15 Best Grass Types for Geese and Goslings
Grass is a staple diet for domesticated and wild geese and their goslings. Wild geese have a wider choice of grass species than domestic geese. They can also migrate in search of fresh grass. Their domesticated cousins have a few grass species on their menu, mainly depending on the grass varieties in their owners’ gardens.
Grass isn’t only healthy for geese and goslings but also an affordable diet option that can help geese raisers save money on geese feeds. Some great grass species for geese and goslings include the Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda grass, Wheatgrass, and Timothy grass.
Choosing the Right Grass for Geese
Eating grass can provide your geese and their offspring with many benefits. Grass has all the natural nutrients geese require to stay healthy. Furthermore, grass is an abundant source of fiber for these birds, helping them to digest the foods they eat properly.
While grass is an excellent natural food for geese, it’s best to watch out for the type of grass you feed since not all grass varieties are suitable for geese. For instance, geese raisers must pick suitable grass that doesn’t contain harmful herbicides and pesticides. Below are some valuable insights into choosing the right grass for your geese.
Nutritional Content of the Grass
Geese can consume a variety of grass species. Grass varieties have different nutritional values, so it helps to know whether the grass you choose for your free-range geese flock offers the best nutritional value to your flock. The best grass for geese and their offspring should provide a nutritional value of at least 33 calories for every 100 grams of grass.
Calories will give your geese the energy to walk around and explore new foraging areas. The grass you choose for your flock should also contain at least 3.3 grams of carbs per 100 grams of grass you feed your flock. Carbs will boost your birds’ energy levels in their main organs, including the heart, kidneys, and lungs.
The best grass variety should contain dietary fiber, an essential compound in many plant materials. Fiber can help improve digestion and further increase mineral absorption from all the food they consume. The ideal grass should have vast amounts of trace minerals and vitamins.
Climate and Weather Conditions
Grass grows fast and healthy during the early summer and late spring. The fast growth during these seasons is attributable to adequate sunlight and water amounts. These seasons also have warmer temperatures that encourage rapid grass growth.
Choosing grass species for your flock during these seasons is paramount because the grass will benefit your birds and ensure they have good nutritional value to boost their health. It’s advisable to refrain from feeding grass to your flock during the winter when vegetation growth is at its lowest.
Winter conditions make grasses grow yellow. These conditions also make grasses exhibit stunted growth, depriving them of the nutrients your geese require. Furthermore, the grass is dry mainly during summer, so it can affect your birds’ digestive systems.
Soil Type and Quality
Good soil type and quality are vital to the successful growth of grass and vegetation. The best soil type for healthy grass is loam, which has an outstanding balance of clay, silt, and sand. Furthermore, loam soil holds up moisture perfectly well. It also drains well once you water the grass.
It would help if you also considered giving your birds grass that grows on loam soil because the soil will help retain nutrients, making the grass ideal for your geese and goslings. Besides soil type, soil temperature can also affect grass quality. Grass grows perfectly and with abundant nutrition when the soil temperature exceeds 5 degrees Celsius.
Ensure your flock eats grass that grows at these temperatures because they allow the grass to absorb soil nutrients that increase your flock’s nutritional uptake. Measure the soil temperatures with a thermometer before growing grass for your geese on your lawn.
Water Source and Irrigation
Water quality and irrigation can affect grass quality and nutrition. The presence of chemicals and contaminants in irrigation water can affect grass growth and quality. Your flock can fall ill from eating grass grown with poor quality and contaminated water.
Young geese and goslings with weak immune systems may exceptionally be at risk for diseases after consuming low-quality grass grown from contaminated water. Irrigation water comes from groundwater through wells or springs, rivers, reservoirs, and surface water.
Geese raisers must choose grass grown with natural water sources to minimize the risk of their flock eating contaminated grass. Besides the water sources, farmers should also ensure they choose the best grass grown through natural irrigation methods. For instance, farmers should avoid giving grass to their flocks if it’s grown using fertilizers and other inorganic chemicals.
Such chemicals can reach the fresh part of the grass through the roots, ultimately reaching the birds’ bodies upon consumption. It would be wise to ensure your geese stay away from irrigated grass since it carries herbicides and chemicals that risk the birds’ health.
Grazing Rotation and Management
Grazing rotation and management allow geese raisers to control the intensity and timing of the grass their flock consumes. Since grass is one of the cheapest food items for geese, geese raisers should aim to maximize grass yield on their lawns during the growing season.
