If you are thinking about owning a HouseGoose you need to know. They are not near as clean as a cat. For some people that might be a problem. You can not "house break" them as you can a dog. For some people that might be a problem. Geese are curios and think that everything in the home belongs to them. For some people that might be a problem....here is some of what you will need to know BEFORE owning a Housegoose.
Diapers and Diaper Holders For Your Goose
If you are going to have a house goose, you need at least, at least, one Diaper Holder some are also used to walk the geese and are a harness. It is a good idea to start your goose right away in a diaper holder harness so that they are very used to it as they grow. It will keep your house and lap clean as well as your furniture.
Diaper Holder Harnesses can and probably are, made in many different ways all with one thing in common. They fit so that they are snug on the bird and will hold a diaper or liner of some sort. If you buy a just hatched gosling and are going to train it to wear a Diaper Holder/Harness, you will need several sizes, goslings grow very quickly.
Goose Diapers that are GREEN
I used cloth diapers for my three human sons. Not only are throw away diapers expensive, they ruin the environment! I could get on my "High Horse" right now and tell you how discussed I get with the TV commercials of actors and actresses telling us all to use better light bulb and to turn off the water while we brush our teeth....and that is important but five will get you ten each and everyone of them are using disposable diapers on their babies and disposable sanitary pads for all the females of that age in their homes. If everyone in the world would stop using these types disposable items, we would not only have less trash piles up....but think about what is wrapped up in that plastic then thrown out!
So, since I do not use those products for people I sure wasn't going to for my goose for all of it's life. I did use 1/2 pantie liner in the baby gosling diapers....still working on that one. I have designed pulling and driving harnesses for dogs and goats, I have designed clothing for pet rats, hamsters, gerbils and even mice....so I started trying to figure out how to make a diaper holder harness that I could design a cloth diaper that would stay in place and also hold a piece of newspaper folded so that I could easily lift out the poop and use the cloth diaper, before washing it, as long as possible. What I came up with has worked well for us with our housebirds.
The pink curling on with the webbing of this Diaper Holder is caused by the elastic sewn in for sizing. She is growing so quickly this will allow the diaper holder to fit a bit longer.
These are two designs that I came up with that are working for us. These diaper holders will grow with Eden, our pet house goose pictured here, for a while. It has elastic at the shoulder and seems to work well. We got a kick out of her when we first put it on her...she was unbalanced. She has been wearing a very light weight polar fleece diaper holder and this new idea has several layers of fabric with two layers, on sewn into the diaper holder, the other in the diaper of waterproof fabric. The cloth diaper has two layers of cotton print of over polar fleece and is wrapped/sewn into the waterproof fabric. Eden only took a few moments to gain her barrings and run around and do all the normal things she does!
I now, after product testing here and in TN (a good friend with a house goose) to offer them for sale in our on line store. This is my own design I like to use the fun fabrics and lace, they look so cute in the fancier stuff.
These photos are pretty self explanatory. The "cloth diaper" is lined with folded newspaper, then slipped in to the diaper holder and held in place with velco front and back.
If your goose is a housegoose and it does not go outside to swim in a pool or a pond, then your goose needs a bath at least four times a week. Fill up your bathtub about 8 inches, just so that the goose can actually dangle it's feet and swim a bit. Keep the water tepid, not hot, not cold, just room temperature. Let the goose splash around and play for a while and yes, you will have to clean the tub, the floor, the walls, but aaaawwww, look, your goose is having sooooo much fun and getting clean.
After the goose comes out of the tub, you might want to let the goose stay in the tub as the tub drains, let the goose alone to clean and preen. The goose, after the bath, will shake off and preen. If you leave the goose in the tub as the water drains, it will keep some, most, of the shaking mess in the tub area. Some people leave their geese in the tub til the geese are dried off naturally.
After you geese is clean and dry, you can diaper it.
In nicer weather your goose will love a small pool or pond outdoors where it can go out and play in the water in the sun.
Setting Up Your Goose's Eating Area
This photo was taken after Eden, our own housegoose, had finished eating. I could have taken the photo before the goose came to make the mess...but I think you need to know the truth of what a housegoose will be like to own.
Your goose will need a spot to eat and where food and water is always available. And yes, geese are a mess when they eat and drink. There are many things a person can do to make the mess easier to contain and to clean up. If you kitchen is carpeted you might want to feed your house goose in a bathroom or mud room or even the laundry room. Use an area where the walls can easily be wiped down or cover your walls with plastic of some sort. You can and some people do, cut a plastic storage tub so that the goose can reach into it and keep some of the mess contained. We like the cardboard boxes we pick up in town from places that are throwing them out. We use them for Eden and then use them in the awful mud here in NW SD where the mud is really dinosaur poop. The boxes break down in the soil and give the soil a bit of "body". You can also use the cardboard in your garden area.
House geese need heavy flat bottomed food and water containers. A heavy crock is a good idea. Because gees need to dunk their nostrils in the water and many like their heads in, use a crock deep enough for the goose to get down in. A large or giant dog breed crock bowl would work well.
Keep the area clean....yes, it will be a job you will be doing often.
