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How Much Do Geese Actually Poop?


Geese get a bad rap for creating a lot of poop. But is it warranted? 

When we got our first trio of geese last spring, I was really curious about just how much they would poop and how much of a mess they actually would make. 

And what I found out was pretty interesting.  




So here's all you need to know about goose poop.


All about Goose Poop

Goose Poop Shape and Size


Goose droppings are shaped like cigars and can range in color from green, to whitish to a light brown color, depending on what the goose has been eating. 

Since our geese pretty much free range all day and during the warm months eat a diet that consists of grass, grass and more grass, their poop looks like grass that's been mulched or cut with the lawn mower and then shaped into tubes.

In the winter when they were eating more wheat and hay, their poop was a brownish color and more solid.

Geese are mainly herbivores, so they prefer grasses and weeds to bugs and insects.


Goose Poop Composition

Goose droppings are just over 75% water.

Like chickens and ducks, geese don't "pee", but instead their droppings are a combination of solid and liquid and combined before they exit the goose's body. This is partly because flying birds (although domestic chickens, ducks and geese don't fly!), can't afford to carry any excess water weight/urine. They expel excess nitrogen from their body in the form or urates or uric acid.

The droppings are also very caustic, so hosing off patios, decks and stone walkways is important unless you don't want your paint to start peeling and your stone to become pitted.

Fortunately, it's pretty easy to hose goose poop off hard surfaces. And in the lawn, it dries up pretty quickly and seeps into the ground when it rains.


Good Poop Frequency


The average goose poops about every 12 minutes or so which translates to more than 100 times a day per goose. Yup, that's a lot of pooping!  

Foraging geese will eat about four pounds of grass a day and turn that into into 2-3 pounds of droppings Yup, every. single. day. That's a lot of poop, but it's also mostly water, as mentioned earlier. And lots of chopped up grass matter.

Another interesting factoid is that geese don't have a crop or gizzard like chickens and ducks do. Both chickens and ducks tend to poop mostly overnight, since they collect the food they eat throughout the day and then digest and expel it while they sleep.



But geese are different. They don't collect the grass they eat, instead they eat and poop all day long. 

So their house and bedding stays remarkably clean. At most, they might each poop once after I lock them up at night, and sometimes not even that. As a result, I rarely have to change the straw in the goose house.  

Good Poop as Fertilizer

Goose droppings makes wonderful, nutrient-rich fertilizer. The droppings contain 76% carbon, 4% nitrogen and 1/5% phosphorus when dried, giving them a fertilizer value of close to 2-4-2  which makes it a very good, quality fertilizer for vegetable gardens. 

While goose droppings are an excellent fertilizer, they can carry E.coli, cryptosporidium, giardia, listeria and Campylobacter bacteria, so it's important to use proper precautions and wash your hands after coming in contact with it - and try to keep your dog from eating it!

If you decide to collect any goose droppings for the garden, they do need to be composted and aged like other types of animal fertilizer, or you can make "manure tea" from them.



So yes, geese do create a lot of waste, but so do nearly any type of livestock. It's beneficial for the garden, and in small amount, even the lawn. It's nitrogen-rich which will make your grass grow in nice and green and healthy.

Geese are meant to wander, eating grass and weeds, and not be penned up. As long as they have a large area to roam, their droppings should be pretty well spread over the entire area and not become a nuisance for you.



But keep the hose handy, because if they have the habit of climbing up onto your deck or hanging out on your patio, you're going to want to spray those areas off on a regular basis.

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All about Goose Poop

Further Reading
http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=4448
http://www.waldeneffect.org/blog/Collecting_goose_manure_for_the_garden/
https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/bb/documents/bb-53.pdf

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