Domesticated and wild geese get 25% of grass from pastureland. Most farmers allow flocks to graze continuously on their lands, resulting in grass pastures suffering from inconsistent and poor fertility over time. Proper rotation and management is a great practice to ensure your flock accesses high-quality grass.
Furthermore, it encourages high grass yields, ensuring grass is available to your flock all year round. Grazing rotation and management have multiple benefits. For instance, they increase soil fertility, which is vital for ensuring you have healthy and nutritious grass for your birds.
Grass Height and Density
The best grass for geese and goslings should be 5 inches tall. Anything longer can subject your birds to health problems. For instance, tall grass can be tough on young geese and goslings. Tall grass is also less digestible, unlike short grass, meaning your geese risk having digestive issues if they consume taller grass varieties.
Again, tall grass can subject your birds to predators such as snakes, feral cats, and raccoons which usually hide in the grass waiting to devour unsuspecting birds. Relatively shorter grass is more nutritious and healthier for geese than long grass. The short-growing grass varieties can increase your flock’s protein intake.
Furthermore, short grass has more nutrients and minerals. Besides considering grass height while choosing the perfect grass for your geese, it’s equally imperative to consider grass density. The higher the grass density, the better. Grass varieties with compact density have more nutritional value than those with low densities.
High-density grass also has more leaves, increasing your flock’s mineral and nutrient intake. Therefore, farmers should opt for shorter grass varieties with high densities.
Location and Availability of the Grass
It would help geese raisers to consider the location and availability of grass before feeding grass to their flocks. The best grass varieties for geese are usually uncultivated grass varieties in open fields. Such grasses don’t have herbicides and chemicals that affect geese’ health.
Moreover, the natural grass growing in open areas usually depends on natural water sources, including rain. Geese should avoid grass growing in irrigated fields because their chances of consuming contaminants are high if they rely entirely on such grasses.
Those who raise geese with grass should also think about the availability of grass. Most grass varieties are seasonal, so they aren’t always available for geese flocks throughout the year. For instance, it’s difficult for geese raisers to have healthy grass for their flocks in winter because grass growth is at its lowest during the cold winter.
Furthermore, urban dwellers may not have grass around for their geese because they are hardly any grass fields in urban areas. Even the grass on urban lawns isn’t sufficient for farmers with small-sized geese flocks.
Besides, geese in urban settings have access to limited grass varieties, most of which don’t have substantive nutritional content. It helps to consider whether the grass will be readily available for your flock before making grass a staple diet for the flock.
Best Grass Varieties for Geese
Geese love nibbling on grass since grass is one of their favorite foods. Although your flock will feed on multiple food items, grass will make up a considerable chunk of their diet. However, not all grass varieties are healthy and nutritious for geese.
Some can be tough and contain hazardous herbicides and chemicals, so it helps to learn about the best varieties for your flock. These are some of the best grass varieties you should consider introducing to your geese.
Also known as smooth meadow grass or bluegrass, Kentucky bluegrass is a perennial grass species native to North Asia and Europe. It is also widespread in North America. The perennial grass species is between 12 and 28 inches tall. It has boat-shaped leaves. Kentucky bluegrass has many advantages, making it excellent for geese. For instance, it’s short and has good density. It’s also a nutritional powerhouse, giving your geese many minerals and nutrients.
The orchard grass is another excellent grass variety for geese. It’s prevalent in Europe and North America. Orchard grass is a short variety that grows between 7.9 and 55.1 inches tall. Orchard grass is among the high-quality grass varieties, making it a good option for poultry and livestock. It contains vast amounts of protein, vital for goslings and young geese in their growing stages. It can provide excellent food for geese because it’s drought hardy and available throughout the year.
Timothy grass is a perennial variety native to Europe but also prevalent in North America. The grass variety grows between 19 and 59 inches tall. It has hairless soft leaves, making it easily digestible, particularly for goslings. Timothy grass makes nutritious forage for geese and poultry. It has vast protein traces and a decent amount of phosphorus and calcium. Furthermore, Timothy grass has a relatively low-calorie content. Thanks to its rich fiber content, the grass variety is suitable for geese.
Fescue grass is an evergreen variety suitable for ducks, geese, and livestock. It is prevalent in North America and Europe. The grass grows up to 55 inches tall. It has gray leaves measuring between 20 and 50 centimeters wide. It’s among the most straightforward grass varieties to cultivate.
Furthermore, Fescue grass is readily available to geese because it tolerates high humidity and drought. It has rich fiber content and abundant traces of minerals and nutrients. It’s winter hardy, so it makes an excellent grass variety for geese in winter when the grass is scarce for the birds.
