Out of all the different foods that geese might eat, certainly the most common and the one that they seem to prefer the most is just grass, and other small plants and flowers that grow alongside it.
Whether they are by the lake or hanging out in your yard, geese seem to love nothing more than nibbling at the grass all day long.
However, not all things that grow are safe for them, and even some common ones might be bad for their health.
How about that most common of lawn nuisances, the dandelion? Can geese eat dandelions?
Yes, geese can eat dandelions and they happen to be one of their favorite foods. Geese can get calories, minerals and a few vitamins from dandelions.
You must be cautious to keep geese from eating any dandelions that might have been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides, however.
But assuming you take care of that small matter, you can definitely count on your geese to keep your lawn free of these little golden flowers!
Keep reading and I’ll tell you what you need to know…
Do Dandelions Have Health Benefits for Geese?
Yes, they do. Dandelions are a regular staple food for geese, and they are more than happy to eat them wherever they are encountered, flower, stem, leaves and all.
Geese will get some calories from dandelions, of course, but they will also benefit from the minerals and the vitamin content that dandelions contain.
Dandelions are known to boost overall immune system health in birds, including geese, and the B complex vitamins they contain perform many functions when it comes to metabolism, and overall health.
Dandelions also improve oxygenation of the blood and can help promote the laying of strong and healthy eggs by dames.
Better and more viable eggs are always a good thing, but improving the quality of the egg also minimizes risks to the dame, so that’s a benefit for sure.
Lastly, as a leafy green dandelions are very easy for geese to digest, and they have also been proven to improve overall digestive system function and health.
With all of these benefits, dandelions might be among the most unassuming foods for geese, but they’re actually one of the best and you should let your flock eat them at every opportunity.
Nutrition Info for Dandelions
Detailed nutritional info for dandelions is somewhat hard to come by considering they aren’t typically mass produced for human consumption.
But we do know that dandelions are good for people and definitely good for our animals, and geese in particular.
Dandelions contain a little bit of protein, plenty of fiber and some carbohydrates, and they have a modest nutritional profile of vitamins and minerals.
Iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium are all present as are several of the B-complex vitamins, vitamin A and tons of vitamin C, the single best nutrient dandelions have to offer.
Not bad at all for what most people consider a weed!
Can Geese Eat Raw Dandelions?
Yes, they can. Raw dandelions are in fact what your geese should be eating! They are easily digestible by geese, and will contain the best possible nutrition for them.
Also, all parts of the plant are completely safe and edible by geese: roots, stems, leaves and flowers.
However, the roots can be particularly high in minerals and most goose can eat them easily enough, so if you want to give your birds an extra boost of nutrition that’s the part you should harvest and serve to them…
Are Cooked Dandelions Safe for Geese?
Yes, they are, but you definitely don’t have to harvest and cook dandelions for your geese to make them safe or edible, so don’t go out of your way to do this.
Geese will happily eat raw dandelions as already mentioned, and cooking will only deplete some of their nutritional value.
However, it is possible to steep dandelions in a manner like tea, and then pour the resulting (cooled!) water into their dish or waterer; this is a great way to give your geese extra vitamins and minerals in their diet.
Can Goslings Eat Dandelions Safely?
Yes, and goslings love them as much as their parents do. Dandelions are truly a staple food for geese, and something they will happily seek out and eat at every opportunity.
You won’t need to encourage goslings to eat dandelions, though you should keep an eye on them since they are more likely to choke on the flowers and tougher leaves.
Monitor them closely for safety, and you’ll be good to go.
How Frequently Can Geese Eat Dandelions?
Anytime, and as much as they want. Dandelions go down the hatch for geese right alongside grass and other low growing greenery all the time.
Considering it’s a staple food for geese, they won’t need any prompting and they cannot really get too much of it, though dandelions are not nutritionally complete.
But, so long as your geese are eating dandelions alongside their regular feed, grass, foliage and other produce, there’s no need to worry about overdoing it.
They know instinctively how much to eat and when to stop…
Preparing Dandelions for Geese
There really is not much to do in this case! Geese will chow down on dandelions wherever they find them growing, and that is just fine.
However, you can harvest dandelions to give to geese, and if you take the time to pluck the roots geese can get extra minerals by eating them.
As mentioned above, you can also use dandelions to make a sort of tea that can provide geese with extra nutrients in their water.
Simply steep the plant parts in hot water for 20 minutes, strain and let cool before pouring it into their waterer.
Don’t Let Geese Eat Dandelions that Might Have Been Sprayed with Pesticides or Herbicides
There is one particular hazard that might affect dandelions, and really any grass or other wild growing plants your geese might eat.
You must be sure that you don’t fed or allow geese to eat from any dandelions or other plants (including grass) that have been treated with herbicide or pesticide.
These substances are poisonous for geese and can lead to severe health problems (and even death) if ingested in high doses (plus they have a nasty habit of building up in their bodies over time even in smaller doses).
These chemicals have been linked with numerous issues, including soft eggshells, cancer, organ failure and more.
Always take the time to verify before letting your geese eat any wild plant matter you harvested, and if you let geese eat from your lawn and other grounds avoid using anything except safe, organic substitutes. Better safe than sorry!
Never Give Geese Moldy or Spoiled Dandelions
Another problem that dandelions might have for geese is if they are rotting, moldy, or infected with any sort of fungus.
Geese are shockingly vulnerable to the toxins produced by various molds, and even a small amount can lead to health problems or even death in some cases.
It’s best not to give geese any dandelions that have started to show signs of blight or other diseases, and if you are keeping cut dandelions to incorporate into their usual food sources you must take care that they remain untouched, even if they are browning and wilted.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.