How to Tell if Your Goose Is Sick?

Geese are some of the most disease-resistant domestic birds on the planet and rarely succumb to diseases compared to other domestic birds. These birds are pretty territorial and they will always inform you when there is a problem in your yard.

While geese are hardy, they are also susceptible to illnesses like other birds. New geese raisers have a challenge telling whether their geese are sick because they don’t know the signs of an ill goose. After all, it’s easy to confuse a goose’s sickness with its aggressive and angry behavior.

Thankfully, it’s easy to tell when your geese are sick because there are clear signs showing when a goose is sick. For instance, diarrhea and lack of appetite are some apparent signs of an ill goose.

7 Signs Your Goose Is Sick

The challenge for many geese raisers is that they can’t tell when their birds are sick. They assume that their birds are healthy as long as they are alive and walking around. Moreover, new geese keepers confuse a goose’s sickness with its aggressive behavior.

Knowing the symptoms of a sick goose can help you intervene before the symptoms of illness get severe, leading to the death of your goose. It can also prevent the sick bird from spreading diseases to other geese in your flock.

Fortunately, there are some obvious signs of an ill goose to look out for if you want to know if your bird is sick. Here are the seven signs your goose could be sick.

– Lack of Appetite

A lack of appetite is the first sign that your goose could be sick. Geese like eating and drinking water. These birds want to have food around all the time. Sick geese don’t eat because they lack the appetite to eat, no matter how nutritious food you provide.

Healthy geese eat constantly; therefore, there could be a problem with your bird when it doesn’t eat for days. Keeping track of the food every bird in your flock consumes can be difficult, especially when you have too many geese.

You should, however, check whether every bird in the flock is eating normally. If one of your geese doesn’t show interest in food like other flock members, it could be sick. It requires some intervention when one of the birds in the flock doesn’t eat since it shows that the bird could be sick.

– Lying on the Ground

Geese are usually active, and they like walking around. However, a sick goose will be inactive most of the time, and the bird will lay on the ground when other members are walking around cheerfully.

If your goose isn’t active or lying on the ground instead of walking around like other healthy geese in the flock, it could be sick and requires your intervention to save the ill bird. Check whether the goose is injured if it keeps laying on the ground when other birds are foraging or walking around.

– Separating from the flock

Geese are highly social birds that prefer living in large flocks. These birds live in flocks and always walk and forage together. Nonetheless, sickness can separate one or two geese from the flock. If you notice that one of the birds is isolating itself from the other flock members, it’s good to check whether it could be sick.

The chances that such a bird could be sick are pretty high. A healthy goose will join other flock members and it won’t dare walk alone. Sick geese also prefer to roost alone instead of joining other flock members.

Furthermore, ailing geese like to drink and eat separately, and therefore you should check whether one of the birds is separating itself from the flock because it can be an apparent sign of sickness.

– Diarrhea

Diarrhea is one of the surest signs of a sick goose. Although a bit of diarrhea is normal in geese and other domestic birds depending on diet, frequent diarrhea can dehydrate your bird, ultimately causing death in the long run.

If you notice plenty of diarrhea around the coop or see a goose having diarrhea on its vent area, your goose might be sick. Bloody diarrhea can also be a sign of severe sickness in geese because it shows that your goose could be having serious problems.

For instance, diarrhea could indicate that your goose could be suffering from Salmonella or Avian cholera. Furthermore, diarrhea could show that your goose could be having digestive problems. Calling a vet to give your sick bird some antibiotics will help stop diarrhea and help the ailing bird retain water in its body.

– Shaking Its Head Often

Sick geese shake their heads frequently because of pain and distress. A sick goose will keep shaking its head as if the bird is trying to shake something off its neck. Shaking head frequently can indicate that your goose could be sick.

Geese shake their heads whenever they are sick to ridding themselves of the ill feeling since these birds don’t know what to do to get over the sickness. It’s normal for geese to shake their heads occasionally, especially when walking around.

However, frequent head shaking can indicate that your goose could be sick. Furthermore, regular head shaking can mean that your bird could be going through pain or distress. Call the vet to check if your goose has been shaking its head frequently.

– Keep Falling Over

A sick goose can’t maintain balance and the bird keeps falling over every time it attempts to walk around. Sick geese have balance problems and can’t remain on their feet for long. Signs of sickness will be apparent when your goose tries to walk around because it will keep tripping or stumbling whenever it’s walking.

