Geese aren’t like chickens. Whereas chickens are true omnivores, geese are only technically omnivorous, and subsist primarily on a diet of plant matter along with the occasional bug or small fish.
But even so, geese typically enjoy a pretty varied diet consisting of all sorts of different plants, among them grass, leaves, and other foliage.
When you think about it, geese should be able to eat pretty much anything that’s leafy and green if it isn’t toxic. So, can geese eat lettuce?
Yes, geese can eat all kinds of lettuce, including romaine, iceberg, bibb, butterhead, and more. Most varieties have vitamins and minerals that geese need, and they can easily digest it.
All geese, including wild geese, can eat lettuce but if you have geese of your own you’ll be happy to know that you can treat them with a perfectly fresh and crisp head of lettuce.
Plus, certain varieties of lettuce are actually quite nutritious, and can be a great supplement to a goose’s usual diet.
Keep reading and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about giving lettuce to your geese in this article…
Does Lettuce Have Health Benefits for Geese?
Absolutely. Lettuce is in many ways a perfect food for geese. As I mentioned above, geese are primarily herbivores and they love leafy greens more than just about anything.
This means they will surely love to eat lettuce, and even better they will get good nutrition from any variety.
If you look at the more nutritious types of lettuce like butterhead or romaine, you’ll see a wide array of vitamins and minerals that geese need, and these vitamins and minerals play many roles in a goose’s body.
They can improve circulatory health, help maintain nervous tissues, improve eyesight, boost immunity, enhance feather growth during the molt or after injury, and much more.
It’s also easy for geese to eat, with just a little bit of preparation, and also very easy for them to digest so it is a great option for supplementing their usual diet, or just giving them a crisp and hydrating treat.
Nutrition Info for Lettuce
The nutritional content of lettuce varies wildly depending on the variety. Certain kinds, like the ever-popular iceberg, don’t have a whole lot to offer.
However, romaine, butterhead and summercrisp are all delicious and highly nutritious.
Looking at butterhead, one of the more common and popular of these nutritious varieties, we see that it contains a tiny bit of protein and carbohydrates, which will give geese some energy but that isn’t the main appeal of the vegetable anyway.
The good stuff is found in the vitamins and minerals, of which butterhead has plenty.
It is abundant with vitamin A, beta-carotene, folate and vitamin K. It also has most of the other B complex vitamins, particularly thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6.
The mineral content is, surprisingly, pretty impressive for a salad vegetable, with a great amount of iron and manganese, a good shot of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium and just a little bit of zinc.
Again, all good things that geese need to stay healthy and thrive…
It’s also worth mentioning that most kinds of lettuce naturally contain just a little bit of sodium and lots and lots of water.
Together, this can help geese stay hydrated and balance their electrolytes during hot weather. This makes lettuce, really any kind of lettuce, an ideal hot-weather snack for your geese.
Can Geese Eat Raw Lettuce?
Yes, geese can eat raw lettuce and this is pretty much the only way you should serve it to them. Raw lettuce is immediately appealing to geese, and it also has the maximum amount of nutrition possible.
Cooking lettuce in any way reduces the amount of vitamins and minerals that it contains, and also depletes the moisture content while not making it any more appealing to your geese. So avoid cooking it…
Can Geese Eat Iceberg Lettuce?
Yes, geese can eat iceberg lettuce. One of the most popular kinds of lettuce in the United States, it is enjoyed for its crispness and moisture content, but it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of nutrition compared to other commonly available varieties.
Notably, iceberg lettuce contains very little folate and iron compared to the others…
But if your geese are hungry or you just want to give them an interesting snack, they will certainly eat it up.
Can Geese Eat Romaine Lettuce?
Yes, geese can eat romaine lettuce with no problem. Another extremely popular type of lettuce, romaine lettuce is a good choice for geese because it is crisp yet still tender, and very nutritious.
Can Geese Eat Bibb Lettuce?
Yes, they sure can. Although bibb lettuce isn’t as popular as it romaine or iceberg, it is greatly beloved for its tenderness, flavor and excellent nutritional profile.
If you want to give your geese a nutritionally fortified type of lettuce, bibb is one of the very best.
Can Geese Eat Butterhead Lettuce?
Yes, definitely. Butterhead is a variety of bibb lettuce that has become quite popular in recent years for its flavor also, and for a truly excellent nutritional profile as described above.
If you can get this stuff for your geese, it will do wonders for their health, but if you can’t find it, don’t worry: it is very easy to grow yourself, indoors or out!
Is Cooked Lettuce Safe for Geese?
Yes, cooked lettuce is safe for geese, but there’s no reason whatsoever to serve it to them.
Geese don’t need lettuce cooked in order to eat it or digest it.
Cooking lettuce will only end up reducing its nutritional profile, and in the case of certain varieties that already have minimal amount of vitamins and minerals, it will basically make it an “empty” food for geese: it will fill them up, but it won’t do anything for them.
Can Goslings Eat Lettuce Safely?
Yes, goslings can eat lettuce just like adults can. Healthier varieties of lettuce can give goslings a great boost of nutrition, though you should be warned that it’s low on calories and low in protein, two things goslings need plenty of as they’re growing.
Also, make it a point to cut or tear lettuce into tiny bites that are easy for goslings to eat without choking.
How Often Can Geese Eat Lettuce?
Typically 4 to 6 servings a week as part of a complete diet. In many ways, lettuce is an ideal type of food for geese.
Geese naturally gravitate towards leafy greens as their primary food, and any gardener or farmer who has suffered the misfortune of geese taking up residence on their land will tell you: they can really put a hurting on lettuce crops!
That being said, lettuce is not nutritionally complete for geese, and it doesn’t have very many calories.
This means geese will need to eat a lot of it, and there are other foods, like pellets, that can provide them just as much or more nutrition and also give them more calories.
But, so long as you understand the needs of your birds, they can generally have as much lettuce as they want!
Preparing Lettuce for Geese
There’s only one thing you really need to do to any lettuce in order to give it to your geese: chop it up or tear it into smaller pieces that are easy for them to handle and swallow.
Geese can be surprisingly finicky, delicate eaters, and in the case of tougher heads of lettuce, they might struggle to tear off bite-sized pieces.
Larger, longer, stringier pieces of lettuce can be a choking hazard, so chop it up for them to prevent issues.
Never Give Geese Moldy or Spoiled Lettuce
One thing you definitely shouldn’t do when serving lettuce to geese is giving them any old, slimy, rotten, or moldy lettuce.
Geese are not immune to contracting foodborne illnesses, and rotten, nasty lettuce can easily make them sick or potentially even kill them depending on what they come down with.
If you care about your geese you should only feed them fresh, wholesome lettuce that you wouldn’t mind eating yourself.
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.