Why do Adult Geese Kill Their Own Gosling?

Geese are known to be pretty affectionate toward their goslings and other flock members. They will do everything to protect their young ones from predators and other threats. However, some adult geese, though in rare instances, kill their young ones.

Adult geese might kill their young ones when accidentally or intentionally. An adult male goose can kill the goslings if he suspects he is not the father of the goslings. He can also kill the goslings if they are sick.

Why do Geese Kill Their Babies?

Because geese are quite affectionate to their young ones, it would surprise any geese keeper to realize that some of the adult geese in their flock are killing their young ones. Geese are known to be some of the most territorial birds. That’s why they fiercely fight intruders to protect their offspring. These are the reasons why adult geese kill their gosling.

– Sick Baby Gosling

Goslings can fall sick due to diseases such as Avian disease or Salmonella. Goslings can also die from injuries resulting from fighting with other geese in the flock or parasite infestations.

Free-range adult geese will kill the sick goslings who can’t keep up with the flock when it’s foraging. Your adult geese, especially male geese, won’t hesitate to kill sick goslings in their flock because they aren’t helpful to the flock.

– It Was an Accident

Adult geese will accidentally kill their young ones when they are walking around. An adult goose will accidentally step on a gosling, ultimately killing or leaving the bird with severe injuries. An adult goose might accidentally step on a gosling when competing over food.

Drakes can accidentally step on goslings when chasing females around while mating. Accidental deaths among goslings are common when the geese live in congested coops. Free-range adult geese can also kill their babies accidentally while competing over food, mates, and living space.

Because geese are quite territorial, they might kill goslings after mistaking them for goslings from another flock. They will kill such goslings without hesitating because they think the young birds threaten their flock.

– Gosling is Not Its Brood

Just like canines such as lions kill babies after suspecting they aren’t their own, adult geese will not hesitate to kill goslings that aren’t their brood. Geese roosters will protect goslings when they are sure the young birds are their own.

Adult geese can’t protect their young ones after knowing they aren’t their own. Otherwise, they will kill the goslings because they think the tiny birds aren’t their offspring, thus threatening their flock.

Do Geese Care for Their Babies?

Yes, geese care for their babies like other animals care for their little ones. Geese are quite protective and will do anything to protect their babies from potential dangers. A female goose will risk her life to save her babies from other geese and predators.

If one of the goslings has an injury, the mother will guard the goslings until it recovers from the injury. She will continue guarding the baby gosling until it recovers from injuries.

What to do If Geese Try to Kill Their Babies?

It’s unusual for geese to kill their babies. However, these birds can unexpectedly kill their young ones for many reasons. If a goose is trying to kill her babies, or a rooster in your flock is showing intentions of killing the goslings, you can do a few things to stop the birds from killing their young ones.

These are some things geese keepers can do to prevent geese from killing their babies.

  • Isolate the goslings from adult geese- Geese don’t kill their babies at once. They start by pecking at the goslings until the little birds are weak enough to succumb to death because of injuries. If you notice that an adult goose is pecking at the goslings, it is likely the adult goose will kill the goslings. The ultimate way to save the goslings from death is to separate them from the adult geese from the goslings. You can partition the cage to ensure the goslings don’t live together with adult geese.
  • Avoid overcrowding– Geese will accidentally kill goslings because of overcrowding. The more geese you keep together with goslings in one cage, the higher the likelihood of the adult geese killing the goslings. Therefore, you should avoid overcrowding by keeping your geese in small spaces. Get a larger cage to provide the geese with enough space such that the adult geese won’t accidentally kill their younger counterparts as they fight over space. People with a huge geese flock should have a larger cage to accommodate all their geese so that the adult geese won’t conflict with goslings.
  • Have a large feeding area– Adult geese will most probably kill their young ones when fighting over food during feeding time. Geese keepers need to have a large feeding area for their birds to ensure the geese don’t fight over the feeding space. You can have separate feeding spaces for your goslings to ensure they don’t compete with adults for food.
  • Provide enough food to your geese– Geese will fight over food even with their goslings, which can lead to death and injuries. It will help to provide your geese with enough food to ensure the birds won’t have to fight over food. Constant fights among your adult geese because of food will make the goslings the biggest casualties of such fights.
  • Remove the sick baby goslings from the flock– Adult geese will kill the sick baby goslings because they see such goslings unsuitable to be part of their flock. Remove the ill goslings from the flock because the adults will kill the sick goslings over time.
  • Distract the geese-You can save your goslings from death emanating from adult geese by distracting the adults. For instance, let the adult geese outdoors to give them time to be on their own, hence distracting them from fighting or killing the goslings in your flock.


Geese are some of the most territorial birds, yet quite affectionate towards their babies. As devoted as these birds are, adult geese are likely to kill goslings at some point for many reasons.

Fortunately, geese raisers can prevent adult geese from attacking and killing their babies by doing a couple of things, including separating the goslings from adult geese.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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