Geese can be used to help control weeds in a garden. Several geese breeds spend a large portion of each day foraging for weed seeds and small weed seedlings. The Chinese are the most voracious weeding goose breed, and either color variety works equally hard at eating weeds. The Buff, Toulouse, Roman, and Emben are other goose breeds to consider for weeding a garden.
For effective weed control, keep approximately two to six geese per acre of garden space. Geese are best used as weeders during the dormant season in your garden beds. Allow them to roam over empty garden spaces to remove weed seeds. In a freshly tilled garden, geese will dig and dabble with their bills to find the smallest seeds, roots, and other plant matter. In an established garden, geese typically do not dig with claws like chickens, so the root zone is safe. Young weeds will be gobbled up at ground level at the earliest opportunity.
Be mindful that geese may uproot tender young garden transplants, so newly transplanted seedlings must be protected until the plants are big enough to withstand some nibbling. Also, if you directly seed any crops, the geese will eat those seeds too.
Geese will eat young Bermuda grass, Johnson grass, sedge and nut grass, clover, chickweed, horsetail, and many other weeds. To train goslings to develop a taste for weeds, begin feeding them hand-pulled weeds from the garden once the goslings are around three weeks of age. By six weeks of age, goslings can go outside to work in the garden as long as the weather is mild. Geese do need to have adequate shade during the summer heat, and predator-proof shelter at night. Geese should be confined to the area you want to keep weed-free if they are to be effective as weeders. You may be disappointed in their effectiveness as garden weeders if allowed to completely free-range.
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