Geese are known for eating a diet that consists mostly of plant matter, and though leafy greens and grasses are among their most favorite foods, and the staples in their diet, other plant products are okay for them.
But how about something like fruit? It makes a certain amount of sense that geese would be able to find and eat certain types of fruit in the wild, but there are also many that seem totally inaccessible to them.
So, can geese eat fruit safely?
Yes, geese can eat most kinds of fruit (apples, pears, berries, watermelon) safely so long as they have them in limited amounts. Although highly nutritious, pretty much all fruits are high in sugar and that can cause problems for them.
If you want to give your geese a sweet treat every now and then as a part of a well-rounded diet, you won’t do any better than fruit, and you might be surprised to see just how much your geese like it.
Keep reading and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about giving fruit to your geese…
Does Fruit Have Health Benefits for Geese?
Absolutely. No matter what kind, all fruit has vitamins and minerals that geese need, in addition to lots of carbs that can provide them with quick energy.
Obviously, the nutritional profile of any given type of fruit varies, but all of them have approximately the same benefits for geese, namely:
- boosting immune system performance,
- helping to fight off diseases and free radicals via the antioxidants they contain,
- the improvement of circulatory health,
- the production of red blood cells,
- the improvement of feathering during the molt or after an injury,
- and more…
The nutrients in fruit are also essential for all sorts of cellular functions, the regulation of metabolism, electrolyte balancing, and basic organ function.
All in all, fruit can be a nutritional powerhouse that is healthy, hydrating, and a great, sweet treat that geese will love.
However, you have to give a fruit to geese and strict moderation because it is all very sweet.
Too much sugar in a goose’s diet is going to cause problems, starting with relatively minor stuff like indigestion and potentially diarrhea, and progressing to more serious problems like obesity, yeast infections in the crop and more.
What are the Best Kinds of Fruit for Geese?
Despite being known as mostly green eaters, geese can eat a surprisingly varied and colorful array of fruit.
Apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, watermelons, pumpkins, bananas and grapes (including raisins) are all great for geese, and easy for them to eat and digest.
Can Geese Eat Raw Fruit?
Yes, most kinds, and this is the very best way to serve it to them if they will eat it. Most raw fruits are plenty easy for geese to digest, and they will always have the best possible nutritional profile.
Cooking fruit will reduce the amount of vitamins and minerals that they have, and is usually not necessary to entice geese to eat it.
Can Geese Eat Fruit Seeds?
Most seeds, but not all. Many seeds are completely safe for geese to eat, but some should not be eaten because they contain toxic precursors that will turn into cyanide once ingested.
Even a little bit of cyanide can harm or kill geese, so this is not a risk you want to take.
Apple and pear seeds, along with the hard pits from stone fruit like apricot and peaches should never be eaten by geese.
If you’re preparing these fruits for your geese, make sure you discard the seeds before serving the flesh to your flock.
Can Geese Eat Fruit Skins?
Generally yes. Most fruit that geese can eat are soft and tender enough that they will eat them skin and all, and there are some definite nutritional benefits to be had from fruit skins, particularly minerals.
However, some fruits have skins that are just too tough for them to break through to get to the soft flesh inside. Pumpkins and watermelons come to mind…
Is Cooked Fruit Safe for Geese?
Yes, although you will rarely have a real need to cook fruit in order to serve it to your geese.
Most fruits are already plenty tender enough to eat as they are, with the possible exception of pumpkin, and a cooking fruit will somewhat deplete the minerals and nutrients that it has to offer.
Can Goslings Eat Fruit Safely?
Yes, but goslings should only get fruit in very limited amounts. It has many of the same health benefits for goslings that it does for adult geese, but the high sugar content and calorie load of most fruits means that goslings should only have them on a strictly limited basis as part of a well-rounded diet.
Something to remember is that goslings are particularly vulnerable to digestive upset which can be caused by the moist, sweet fruit and they are similarly prone to getting sour crop and other yeast or bacterial infections from eating sugary foods.
How Frequently Can Geese Eat Fruit?
It varies, but generally you can give your geese fruit two or perhaps three times a week in small servings.
Fruit is definitely at its best in the diet of geese as a supplement or treat, but you don’t want it to be a main item in their menu or something they are allowed to eat all the time.
Fruit is not nutritionally complete, and its sugar content can and will cause issues for geese, young ones and adults alike.
Serve it to them on a limited basis, make sure they’re getting all of the other foods they need in their diet and properly balanced nutrition and fruit will do a lot of good for your flock.
Preparing Fruit for Geese
The preparation of fruit for your geese depends on the type of fruit. But in pretty much all cases, you’re advised to chop it up into small, bite-size cubes or other bits that geese can easily swallow.
If you’re serving geese apples, pears, or stone fruit make sure you remove the seeds and pits since they are toxic to geese.
Don’t Give Fruit to Geese if it Has Any Bad Ingredients or Additives
Most fruits are sweet and delicious enough all on their own, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t put them in every kind of sweet treat and dessert under the sun!
This can make for some truly unbelievable delicacies, but sadly your geese should never have any of these sweet confections or other treats.
Fruity desserts are always made with tons of sugar, butter, oils and other ingredients that geese just cannot have.
These things will easily cause major digestive upset in geese, obesity, blood pressure issues, liver problems, sour crop and more.
As much as you might want to share, never give your geese any desserts made with fruit, or fruit that is prepared with tons of sugar or other ingredients.
Never Give Geese Moldy or Spoiled Fruit
You must also never give your geese any fruit that is moldy or rotten, because this too can make them extremely sick or even kill them!
That’s because geese are highly sensitive to the toxins produced by various molds and bacteria that commonly attack fruits, vegetables and other foods.
Even a little bit of one of these dangerous mycotoxins or aflatoxins could be enough to cripple or kill an adult goose, and it will easily snuff out a poor little gosling.
Don’t treat your geese as a garbage disposal for old fruit and other produce. If it’s not fresh and wholesome enough for you to eat, it’s not good for your geese to eat!
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.