Geese do not sleep as much as a dog or a cat and they will need to be entertained, or....they might get into things that they should not. Geese love toys made with rubber bands. I loop several together then add a piece of polar fleece folded in half and tied to the last rubber band in the row I have hooked together. You can then loop these to a chair, or table or other area for the goose to play with for hours.
I bought a cute little child's rubbery toy called a "Light Up Googly Worm". It is about 10" long with a ball that lights up when the toy is moved and changes colors as it rolls on the inside. It has stretchy "prickles" all over it and the whole thing stretches out. It has a little loop on the top I put a ribbon through and tied to the table my husband's computer is on. We work at home so my husband is usually at his desk. Eden LOVES this new toy and I paid $3 for it.
Our housegoose Eden not only loves to play with the squeaky dog toys, although she does not squeak them, but also our long haired dog's hair. Deron always talks to the two of them about how Raya the dog is getting her hair done by the best little goose hairdresser around.
You can use your imagination and find items in the human baby section as well as make fun things for your goose to play with. Just make sure, of course, they do not have sharp sides or loose parts, and that it would be a fun thing for a goose.
Bird Dust and Molted Feathers
Have you ever owned a Parakeet or other caged bird before? Then you know what Bird Dust is. If not, it is bird dander. With a bigger bird such as a goose, you will have bird dust. When your bird molts you will also have feathers falling everywhere. All this is normal, some people will find it untidy.
Just like when you bring a new human baby or a puppy into your home you will need to gooseproof any areas that your goose will be welcome in. And you will need to set up gate in the doorways of areas that the goose is not welcome into. The difference with a goose, from a human baby or puppy, these will be permanent settings/changes. Your goose will not outgrow eating your plants, digging in your potting soil, pulling on electrical cords, taking items off your coffee table. It will continue throughout the goose's lifetime.
Your days of owning plants that could be poisonous, should be over. Why take a chance on your goose's life? Geese are active birds that are always busy and sleep far less then a dog or cat will. If your goose has the chance, it will get into your plants and eat them and dig in the soil. Please know if any plants or small trees you own have any tenancy to be poisonous to your Housegoose.
When company comes you might not always want your goose in the middle of all the goings on. Your goose might get into women's purses, be sure to set those up in areas the goose can not reach them. Then too, some geese will bother visitors but trying to bite them. Some visitors might not want to be near the goose. Geese are big and can be intimidating birds. This is a time that the goose might need to go to it's crate/pen/cage. Your goose might feel safer there anyway. Your goose will be safer in it's crate/pen/cage if the visitors brought children. And be sure to let the children know, make sure their parents understand, the goose is not to be disturbed or teased. The children should not be around the crate/pen/cage without you there with them.
If you or your company wants the goose out during the visit, it is only fair to let the visitors know about geese. I am sure, that the topic will be geese, since there is one in the room wearing diapers, not an everyday site. But still you will want to warn your guest about any behavior they should be aware of from the goose. Like biting. Like wing flapping. Like stealing from her purse. Like taking items off a plate held too low. Like that the goose my put it's beak into the drink left too low. Anything that will make your guest more comfortable and safe around your pet the better.
GEESE LOVE WATER! Never leave a glass of liquids low enough (think coffee table) that a goose can get near it. I promise you that a goose, almost every single goose (or house duck) will Will WILL, stick their beaks/heads into the glass. What happens next.....mess, perhaps broken glass. And please! Do not blame the water fowl! Ducks and Geese love water, love it. They are drawn to it. They seek it at all times.
Ashtrays and cigarette butts can look like fun toys to a HouseGoose. If you smoke, keep the ashtrays high and away from your goose. Remember that their faces, and beaks, are at about the level your relaxed hand would be holding a lit cigarette. You bet they would go after that. Remind smoking guests to keep their habits higher then the goose can reach. And it is not funny to smoke wacky tobacky around your HouseGoose and blow smoke at it.
One mans trash might be a Housegoose's paradise. Your goose has no idea that those items in that barrel thing, that looks like a big bowl to a goose, is stuff to be thrown away. To a goose, this looks like a big toy with food. The deeper it digs the more it finds. Every trash can in your home needs to have a lid or better yet be out of reach for a HouseGoose.
Keeping a goose in the house dose not require too much education, but you do want to make it safe for both you and the goose. You also want to make sure they are cared for correctly, kept clean, fed correctly, and that they too are having a bit of fun.
Geese live long lives when cared for correctly so you are making a commitment when you buy those darling little goslings. Like any bird, they do have a smell and they can not help the fact that when they poop, it is a large mess and stinks. Geese are not clean eaters either....well? Birds usually are not. Then you will also have to deal with molting, when their feathers fall out, sort of like a dog shedding. When you own any bird, any type at all, you learn about "bird dander". It is just what it sounds like, dander, or dry skin that comes off when they shake.
Geese can make good, loving and faithful pets if treated a cared for properly. They will also make a good guardian animal too. Some people, that are not afraid of dogs are afraid of geese.
Please. If you decide to buy and own an indoor goose or outdoor geese, please do read up and do your research on them. Geese, like any animal, deserves the best care you can provide. Their needs are usually minimal, but should be met. There are a few medications you should always have on hand for your geese. Correct Goose Feeds are easy to find on the market. Please buy a few care books and or do some Internet reading before acquiring your house goose or outdoor geese.
-- The My Pet Goose Team