Also known as Lolium, Ryegrass is a grass variety belonging to the bluegrass family. Ryegrass is native to Asia, northern Africa, and Europe. It’s a cultivated grass variety in the Americas and Australia. The grass is high in protein, fiber, and calcium. It grows fast, making it an ideal grass variety for geese raisers with large flocks.
Wheatgrass is a fresh grass variety native to India and the Persian region. It’s also common in the Americas and Europe. Wheatgrass is high in nutrients and minerals but low in calories, making it a healthy food option for free-range geese. Furthermore, the grass is high in crucial antioxidants, such as glutathione. It has decent amounts of vitamins E and C. The antioxidants in the Wheatgrass are vital for fighting free radicals in a goose’s body.
Smooth bromegrass is a grass species native to North America and Europe. The grass can grow between 46 and 91 cm tall. The grass variety makes excellent food for free-range geese, thanks to its abundant protein and relatively low crude fiber content. Smooth bromegrass is also soft and easily digestible by geese.
Tall fescue is a seasonal grass variety native to Europe and North America. It’s among the tallest grass varieties suitable for livestock and poultry. The grass can grow up to 1.2 m tall. Tall fescue boasts adaptability to a vast array of climates. It’s also heat and cold-tolerant. Tall fescue grass has a higher nutritional value than other perennial grass species.
For instance, It has a high concentration of crude protein. It also packs many mineral traces, including calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Furthermore, Tall fescue is available for domestic and wild geese since it grows year-round.
Also known as English ryegrass, Perennial ryegrass is a perennial grass variety native to northern Africa, Asia, and Europe. The variety is also widely cultivated in North America. The leafy grass variety provides excellent forage for geese, giving the birds a high percentage of crude protein and digestible fiber. Perennial ryegrass is also high in minerals and nutrients.
Coastal Bermuda grass
The Coastal Bermuda grass is a highly productive variety prevalent in Europe and the Americas. The variety boasts exceptional longevity. It also grows fast and can withstand drought and harsh weather elements. Coastal Bermuda grass is rich in natural protein and digestible fiber.
It’s also smooth and capable of withstanding multiple climates. It has rich medicinal properties, such as antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which can keep your flock healthy.
Also known as black bent, Redtop grass is a perennial grass variety native to Europe. It is also prevalent in the cooler regions of North America. Geese raisers are quickly discovering that Redtop grass can help their geese have good digestion and shiny coats.
The protein in Redtop grass can be beneficial to goslings and young geese. Redtop grass is also rich in vitamins E and C. Furthermore, it has vast traces of phosphorus, calcium, and iron.
Scientifically known as Festuca pratensis, Meadow fescue is a perennial grass species prevalent in the Americas and Europe. The short-grass variety grows between 12 and 47 inches tall. It has bright green leaves measuring around 4 mm wide.
It’s one of the best grass to cultivate for geese, for it is adaptable to multiple climates. Furthermore, Meadow fescue is cold and drought tolerant. Thanks to its rich protein, mineral, and fiber content, it has a rich nutritional content.
Annual ryegrass is an herbaceous yearly grass variety native to Europe and temperate Americas. It boasts a high nutritional value that can help meet your flock’s dietary requirements. For instance, Annual ryegrass is rich in crude protein, which is critical for geese growth. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals.
Buffalo grass is a seasonal variety native to the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The short grass variety grows between 2 and 5 inches tall. It’s easily adaptable to low-quality soils. Buffalo grass copes well with drought and high heat. It’s more cold-tolerant than other grass varieties.
It boasts rich nutritional value to support free-ranging geese. It has around 9.6% crude protein and vast traces of amino acids.
How to Establish and Maintain a Healthy Grass Plot for Geese
Geese love grass, so you should have an endless supply of fresh grass for your flock. Here are some tips on establishing and maintaining a healthy grass plot for your geese flock.
- Choose a fast-growing grass variety to plant on your lawn
- Keep watering the grass to ensure it is evergreen throughout the year
- Fertilize the lawn with organic fertilizers
- Mow the lawn regularly to encourage fresh grass to sprout
- Check the soil PH levels and amend them when necessary to create a conducive environment for the grass to grow
Geese and their goslings are avid grass lovers. These birds will roam your garden foraging for grass. Grass can provide your free-range geese flock with numerous benefits. Furthermore, grass can be an inexpensive food choice for geese.
With so many grass varieties suitable for geese, you can cultivate the best and most nutritious variety for your birds to ensure the grass is always available to the flock year-round.