Most folks know that geese live on a diet that is primarily vegetarian, and many goose keepers supplement the diet of their birds with produce.
Most of their typical foods are grass, grains and other plant matter, although there is a selection of fruits and vegetables in there that they will eat when they have access to them in the wild.
But not all vegetables are green, or even soft and easy to eat. It makes you wonder if geese can have these kinds of veggies. How about pumpkins? Can geese have pumpkins?
Yes, geese can eat pumpkins though only the softer flesh and seeds are likely to appeal to them.
The stringy guts are somewhat difficult for geese to eat and might be a choking or impaction hazard, while the skin of most pumpkins is just too hard for them to handle.
Pumpkins, surprisingly enough, are quite nutritious and a great addition to the usual diet of geese, the most geese will not be able to eat every part of a pumpkin.
Nonetheless, if you have some fresh leftover pumpkins and care to put a little effort into preparing them for your flock, they should love them.
I’ll tell you everything you need to know and the rest of this article.
Does Pumpkin Have Health Benefits for Geese?
Yes, and quite a few benefits at that. Pumpkins are highly nutritious, and they have a great assortment of vitamins and minerals along with some carbohydrates and a little bit of protein to give geese energy.
Pumpkins are particularly packed with nutrients that can dramatically improve nervous system health and geese, and especially improve eye health and vision.
This is critically important for young and developing birds, and also for older birds. When a goose’s eyesight starts to fail, this can start to affect their temperament, making them nervous, flighty and agitated.
Good eye health will help keep geese happy and calm later on in life, and of course it’s a good thing for all other geese!
But aside from this, the nutrients in pumpkin are vital for all sorts of processes in a goose’s body, including basic cellular function, organ function, balancing of electrolytes and metabolism, growth and healing, feathering, and more.
You can do a lot worse than pumpkin when it comes to nutrition, and they are a great snack or supplement for geese as long as you can spend a little time to prepare them.
Nutrition Info for Pumpkin
Pumpkins contain a surprisingly varied and well-rounded profile of nutrients, and all of them can benefit geese.
Beginning with the vitamins, we see that pumpkins contain a tremendous amount of vitamin A and beta-carotene, two nutrients especially vital for improving nervous system and eye health as mentioned.
After this we have a decent amount of thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin along with folate, vitamins E and K, and a good shot of vitamin C.
The mineral content is also varied, but not quite as impressive. We have iron and calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and a little bit of zinc to wrap things up.
Pumpkins also have just a tiny bit of naturally occurring sodium, though this is nothing to worry about whatsoever with geese unless they’re getting a ton of salt elsewhere in their diet.
Also, pumpkins are significantly more hydrating than most people think, with your average pumpkin cultivar being at least 91% water by weight.
Can Geese Eat Raw Pumpkin?
Yes, geese can eat raw pumpkin though there are only likely to enjoy the softer parts of the flesh and the seeds.
While pumpkin has the advantage of being highly nutritious for geese, since cooking will reduce the amounts of vitamins and minerals that it contains.
Can Geese Eat Pumpkin Skin?
Technically yes, though this is unlikely. Some pumpkin cultivars have a particularly soft flesh that geese might eat if it is cut up into small pieces, but your average pumpkin has hard, thick flesh that is just too difficult for geese to deal with and it can be challenging for them to digest.
However, if your geese like it they can eat it as it isn’t harmful for them.
Can Geese Eat Pumpkin Flesh?
Yes, and this is the choicest bit of pumpkin for geese. The flesh is highly nutritious and tends to be soft, though you might have to cut off parts of it into smaller bits to make it easier for them to swallow.
How About the Pumpkin “Guts”?
Yes and no: The stringy, slimy guts of the pumpkin, that stuff you always pull out and throw away when you’re carving a jack-o’-lantern, are edible for geese.
However, most geese don’t seem to like them and the really stringy stuff can pose a choking or impaction hazard for them.
