Guidelines for Feeding Goslings

Goslings, or baby geese, are like any other babies and need lots of nutrients, vitamins and minerals to help them grow up to be strong and healthy.

We're brand new goose parents, so I did a lot of research, reading and asking questions before they arrived to be sure I knew how to best raise them.

This simple chart gives you the guidelines you need to ensure you're feeding your babies correctly.

Waterfowl feed can be hard to find, so usually feeding chicken feed seems to be what most goose keepers do.

Like ducklings, goslings can eat and thrive on chick feed, with a few simple caveats: they need more niacin than chicken feed provides, so you'll have to add brewers yeast to their daily feed during all stages of life (in a 2% ratio to feed). 

They also grow really fast which can put undue strain on their legs and lead to angel wing, just as it can in ducklings, so I opted to mix in some rolled oats into their feed (up to 25% ratio to the feed is okay) like I do for our ducklings.

Starter Feed

Hatch to 3 Weeks Old

Your ducklings will see their biggest growth spurt during this critical time. 
Chick starter feed has the highest levels of protein of any feed (other than meat bird feed!) to help support this rapid growth.

The calcium levels in starter feed are relatively low because the little ones only need it to grow strong bones, not to produce eggshells.... yet.

Starter feed is available in both medicated or non-medicated formulations. 

Take care to only feed NON-medicated to goslings. Like ducklings, they don't need the medication, so it's counterproductive to feed it to them.

Feed should be offered 24/7 to your goslings while they're in the brooder along with fresh room temperature water.

Pellets are recommended for goslings over crumble or mash because to prevent clogged throats and possible choking. Never leave them feed without adequate fresh, clean water.

Starter/Grower Feed + GRASS!

3 Weeks to 16 Weeks Old

Although your goslings' growth will slow down quite a bit during this next period, they still need a balanced diet to continue to fill out and mature properly. 

The protein level in the grower feed will drop from the level in the starter feed, while the calcium levels remain constant.

However, unlike ducklings and chicks, by this point your goslings should be out on grass for as much of the day as possible. 

They're much more cold-tolerant than chicks or ducklings, so by three weeks old, as long as the temperatures are around 70 degrees or more, they are fine outside (in a secure, covered area protected from predators of course). 

They will likely eat only a minimal amount of feed once they can have access to grass during the majority of their waking hours.

I continued to mix in the brewers yeast and oats into their feed during this stage, but only offered them feed in the evening when they came back inside to sleep. 

Many mornings there would still be feed in their dish, and I was only giving them maybe 3/4 of a cup to share between the three of them.

Layer Feed

17 Weeks Old+

As your ducklings begin to approach laying age, they will need to start stockpiling extra calcium in their bodies that will be use to create strong eggshells. 

Anytime within this age range, it's alright to switch them to layer feed when your last bag of grower feed runs out. 

Layer feed contains far greater amounts of calcium than either starter or grower feed. 

Feeding layer feed to young-ish ducks before they are approaching laying age can lead to an excess of calcium in their bodies and kidney issues later in life.

But again, your geese should be free ranging pretty much all the time now and will get the nutrients they need from the various grasses and weeds they eat.  

During the warm months, they shouldn't need commercial feed at all, or you can feed them a mix of layer feed and wheat.

In the winter they will need feed if they don't have access to fresh greens year round. 

A mix of wheat and layer feed mix or just wheat can be fed through the cold months.
Adult geese will eat about 1/2 pound of feed or grains per day when they have no access to grass. 

Offering sea kelp free-choice or mixed into the feed will provide them the nutrients they would be otherwise getting from the fresh greens.

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Choosing a good-quality feed for your flock is one of the most important things you can do for them. 

Feeding them the correct feed during each stage of their life is the second most important.

If you're not sure which type of feed you should be feeding, check the bag tag or label for the protein and calcium levels.

My goslings are Blue Seal geese and will live long, happy lives while laying us delicious, fresh eggs eating all stages of Blue Seal Home Fresh Feeds

Visit their website for more information about their entire poultry feed line - both organic and conventional.

Further Reading

Treat your flock to all natural Fresh Eggs Daily® feed supplements! 

Brewers Yeast with Garlic | Organic Coop Kelp | Poultry Probiotics
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