“What are guard geese, and do you carry them?” We get this question quite a lot from customers and we thought it would be nice to explore this topic a little bit more in depth.
Guard geese are domesticated geese used as guard animals for farms and personal land. Because guard geese have excellent eyesight, watchful and inquisitive personalities, loud voices, and strong territorial instincts, they are great at alarming their owners when something is amiss in their environment. They can serve as a personal alarm system when predators or trespassers enter a property. Loud honking will alert humans when geese are stressed.
If you are familiar with your flock, you will get comfortable discerning your geese’s loud ear piercing honk of alarm from their mating calls and everyday goose talkativeness. This verbal warning system can prove to be invaluable should there be a predator threatening your flock. It might just give you that extra bit of time necessary to get your chickens out of harm’s way from a hawk or coyote.
While geese will protect a flock, they will also protect physical objects like your house, yard, or personal property. Just be aware that they might scare off an intruder as well as a friendly neighbor just trying to stop by.
Guard geese that have been imprinted on their owners since goslings can also serve as pets. If handled from a young age, geese raised in an interactive home environment can serve a dual purpose as pet and protector. They will be able to discern outside threats from family member because they have become bonded with their humans. If geese have been properly imprinted on their humans and are comfortable with being handled, they usually do not attack strangers but rather just alert others to their presence. They might run towards a new person, but this does not mean any harm will result.
“Well what breed of goose in particular is good at guard duty?” you may ask.
We consider both African geese and White Chinese geese to be excellent at guarding. Their large stature, loud voices and territorial behavior make for a great guard animal.African Geese
originated out of the wild Asian Swan Goose of China and the breed was introduced to the United States in the mid-1800s. Africans are brown, beige, and white in color with a distinctive knob at the top of their beak. Yes, this breed is noisier than other breeds, but they are also beautiful and active foragers weighing 12.5 to 15.5 pounds on average and producing 35-45 eggs per year. If you are looking for a variation on this breed, you should also consider the Super African goose as well. Super Africans
are similar to African geese but larger in size with a well-developed dewlap.
Another breed we recommend for its excellent guarding capabilities is the White Chinese
. White Chinese geese – like their name suggests – come from China and are derived from the wild Asiatic Swan goose. The most distinguishing feature of the Chinese and African breeds is their raised knobs. White Chinese geese are snowy white with orange beaks and legs, and they are the most prolific egg layers of all the breeds we offer laying 50-60 eggs per year. It is not unusual for them to lay well into the fall and winter months.Brown Chinese
are another variation of Chinese geese worth considering for guard duties. They also originate from the wild Asiatic Swan goose and they are smaller, lighter and more elegant than their white counterparts. They come in lovely beige-brown tones similar to that of the African or Super African.
Whether you need a little extra protection for your flock, you want a family pet, or you are looking for an alarm system, geese might be a solution for you. Please take a look at our Breed Comparison Chart
to see the differences between the various geese breeds. Anything listed as “Noisy” under Breed Temperament would make for a good guard goose.Here are some interesting observations we have found regarding Guard Geese in general:
• Do not expect geese to fight off a predator to protect smaller birds. Some may sacrifice themselves to protect their mate but their greatest attribute is their alarm system - not their actual physical intimidation.
• Their defensiveness is usually seasonal. Geese may be much more aggressive during the spring when females are sitting on eggs and baby goslings need to be defended. A bird may seem warmhearted during the fall but a no-nonsense protector in the spring.
• White Chinese, Brown Chinese, Africans, and Super Africans are our recommendations for Guard Geese as they are naturally noisier. They do not seem to be more aggressive than other breeds, just more vocal.
• Oftentimes the fewer geese you have in a pen, the more protective they are of that pen. If you only have one pair in a backyard, they can easily convince themselves it is their backyard. But if you have ten, then who is responsible for that backyard? Mary? Ethel? Fred? George?
• In terms of geese in general, there seems to be quite a bit of variability within each breed in terms of aggressiveness. One person might say their Buff are gentle giants and their White Chinese geese are very aggressive. The next person could say just the opposite. Therefore, theoretically, any goose can be looked at as a guard goose - it just depends on perspective.
Just some added thoughts on geese to think about . . .