Geese are not nearly as popular to raise as chickens or ducks but they serve a purpose and are fun to watch. They are good at controlling pests such as snails, slugs and common garden bugs. It takes very little to raise them in terms of feed for this very reason.
There are many breeds and colors of geese. The best breed to start with is the Toulouse breed or Emden breed. These are the most common breeds and have been proven the easiest for beginners.
Incubating your own eggs is fun. A goose egg incubator should have a built in egg turner. This is to keep you from turning the eggs 4 times a day by hand. It should have a thermostat to keep the eggs warm enough and settings for humidity levels. The humidity inside an incubator should be dry with a temperature of 86 – 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Once they are moved to a hatcher at about 25 days, they are no longer turned. The hatcher should be 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They usually hatch in 28 – 34 days depending on the breed.
Once your eggs have hatched, you will need to place the goslings in a brooder. When brooding goslings, the brooder should be dry with soft bedding. Corncob litter or wood shavings are ideal for bedding. The brooder should have a 250 watt heat lamp and keep the brooder at about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Each week the goslings are in the brooder, the temperature should be lowered 5 degrees.
You goslings can be fed chick feed. You can purchase this at a feed supply store. Chick feed is high in protein and will help your gosling to grow. As they grow you can switch over to geese feed. They should be provided fresh water to drink as well as submerge their bills. This is how they clear their sinuses.
You must keep your goslings safe from predators. Goslings only need ½ a square foot during brooding but as they grow, they need more and more space. If you build housing for your geese, make sure you supply ample space. Ideally 6 feet inside per goose and 18 feet outside per goose is recommended. They should not be enclosed in a building once they are grown. They should be allowed to wonder freely with only shelter for protection from predators and the elements.
Once your geese are up and beginning to wander in and out of the brooder, you should supply their shelter with nesting boxes. Although they generally build their own nests, they will occupy one you supply.
Finally, diseases in geese in not common and they can be taken to market with only a 2% death rate. With proper environment and feeding, you could escape with no deaths at all. Only a few diseases exist with geese such as cocidiosis, fowl cholera, white eye, botulism, coryza, paratyphoid, sinusitis, worms and nutrition deficiencies. All in all, geese are the easiest to raise of all water fowl.