Raising Geese: The Basics

Get your goose! Whether you want eggs, meat, feathers or pest control, this hardy, multipurpose livestock may be a perfect fit for your homestead.

| October 25, 2010

The following is an excerpt from Natural Living: The 21st-Century Guide to a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle by Liz Wright (GAIA/Octopus, 2010). From teaching you how to preserve your garden harvests to how to cut your energy consumption, Natural Living is a terrific resource for families and individuals looking to move toward a more gentle, green and self-sufficient way of life. This excerpt is from Chapter 4, “Raising Your Own.” 

Geese have been domesticated and bred, mainly for meat, for generations, but have resolutely resisted efforts to be kept intensively. A goose’s natural inclination to utilize good grass and to forage makes it a very useful bird.

These hardy birds have been useful to humans for many years, from guard birds to the modern hybrids for the table. For a small-scale farmer or self-supporter, geese do best if they can forage on good grass. They are ideal birds for an orchard, clearing up windfalls and getting much of their nutrition from good-quality grass in summer and early fall.

Choosing a Breed

Although they are kept primarily for the table, some people like to use the birds as guard geese — Chinese geese in particular are suitable for this. In the past, their feathers were used for writing quills and down quilts, and the birds were also a source of grease and fat.

Goose breeds are divided into light, medium, and heavy.

The light Chinese goose originated from the Asiatic Swan goose. It is incredibly noisy, making it a superb guard goose. It’s the best layer, producing up to 80 eggs a year.

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