Geese can be fed exclusively on grass if you have enough of it and it is of sufficient quality. Grass contains all of the vitamins and minerals geese need when it is fresh in the Spring.
Grass should be kept short (about 8cm or 3 inches) which can mean frequent mowing or keeping them within a mixed farm system with larger animals that will graze the longer grass first.
If you run out of good clean grass, wheat can be fed in the bottom of a bucket of water. The wheat will sink to the bottom of the bucket and keep rats and mice from eating or contaminating the food. Without grass, a medium size goose will eat around 200g of food per day.
Introducing new geese can be difficult. Geese are intelligent animals and form a strong bond with others in their flock. If for example a goose is lost and you would like to introduce a replacement female, they will at first fight with one another and often the newcomer will be rejected by the flock. It is generally easier with younger geese.
When introducing chickens, it is often best to allow as much space as possible so the bird that is lower in the pecking order can escape but the reverse seems to be true of geese. The method of introducing a new goose to a flock that has been used for many years (I have read about this is Reginald Appleyard's 1950's reprint of his book on Geese, breeding and management):
Whilst it is possible to have one gander to many geese in a flock, the chances of getting a high percentage of fertile eggs from all of the geese are low. The average gander can cope with up to four geese but a lot depends on the size, strain and age of the gander as well as how active he is.
For heavyweight breeds such as the Toulouse or Embden Goose, two to three geese is better. Light weight breeds such as the Chinese can manage as many as five or six geese if the gander is active.
By far the most common reason for a goose (or a duck) to go off its legs is when it is carrying lots of worms. Gizzard worm is the biggest problem for geese and can be fatal unless treated early, especially where goslings are concerned.
Goslings are particularly susceptible to Gizzard Worm. Always handle goslings regularly to ensure they are not losing weight. Flubenvet is licenced to treat geese and they should be treated at the first sign of problems.
After laying a clutch of eggs in the nest (8 to 12), a goose will sometimes get the natural instinct to go 'broody' or sit on her eggs. Medium weight geese seem to be the better broodies and some heavy breeds like the African and Toulouse will break their eggs.
She may not always sit on her eggs, often with the way that breeds have been modified through selective breeding, this characteristic is lost especially if the breed has been created as a utility bird for producing meat or eggs. If she does go broody and decide to sit on her eggs, she might line the nest with a few of her down feathers and then when she decides to start sitting on her eggs, she will not leave the nest except for short periods of time for food and water.
Yes, adult geese will damage young fruit trees in the autumn and winter months by pulling off the bark. Goslings won't usually bother with trees.
It is a good idea to put chicken wire or plastic spirals designed to protect bark from animals around each tree trunk until the trees have grown large enough and the bark is tough enough. This will give added protection from rabbits and other animals that might also chew the bark as well as geese. Geese are inquisitive and will nibble almost anything so ensure that whatever you use cannot break into pieces and there are no pieces of string, wire or netting staples that can be pulled out and swallowed.
From hatching to 3-4 weeks of age goslings should be fed on Goose / Duck Starter Crumbs to get them off to a good start.
Goslings will instinctively want to graze and grass should be made available to them, this can be provided in the form of a section of turf if the goslings are kept confined. Alternatively chopped chives or onion tops can be provided.
At 3-4 weeks of age Goose / Duck Grower / Finisher Pellets can be gradually introduced and these can be fed up until finishing. The amounts that individual birds will need will be very dependent upon the quality and quantity of grass available, where there is plenty of grazing only small amounts of additional feed may be required.
Greens and leafy vegetables can also be given as can a little wheat but this should be as a treat only and not in place of a nutritionally balanced pellet.