If they don’t want to eat it, don’t force them, and if they do keep an eye on them to make sure there aren’t any problems.
Can Geese Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Yes, they can. Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious and most geese seem to really like them, like so many other kinds of seeds.
However, depending on the type of pumpkin the seeds can be very large and this can make them choking hazards for smaller breeds of geese.
Keep that in mind, and discard the seeds if you think they are too big for your geese.
Is Cooked Pumpkin Safe for Geese?
Yes, it is, and more than most other veggies there might be a good case for cooking pumpkin to give it to your geese.
Cooking pumpkin will reduce the nutritional content somewhat but it will also soften the flesh and can even soften the skin enough to make it appealing to geese.
The general rule of thumb is that you should only cook pumpkin long enough to soften it enough in order to get your geese interested in it, and always let it cool before you serve it to them.
Can Goslings Eat Pumpkin Safely?
Yes, but with some limitations. Pumpkin is just as nutritious for goslings as it is for adult geese, but goslings are going to struggle much more to eat it.
Particularly the seeds can be challenging for them, and I wouldn’t let them try to eat those stringy guts at all…
Also, you’ll probably need to give them the softest bits of flesh in order to make it easier for them to eat, and in any case, mind the quantity and only give them pumpkin periodically as a treat. It is not a staple part of a gosling’s diet.
How Often Can Geese Eat Pumpkin?
2 to 3 small servings per week. Pumpkin is definitely a wholesome and healthy supplement to your flock’s diet, but it is not a mainstay and definitely not the only thing they should be eating.
This will benefit plenty from the nutrients in pumpkin getting just a handful of servings per week in addition to all of the other stuff that they need, including grass and other plant matter or a nutritionally complete waterfowl feed.
But so long as you mind the quantity and ensure they’re getting all of the other nutrition they need, your geese should love pumpkin.
Preparing Pumpkin for Geese
More than most other veggies, pumpkin is going to require you to pitch in if you want to make it edible for your geese.
If you were going to serve them raw pumpkin, cut it open scoop out the guts, and then carve up the flesh into appropriately sized chunks or cubes.
Geese that are interested in pumpkin should eat them as is with no trouble. You can take the time to pick the seeds out of the guts if you want to serve them to your flock, or just get rid of the whole thing.
If you’re going to cook pumpkin, you can follow the same steps after cooking, but check the skin to see if it is soft enough to eat before you waste time cutting it up, too.
In all cases, the trick is to carve up the pumpkin into smaller bits so geese can eat it. They aren’t like pigs and larger animals that can easily break into it themselves or eat it whole with skin and all.
Don’t Give Pumpkin to Geese if it Has Any Bad Ingredients or Additives
Chances are when you mention the word “pumpkin” to someone, the very next word they think of is going to be “pie”.
That’s for good reason, because pumpkin is a fixture in all sorts of desserts and other delicacies from around the world, and more than a few savory dishes.
But as delicious as all of these things are you should never share them with your geese. Dairy products, salt, sugar, oils, butter and all of that stuff that also go into these things are very bad for geese, and can easily result in some catastrophic health issues.
In particular, salt and sugar can result in problems like kidney and liver harm, sodium poisoning, hypertension and of course obesity from added calories.
If you don’t want your geese to suffer from any of these ill effects, never give them anything except plain pumpkin, whether it is raw or cooked.
Never Give Geese Moldy or Spoiled Pumpkin
There’s another risk factor associated with feeding pumpkins to geese, but this one is shared among all kinds of produce and other foods that your geese might eat.
Geese are very vulnerable to molds, fungi and the toxins produced by some species of these microorganisms.
Feeding your geese any moldy or rotted pumpkins, perhaps a leftover jack-o’-lantern or other Halloween decoration, might be enough to make them really sick or even kill them. No joke!
Never give your geese any pumpkin, or any other food, that isn’t fresh enough that you would consider eating it 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.