Raising Goslings — National Sebastopol Geese Association (2024)

Raising Goslings

Day one and beyond. Keeping your birds happy and healthy.

Raising Goslings — National Sebastopol Geese Association (1)

Water

Goslings need water deep enough to dunk their bills under so they can clean their nostrils. Do not allow goslings swimming privileges until at least 2 weeks old and even then, in very shallow water (1”- 2”) and always supervised. You can use a chick feeder with marbles the first couple of days until they are steadier on their feet.

Heat and Housing

Raising Goslings — National Sebastopol Geese Association (2)

Goslings need heat until the outside temperature matches the temperature where the goslings are kept. When hatched, they need to be under a heat light at a temp of 95˚F the first week. Then dropped to 85˚F the second week. The temperature is dropped 5 ˚each week until the outside temps match. 3 weeks old, they need 80˚F temp and at 4 weeks old 75˚F. Heat plates are recommended over heat lamps. Lamps are a fire hazard. Most prefer to set up brooders inside their houses or draft free barns while the goslings are young. You can use playpens, kiddie pools, or even boxes to keep them safe. Keep your brooder floor non slip and change the bedding often.

Feed

Feed 20% NON-MEDICATED starter/grower crumbles. Offer romaine lettuce, mustard and collard greens, green peas, kale and fresh grass to give them. At about 3 weeks old, switch to waterfowl feed. Not above 16% protein. If you can’t find waterfowl feed, you can use layer pellets mixed with black sunflower seeds and whole oats. The goal is to keep protein low for best feather growth.

SOCIALIZATION/EXERCISE

Spend plenty of time sitting with them. Handle them often and let them follow you around. Let them play, run and stretch their wings. They will love you for it! Geese are flock animals, they do better with more than one, please consider a buddy for your baby. They love colorful baby toys and a mirror to play with so they don’t get bored while in their brooder. Refer to water section for swimming advice. If raising multiple goslings, try and keep your birds split by age and size. Larger goslings will pick on and possibly injure smaller goslings.

**It’s a good idea to add a 4-5 drops of liquid Vitamin B (for humans) to help with stress when you get your gosling home.

**Don’t let babies walk on surfaces they can slip on as it can damage their legs. It’s best to have towels or something down for them so they can’t slip or slide around.

Determining Gender

What sex is my goose? The only way to know for certain is to DNA test your birds. You can send in a blood sample, shell, or feather. If your gosling is 100% pure white and does not have any color carrier in its background, you can tell male from female. This ONLY works with pure white lineage. Newly hatched, white females will be darker with a grayish saddleback pattern and white males will be very light to yellow. Bills and feet of white goslings are orange to pink. The picture on the right is labeled with colors and sex of the white goslings.

Healthgene and IQbirdtesting are two companies who provide avian DNA testing.

Leg and Wing Health

Splay Leg

Raising Goslings — National Sebastopol Geese Association (3)

Raising Goslings — National Sebastopol Geese Association (4)

If your gosling is struggling to keep its legs underneath its body, the floor surface is to slick and has caused splay leg. This can easily be corrected with vet wrap. Vet Wrap will not stick to the chick's down or legs but does adhere to itself. To apply hobbles, cut a piece of Vet Wrap into a strip approximately 1/4 inch wide by 4 inches long. Loosely wrap one end of the Vet Wrap around the chick's shank, leave about a 1-inch width between the chick's legs (more or less, depending on the type of chick, you want this to be the width of the chick's body), and wrap the other end of the Vet Wrap around the other shank. Trim any remaining Vet Wrap after you have both shanks circled. The chick should be able to walk but the Vet Wrap prevents its legs from splaying sideways. Important: DO NOT stretch the Vet Wrap. Doing so may make the hobble too tightly wrapped around the chick's legs and it may cut off the circulation and cause permanent and irreparable damage to the chick's legs and feet.

Angel Wing or Twisted Wing Tips

Raising Goslings — National Sebastopol Geese Association (5)

Angel wing is a condition occurring in all waterfowl breeds. It most commonly occurs in just one wing. Instead of the wing laying flat against the body, the last joint of the wing sticks out at a 90 degree angle from the body. The exact cause is not known but believed to be caused from several factors such as genetics, overfeeding, high protein feed, and lack of forage.

Twisted Wing Tip is very common in sebastopol due to their heavy, curly flight feathers weighing down the small tip of the wing. Some twist is to be expected and can occur in one or both wings. The curlier the bird, the more common twist will be present. If you notice twist on a bird, you can attempt to wrap the wing as support while it grows out.

At the age of two months, you will see your bird struggling to hold up their wings. As the adult feathers come in, they are very heavy. Your bird is strengthening its wing muscles. This is normal.

President of the National Sebastopol Geese Association Laura Huey, has demonstrated in the following video, how to tape and support twisted wing tips.

Raising Goslings — National Sebastopol Geese Association (2024)

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