How to Set Up a Goose Coop?
In the past, people only thought of chickens when they wanted to venture into poultry farming. Nowadays, one of the leading options for farmers is geese.
Farmyard geese make excellent weeders for some crops, have loud piercing honks that can warn you of danger or scare away intruders and make excellent guardians for chickens.
Moreover, geese lay large tasty eggs, have fatty, delicious meat, and produce soft down feathers used for stuffing comforters and pillows.
Thankfully, it is relatively easy to raise geese. One of the key aspects to pay attention to when raising healthy geese is their housing. Geese are hardy birds that hold up pretty well to adverse weather elements.
Nonetheless, they need a well-built coop where they can shelter from the rain, sun, and wind while staying safe from predatory animals like minks, polecats, badgers, and foxes. The enclosure will also serve as a dedicated space where the birds can lay eggs and nest.
Below is a guide on the housing needs of your goose to guarantee you get it right.
5 Things to Consider For a Goose Coop
Below are the main elements on which you will base your choice of a goose coop:
1. Coop Size
Geese are social animals that should ideally be kept in pairs to thrive. The birds are also large, with their smallest breed weighing about 5 pounds and the largest weighing about 14 pounds.
The largest goose breed can reach about 43 inches with a wingspan of up to 73 inches. You need enough space to accommodate the large sizes of your pair of geese to ensure their comfort.
Experts recommend having about 6-8 square feet per bird so that your goose has enough space to move about and nest though the exact size will depend on your goose’s breed.
You can have a smaller space if your geese spend most of their time free-ranging or in a larger run and only use their coop to sleep and lay eggs. Geese might only need a little headspace because they are not very tall, so a kennel-sized shelter can suffice.
Nonetheless, when possible, get a goose coop that is tall enough to accommodate you when standing. This makes it easy to pick eggs and take care of your birds in the enclosure.
2. Coop Ramp
You should include a wide, gently inclined ramp for geese to get into their coop since it will often be raised off the ground. This is because geese are not so agile, so they might have difficulties jumping up to enter the coop.
Sturdy wooden ramps will suffice. You can add thin horizontal wooden strips with six-inch spaces to boost traction on the ramp.
Ensure there are no rough areas on the ramp because these can snag the delicate webbing on a goose’s feet. The ramp should also be at least as wide as your coop’s doorway.
Since geese are wet animals, you need adequate ventilation in their coops to ensure their living space does not become moldy and dangerous for them.
Excess moisture can also predispose your birds to frostbite in the winter. In the summer, your goose coop will have ammonia build-up, and your birds will be too hot and uncomfortable without enough ventilation.
Ammonia can extensively damage your goose’s respiratory system and increase your veterinary bills or lead to your bird’s death.
You have several alternatives for ventilation in your goose coop. Here are a few.
- Place vents above your roosts or perches for year-round ventilation.
- Include some windows around the coop though these should be tightly closed in the winter to prevent drafts.
- Keep the water for your geese outside the coop to prevent moisture build-up.
- Use fans for large goose coops. In this case, settle for a fan designed for dusty areas so that it will not clog and malfunction.
- Use wind turbines mounted on a large coop. Its blades spin in the wind to suck out air from the enclosure.
How much ventilation will you need? In warm climates, settle for one square foot of ventilation for every ten square feet of your coop’s space.
In cold climates, ensure the open vents are above the highest roosting point of your geese and have a cover so that snow and rain do not get into the coop.
4. Secured Door
Elevating your goose coop and covering the vents are ideal to keep predators out and your birds in. Nonetheless, you also need a secured door to protect your birds.
Most poultry farmers opt for latches for their coops, but some predators can taper with these and get to your geese. You can settle for two-step locks that are harder for predators to open.
Currently, there are also automatic coop doors that close and open at specified times. These are almost impossible for predators to tamper with and guarantee your flock’s safety even when you forget to lock the door.
5. Elevation From the Ground
A goose’s coop should ideally be off the ground to secure it from predators. Some species of snakes can slither into the enclosure and eat the goose’s eggs or even the goslings.
The elevation of your coop also protects it from damage by floods and improves ventilation under it because geese are wet animals.
Moreover, raising your goose’s coop means you will not have to bend so low when cleaning it or picking eggs, which protects your back.
The enclosure should be 8-12 inches off the ground on pressure-treated lumber to hold up its weight.
Do Geese Need Perches in Their Coops?
No, geese do not need perches in their coops. Unlike chickens and turkeys that need perches to roost, domestic geese generally sleep on the ground.
As such, you might not need perches in your coop. Nonetheless, you can still have straw bales and other low sturdy structures on which your geese can roost off the ground when they want to.
Cover the roost with some fresh bedding to cushion your birds and ease your coop’s cleaning.
Do Geese Need Nesting Boxes in their Coop?
Yes, if you want your geese’s eggs to be safe, it is best to have nesting boxes for them. The birds can use a sectioned-off area of their coop to make a nest if you have not provided a nesting box.
They lay eggs on the ground and then cover them with leaves or bedding to hide them. Though this sounds ok, it places your eggs at risk of breaking, and it might be challenging for you to collect the eggs, so some might get lost to predators.
Place your nesting box in a dark secure area far from the feeding section to boost the odds of your goose using it. A 15 x 12-inch box is generally enough for most goose breeds.
Do Geese Need Bedding in their Coop?
Yes, geese will need bedding in their coops. In fact, they will need more litter or bedding than chickens because they have wetter droppings and will make more of a mess when drinking water.
You can use shavings, newspaper, rice hulls, ground corn cobs, or straw as the bedding for your geese. Irrespective of your choice, the bedding should be dry before use and have no mold. Moisture from geese makes the perfect environment for mold proliferation.
Geese, ducks, and chickens will happily coexist, so you can keep all of them when diversifying your poultry farming. You can house geese with other birds as long as you have provided the amenities above and made the coop appropriate for them.
This makes geese among the most inexpensive yet profitable birds to keep. Other than a suitable indoor space, provide a predator-proof outdoor space for your geese. The birds love foraging, exploring in tall grass, laying out in the sun, and swimming.
Have a fenced outdoor area with water to swim in, some grass, and enough space for foraging to keep your geese happy.