Pretty much everyone knows that geese are mostly herbivorous, though not strict herbivores. Geese eat all kinds of plants, including grasses, but one food you don’t hear mentioned very much when talking about geese is fruit.
That doesn’t make a lot of sense at first, because wouldn’t geese encounter fruit out in the wild? They do, and as it turns out geese do eat all kinds of fruit when given the chance, though not every kind of fruit is safe or healthy for them.
How about what is arguably the most iconic fruit there is, the apple. Can geese eat apples?
Yes, geese can eat apples. Apples are safe and nutritious, and have various vitamins and minerals that geese need. However, any apples you serve to geese should be cored as apple seeds are toxic to them and can cause harm if they eat too many.
Geese tend to really like apples, and they are a fine treat for them. However, even though they’re healthy, they are not packed with vitamins and minerals like most people think, meaning apples should be only a limited part of a goose’s diet.
I’ll tell you what you need to know in the rest of this article.
Do Apples Have Health Benefits for Geese?
Yes, they do. Apples are a healthy and wholesome treat or supplement for geese, and they can definitely benefit from the vitamin and mineral content so long as they don’t get too many, too often.
If you want an all-natural supplement to the usual diet of your geese, apples are perfect. They’re also perfect as a sweet, crisp treat that your birds will love…
Nutrition Info for Apples
Even though we’ve all heard that old rhyme about apples keeping doctors away, they aren’t quite as healthy as you might be expecting, or rather, they don’t contain as many vitamins and minerals as you might think based on their reputation…
Nonetheless, apples are still healthy, and they are healthy for geese.
Looking at the vitamin content apples can provide, we see they have trace amounts of vitamin A and beta carotene, a decent assortment of B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and folate, vitamin C and rounding out the collection a little bit of vitamins E and K.
The mineral content is pretty lackluster, though. Apples only contain tiny amounts of calcium, iron and magnesium, and slightly more manganese, phosphorus and potassium (along with trace amounts of sodium).
In the end, not much to write home over, but as far as sweet snacks go, you’ll never go wrong with an apple, and neither will your geese!
Can Geese Eat Raw Apples?
Yes, they can. Raw apples are completely safe and healthy for geese though you may find they can be a little hard and dense for some.
To make them easier to eat and help prevent choking issues, chop them up into small pieces.
The other good thing about raw apples is that they contain the maximum amount of nutrition; important since they don’t have a lot to begin with!
Can Geese Eat Apple Skins?
Yes, they can, though geese are likely to avoid the skins if the apple pieces are peeled. Apple skins are actually very healthy for geese as they have a good amount of dietary fiber and some extra vitamins, like vitamin A and C.
If you leave the skin on apples you serve to your flock, they will swallow and digest them just fine.
Can Geese Eat Apple Cores?
Technically yes, if the cores are chopped into small pieces, but you should avoid serving the cores to your geese. They are hard, tough to digest and mostly devoid of nutrition or flavor.
Core your apples, or slice the flesh off the core prior to processing the pieces. There is another good reason to core apples for your geese. I will tell you about it in the next section.
Can Geese Eat Apple Seeds?
No. You don’t want to let your geese eat apple seeds, as they contain a compound called amygdalin which releases cyanide when digested.
It can prove fatal to geese, though one or two is unlikely to harm them.
In any case, this is why it is a good idea to core apples and then discard the core, seeds and all, prior to serving the softer, tastier flesh to your feathered friends.
If you don’t, and regularly let your geese eat the apples and the seeds, they could consume enough to suffer from cyanide poisoning.
Can Geese Eat Dried Apples?
Yes, assuming they have no harmful ingredients. Also keep in mind that dried apples have a lot more sugar by weight (drying concentrates the present sugars) so you should only give these very, very sparingly, if at all.
Are Cooked Apples Safe for Geese?
Yes, though there’s no reason whatsoever to cook apples prior to serving them – at least, assuming you chop up the apples into small and manageable bites.
Cooking apples will make them softer, yes, but it also virtually eliminates the vitamin and mineral content.
Cooked apples may be a better choice for geese that can’t (or won’t) eat raw apples, but at that point you are better off trying a fruit that they will eat more readily.
Can Goslings Eat Apples Safely?
Yes, they sure can. Apples are tasty and goslings like them, but it isn’t something that they should have a lot of or too often.
Apples are relatively low in nutrition but fairly high in sugar, so it’s best to keep them as a strictly limited treat once goslings are about 5 weeks old.
Apples can be served as an occasional snack or treat, but they should never make up the bulk of their diet. Stick to their starter pellets while they are young!
How Frequently Can Geese Eat Apples?
2 to 3 small servings a week is more than enough. Geese will be happy to eat apples all the time, or at least as often as you care to serve them, but you don’t want to do this.
Apples, as wholesome as their reputation is, are only going to be a supplement for geese and they are a pretty poor one at that compared to other fruits, grains and greens.
They aren’t nutritionally complete or even loaded with vitamins and minerals, and the sugar and moisture content can easily cause issues for sheep if they are given too frequently.
For all of these reasons, apples should only be a small part of their diet.
Preparing Apples for Geese
There are only two things you really need to do to prepare apples for your geese: first, core them and discard the seeds as we talked about above.
Second, chop up the apples into bite-sized bits that are easy for your geese to handle and swallow.
Geese are a lot stronger than many other domestic birds, but they don’t have teeth and apples are quite firm, meaning they are tough for them to bite and swallow.
Therefore, really small pieces are the way to go…
As long as you core them and cut them up geese should have no trouble, and they really like them!
Don’t Give Apples to Geese if it Has Any Bad Ingredients or Additives
Apples are a staple in all kinds of desserts and what might charitably be called “Dessert-Like Processed Food Products”.
Invariably, these sweet treats will be chock-full of sugar, fat and all kinds of artificial ingredients. Whatever you might think about them for human consumption, none of these things are good for your geese!
You can give your geese fresh, plain apples, but don’t give them anything else that has added, harmful ingredients.
Furthermore, you also want to avoid feeding your birds any apples that have harmful pesticide residue on them. If you aren’t growing them yourself, try getting organic apples for your flock.
Never Give Geese Moldy or Spoiled Apples
Don’t use your geese as garbage disposals for old or rotted produce, including apples. You aren’t being thrifty by giving your birds food that you yourself refuse to eat; it is in fact likely to make them sick, too!
Mold is especially harmful, and some strains can make your geese terribly sick or even kill them. If you love your birds, and I know you do, give them fresh, safe apples.
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.