Check whether your goose is having problems walking because it could be a sign of sickness. It also means that the goose could have injuries that make it impossible for the bird to maintain balance when walking.

Sick geese also limp, and thus they can’t maintain balance when walking. Limping is also another sign that your geese could be ill or it could be having some injuries. If you notice one of your birds is limping, the bird could be unhealthy to an extent whereby it keeps falling over.

Or, the bird could be having some injuries that could be affecting its movement. Check its feet and legs for injuries that could make the bird fall over when it’s walking.

– Runny Nose

Nasal discharge is a common sign of sickness in geese and other domestic birds. A sick goose may have a runny nose. Geese suffer from flu, like humans, and having a runny nose can indicate that your bird could be ill and needs a vet’s intervention to save its life.

It’s normal for geese to have a runny nose, especially after spending time in the water or in the cold. However, the problem arises when the bird remains with a runny nose for a long time. Calling a vet to check on your goose can help diagnose the bird of issues such as influenza, which could give your duck a runny nose.

How to Cure a Sick Goose?

Although geese are highly disease-resistant, these birds get sick like other creatures, unlike chickens. Having sick geese in your flock can be stressful because you can’t tell how long the birds will be sick.

However, sickness doesn’t mean your geese won’t live for long. Most of the health problems that affect geese are curable. These are a couple of tips on how to cure a sick goose.

– Isolate the sick birds

It helps to isolate the sick geese from the flock to ensure they don’t spread the diseases to other healthy flock members. Separating the sick birds from the flock ensures they are safe and they get the space to recover from sickness. Furthermore, isolating the sick birds ensures you can monitor their recovery process.

You can put the sick birds in a separate pen and continue monitoring their recovery progress. Attend to the birds to ensure they recover and join other flock members.

– Provide your sick birds with water and food

Ensure your sick geese have access to nutritious food and water. Geese suffering from acute diarrhea can dirty the water and food with their droppings, making other geese sick. Keep checking the water for any droppings from the ill bird.

Furthermore, clean the food bowls before giving food to your birds. Sick geese need a nutritious diet consisting of nutrients, such as vitamins, proteins, and other vital minerals that help speed up recovery. You can purchase commercial feed with various minerals and nutrients your birds need to recover from sickness.

– Clean the coop

Cleanliness is crucial for the recovery of sick geese. Cleaning up after sick geese can be unpleasant and tough, but it is necessary for the birds’ recovery. Clean the coop to give the sick birds clean conditions vital for their recovery.

Cleaning the coop also ensures your birds are free of any external parasites that make them sick. Furthermore, cleanliness also ensures your birds are safe from bacteria, such as Salmonella, a leading killer of geese and other domestic birds.

– Introduce herbs to the sick birds

Herbs such as juniper and rosemary can help heal your geese from several diseases, including diarrhea and influenza. You can mix such herbs with the birds’ food and water. The curing effects of herbs can cure your birds from multiple diseases, including diarrhea.

– Call the vet

It’s hard to cure a goose with acute illness because you don’t have the medication to heal the bird from a critical condition. Calling a vet to check on your sick bird is vital, especially if the sickness symptoms persist for a long time.

Vets have experience treating various health conditions affecting geese and other domestic birds. Furthermore, a vet will vaccinate your birds against recurring diseases.


Although geese rarely fall sick, these birds are still vulnerable to diseases such as Avian cholera, Salmonella, and fowl pox. That’s why it helps goose raisers to monitor their birds for any sickness.

Fortunately, you can tell when your goose is sick by checking some apparent signs of illness. Intervene immediately if you notice any ailment in your geese before the sickness becomes more severe, ultimately killing your bird.

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

Questions and Answers

Linda Forsberg January 1, 2023 Reply

My goose won’t straighten he’s neck out. He seems lethargic. He won’t eat even his favorite treats (romaine lettuce). His feathers are somewhat disheveled. He always liked to flap his wings and hiss and now he doesn’t do that. I am pretty sure he is sick but don’t know what to do.

Mimi Nguyen March 3, 2023 Reply

Thank you for your post. We are incubating our geese eggs because if left to nature, they ended up being eaten by predators in our field (not sure what). We bought a rcom max 20, but there is no instruction as to how often to set the turning egg feature…. every hour? Please advise.
Again, thank you! Mimi

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