Geese are common in zoos, parks and near lakes, and they can even be found in backyards as pets. Even if you don't live on a farm, you may find that geese are a rewarding pet to have and breed. Like a dog, geese also need a house or pen to stay in.
The house must have sufficient headroom with ventilation above, and be solid, so that predators cannot get in. A strong wooden shed with wire windows sited where it is not exposed to strong sun would provide good, safe shelter, but you can also adapt small barns and existing buildings. The doorway must be wide enough to let more than one bird through at the same time. Use shavings or straw for bedding. Moldy bedding and poor ventilation will cause respiratory problems.
Breeding sheds need only be simple. A skillion roof provides suitable shelter but it is essential that the shed be completely enclosed, and locked at night for protection against foxes and other predators.
An 8–10 cm layer of shavings on the floor will help maintain dry conditions, which are essential. Cement floors may be needed, depending on climate and drainage. Geese tend to foul their sleeping quarters, so damp and wet litter must be removed frequently. For this reason, in many overseas countries there is a move towards housing geese on slatted floors.
Yards should be provided with each shed. Yard size is partly determined by the amount of space available and the method of management and feeding. As a guide, a yard should allow each goose 2 m2 of ground space. Yards should be as large as possible, and before running geese, it is best to sow the yards to pasture.
The size of the yards will be governed to a large extent by the number of geese to each shed. Each breeding flock need not be confined to a separate shed and yard.
Provide each shed with nest boxes, even though some geese will make their own nests in the litter on the floor.
If geese are to be housed extensively on pasture, then it is not essential to provide birds with houses as such; however, the yard should be completely fox-proofed.
The following are suggested specifications for slatted floors provided in geese housing:
- 2 cm width at top of slat to ensure good standing area;
- 1.5 cm width at bottom to ensure easy removal of excreta;
- 1.5 cm distance between slats;
- 1 m2 floor space per goose.
Height above ground level is governed by the way excreta is cleaned away.
The sheds should be enclosed with the ability to be locked at nights and in bad weather. This keeps the predators away and the birds secure.
Each shed should have some nest boxes, although geese are in the habit of making their own nests in the litter on the floor.
If geese are going to be housed totally on pasture, then housing is not required but the area should be made totally predator-proof.
A layer of shavings on the floor will keep the area dry. Geese have the habit of fouling their sleeping areas, so litter has to be cleared frequently. It is a good idea to use slatted floors to ensure proper drainage.
Each shed should have a spacious yard; this should be planned based on the number of geese per shed. It is important to provide separate sheds for each breeding flock with pastured area.