat Eggs?
Yes, geese can and will eat eggs. Eggs are a great source of protein and highly nutritious for geese, but you’ll want to make sure you scramble them so they do not associate their own eggs with food!
Can Geese Eat Fruit?
Yes, geese can eat fruit. Geese can eat many kinds of fruit safely, but not all kinds. In any case, you don’t want to give your geese too much fruit because they all have a lot of sugar which can cause problems for them if they overindulge.
Can Geese Eat Garlic?
Yes, but cautiously. Although garlic is generally not something you want to add to a goose’s diet, it does have some utility as a natural dewormer if your birds are suffering from parasites.
Can Geese Eat Grass?
Yes, geese can eat grass. Geese naturally eat various kinds of grass in the wild, and they’ll do the same thing in captivity.
Can Geese Eat Green Beans?
Yes, so long as they are properly prepared as any other bean.
Can Geese Eat Horse Feed?
Yes, geese can eat horse feed safely but only incidentally. If geese managed to steal a little bit of horse feed it isn’t going to hurt them, but it isn’t nutritionally complete for them.
Can Geese Eat Ice Cream?
No, geese should never eat ice cream! Ice cream is a dairy product that is invariably packed with fat and tons of sugar, two things that are going to make your birds dreadfully sick.
Can Geese Eat Kale?
Yes, geese can eat kale in limited amounts. Although highly nutritious with a great complement of vitamins and minerals, kale is another brassica vegetable that has high amounts of oxalic acid which can be bad for geese if they get too much of…
Can Geese Eat Kiwi?
Yes, kiwi is safe for geese as long as they only have it periodically in small quantities. Nutritious and safe, it is very sweet and that can be problematic for geese.
Can Geese Eat Mango?
Yes, geese can eat mango, but you’ll need to cut it up into pieces for them and get rid of that huge seed.
Mango is one of the sweetest of all fruits, and that means geese should have it only rarely as a treat and in small quantities.
Can Geese Eat Meat?
Yes, geese can eat meat, but they should really only eat animal protein that replicates what they would normally find in the wild. Things like slugs, snails, fish, insects, and so forth.
Can Geese Eat Mushrooms?
Yes, geese can eat mushrooms that are known to be safe. You should never, ever let your geese eat any unknown mushroom as even a little bit of a poisonous one can kill them.
Can Geese Eat Onions?
No, geese should not eat onions. It’s a highly contentious topic, but the risk factors associated with onions and other allium genus plants makes this a very bad idea.
Can Geese Eat Peaches?
Yes, these can eat peaches safely as an occasional treat. Make sure you remove the hard pit and keep the quantity small.
Can Geese Eat Peanut Butter?
No, geese can’t have peanut butter. Although geese can have peanuts, peanut butter is too sticky, has too much protein, too much fat, and often too much salt and sugar to be good for your birds.
Can Geese Eat Pickles?
No, geese shouldn’t eat pickles. Cucumbers are okay for geese, but pickles are dangerously salty
Can Geese Eat Pineapple?
Yes, geese can eat pineapple every now and then as a treat. It has lots of nutrients they need, but is very, very sugary.
Can Geese Eat Poison Ivy?
Yes, surprisingly, geese can eat poison ivy without any ill effects. That irritating compound and poison ivy does not affect geese, but be warned that it will get on their feathers and can affect you!
Can Geese Eat Potatoes?
Yes, geese can eat potatoes as long as they are gently cooked and don’t have any green spots. Geese should never eat any other part of the plant.
Can Geese Eat Quinoa?
Yes, geese can eat quinoa. Quinoa is an extremely nutritious type of seed and is good for geese, but too much can easily cause a nutritional imbalance so a little bit will do.
Can Geese Eat Raspberries?
Yes, your geese can eat raspberries safely. Sweet and nutritious, they should be fed on a limited basis as part of a complete diet like all fruit.
Can Geese Eat Romaine Lettuce?
Yes, geese can eat romaine lettuce. Romaine is a pretty good lettuce nutritionally, containing vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your birds.
Can Geese Eat Squash?
Yes, geese can eat squash. Various summer and winter squashes are fine for geese as long as you process them into bite-size pieces they can swallow easily.
Can Geese Eat Zucchini?
Yes, geese can eat zucchini the same as other squashes. Chopping it into small pieces will make it much easier for geese to eat.
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.