So, Can Geese Eat Spinach?

As most people know, geese are practically herbivores. They are not true, total herbivores because they do eat some things besides plants, but the vast majority of a goose’s diet is going to be plants, particularly leafy greenery.

a goose eating cabbage

They also like lots of leafy green vegetables, particularly cabbage and lettuce. But what about other vegetables like that, like spinach? Spinach is very healthy, but can geese eat it?

Geese can eat spinach safely but should only get strictly limited quantities in their diet.

Spinach has a compound called oxalic acid which blocks the uptake of calcium in the goose’s body and can prevent them from using it. This can cause brittle bones, slow healing, and deformed eggshells in laying dames.

Kind of a bummer to hear that, considering how healthy spinach is overall, if geese are allowed to eat too much it will cause serious health problems for them.

And it can be devastating for any females that are laying eggs, even causing them to become egg bound.

Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is, and there’s no real way to neutralize the effects aside from limiting the amount of spinach that geese eat or keeping them away from it entirely. Keep reading and I will tell you more.

Caution: Excess Spinach Consumption Can Cause Health Issues in Geese

To be clear, spinach isn’t truly poisonous. Your geese aren’t going to drop dead from eating it, but eating any more than a little bit of spinach every once in a while can start to negatively impact their health.

Spinach causes this because it contains oxalic acid, or oxalate, which prevents geese from biologically absorbing calcium, and can even interfere with bodily processes that require calcium already in the body.

This, as you might guess, is no good and the effects are cumulative depending on the amount of spinach eating or how often it is eaten in their diet. More spinach, more often, means more problems.

One of the most significant issues is a loss of calcium used for growing and repairing the bones of the skeleton.

This will lead to brittle bones which can cause a tremendous amount of problems and make geese prone to injury.

Even worse, oxalic acid it will prevent laying dames from forming strong and healthy egg shells, or sometimes her egg shells might even be absent entirely while inside her oviduct!

This is a life-threatening problem for the dame if it occurs, because she will almost certainly become egg-bound which can be fatal in as little as 24 hours. Even in lesser cases, eggs might not be viable or cannot resist being sat upon or turned.

Does Spinach Have Health Benefits for Geese?

Yes, spinach does have some health benefits despite the hazards of oxalic acid buildup.

Spinach has lots of calcium which, somewhat paradoxically, can serve to boost skeletal health and the formation of healthy egg shells in geese so long as they get small quantities periodically.

Essentially, the calcium is more than the oxalic acid content in a given quantity of spinach and geese can still benefit from it.

Spinach is also full of vitamins that are known antioxidants and can be a great boost to the immune system of geese.

Other vitamins and minerals work together to regulate various cellular processes, organ function, and even circulatory health by promoting rapid blood clotting upon injury.

Good benefits, to be sure, but you’re making a major mistake if you feed spinach to geese regularly: this is one leafy vegetable you shouldn’t let them eat to their heart’s content!

Nutrition Info for Spinach

Spinach is widely known and loved as a powerhouse nutritional vegetable, and that is a reputation that is well deserved.

Spinach has a good shot of protein to round out its excellent assortment of vitamins and minerals, and considering the minerals we see that spinach has lots of vitamin A, beta carotene, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate vitamin E, and vitamin C.

Spinach also has a tremendous amount of vitamin K, again, arguably too much and another reason why you don’t want to feed it to geese all the time.

The mineral content is similarly good with plenty of calcium and iron, manganese and magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium. Spinach also contains a little bit of naturally occurring salt.

Can Geese Eat Raw Spinach?

Yes, and raw spinach contains plenty of good nutrients, but has high levels of oxalic acid. It’s a cinch for geese to eat and digest, though, which makes it easy to serve, but also something you will need to keep an eye on; geese might easily overindulge if given a chance!

Is Cooked Spinach Safe for Geese?

Yes, and this might be the best and safest way to serve it to your flock. But, there’s a catch: cooked spinach, particularly boiled spinach, has significantly reduced oxalic acid levels (by as much as 80%!) but the nutritional content is also going to be significantly reduced in kind.

So it’s a good idea to serve cooked spinach to your geese, but you must still do so sparingly- oxalic acid is not completely removed or destroyed by cooking!

Can Goslings Eat Spinach Safely?

Generally no: oxalic acid can greatly impair bone growth and formation in geese, especially while they are young and growing quickly.

This makes spinach a very risky proposition for obvious reasons! It’s best to avoid it altogether until they’re mature, and if you have any doubts, consult your vet.

How Often Can Geese Eat Spinach?

1 small serving per week, 2 max for larger breeds. Abstain entirely in case of laying dames.

As mentioned several times already, spinach has a whole lot to offer geese, nutritionally, but the presence of oxalic acid means it is a deal with the devil.

For this reason, you must never let your geese eat it as they please, and you should not serve it to them more than once a week, two at the most, and only in small quantities.

Excess spinach can easily cause health issues and will be disastrous for laying dames. You have been warned!

Preparing Spinach for Geese

The safest way to prepare spinach for geese is to boil it. Boiling will remove a great deal of the oxalic acid, but also significantly reduce its nutritional content (though it is still going to be a net positive for your birds). When it is done, make sure you drain it thoroughly and let cool before serving.

If you prefer to give your geese spinach raw, make sure it is fresh and organic (to avoid pesticides) and serve only very small amounts at a time.

Don’t Give Spinach to Geese if it Has Any Bad Ingredients or Additives

Spinach can be bad enough for geese all on its own if they get too much of it, but a sure way to make a bad situation worse is by giving them spinach prepared with other ingredients that they should never have.

Any dish prepared with lots of salt, oil, butter, and other such ingredients should never be given to geese.

These ingredients can all cause various other health issues, including salt poisoning, liver problems, and major digestive distress.

If you’re going to give your geese spinach, in any form and in any quantity, it must be plain!

Never Give Geese Moldy or Spoiled Spinach

Another concern, but one not unique to spinach this time, is that posed by molds, fungi and rot.

Geese are especially vulnerable to the toxins these organisms produce, and they can cause severe sickness and even death.

As with all food items, it’s best to keep an eye on your spinach and discard any that has gone bad before serving it to your geese.

Your geese simply cannot tolerate any rotten or spoiled food, so don’t treat your flock like a garbage disposal for old, nasty produce!

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