Orchards are a popular place for geese; they provide shade, and geese can keep the grass short, especially in hard to reach places, but what if you’re planning on planting some young fruit trees? Will geese damage young fruit trees?
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.
Protecting fruit trees
It is a good idea to put some chicken wire or plastic spirals designed to protect the bark from animals such as rabbits around each tree trunk until the trees have grown large enough and the bark is tough enough.
Even adult trees can sometimes get nibbled by geese (they love pulling at anything loose), but it’s not common for them to do this. If you are concerned, you may be better off keeping a ring of chicken wire around the trunk for life. This will also give added protection from rabbits and other animals that might chew the bark as well.
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.
Protecting soil around new trees
When fruit trees are first planted, there will be bare soil around the base of the trees. Whilst geese won’t bother with this if you keep chickens in the same enclosure as your geese, keep in mind that they will scratch up the soil around the tree’s roots looking for food.
Chicken wire can double up as protection against this as well as protection from geese.
This is why the chicken wire in the first photo at the top of this page covers such a wide area around the fruit tree.
There is a lot more information in the keeping geese category to help you get the most out of your birds.