It’s unusual for geese bred in captivity to migrate, since all their needs are already met. In addition, geese who have been raised in captivity from birth won’t have learned how to migrate from their parents. Many farmers choose to clip the wings of their geese, a harmless procedure that prevents them from flying away.
In this article we’ll look at how keeping geese in captivity affects their proclivity to fly away, specifically during the mating season when they might want to migrate. We’ll also go over some methods to keep your geese happy and healthy on the ground so that they won’t want to fly away.
Do Pet Geese Fly Away?
Geese that have been raised in captivity and fully domesticated and are unlikely to fly away as long as their needs are met.
In the wild, geese fly to a new spot when they have depleted the available food in their current spot, or when the weather becomes too cold for them to survive.
Domesticated geese (either farmed or kept as pets) have all the food they want, are kept in a warm climate year-round, have plenty of socialization with other birds, and have ample space to live a happy life. They have no reason to fly away or to make a migration flight.
Farmed geese are also well-fed to increase their weight, which makes it more difficult for them to fly. Domestic geese usually stand more upright than their wild brothers, which isn’t optimal for flight. (Although they will still fly away if they get scared)
Do Pet Geese Migrate?
Pet geese don’t migrate. Wild geese migrate out of necessity, but domestic geese have everything they need for their continued survival right where they’re at. (Provided by humans!) As long as geese are well-looked after, they have no need to migrate. They’ve got a warm place to sleep, an infinite food supply, and a total lack of predators.
In addition to being completely undesirous of lengthy migrations, domesticated geese may also lack the intuitive evolutionary knowledge required for such a flight, since they were not raised with a flock and have never been exposed to a migration before.
Even if geese have lost their migration instincts, they will still have an instinctual desire to move where they are comfortable, just like any other animal.
How To Stop Pet Geese Flying Away
In general, pet geese will have no reason to fly away as long as their needs are being met. Instead of trying to physically prevent them from leaving, ensure you provide a safe environment for them with plenty of food, shelter, and opportunities for socialization and they will never have cause to leave.
Although pet geese may lack the evolutionary knowledge required to make a lengthy migration flight, they still have an instinctual desire to fly and may fly off to look for a nesting site, a mate, food, shelter, or water if they can’t find it where they are currently.
Here are some tips for preventing your pet geese from flying off into the sunset…
1. Give Them Plenty of Food
One of the main reasons wild geese migrate is to make sure they have ample food year-round. If your pet geese have plenty of food and water where they are, they will have no reason to fly off.
This also happens in the wild, as global warming makes the northern breeding grounds of geese warm enough to provide food during the winter, some geese populations are choosing not to migrate.
One of the best reasons to keep geese as pets is that they are incredibly low maintenance. Goose food is incredibly cheap and they are easy to feed.
Geese are happy eating grass and weeds and are often kept as “biological lawnmowers” for this reason. (Their poop also makes great fertilizer!)
Read More: What Do Geese Eat?
2. Keep Them Safe
Geese are prey animals, and although they can deliver a strong bite with their beaks, they are no match for a fox or raccoon.
If geese don’t feel safe, they will fly off. You can keep your pet geese safe from foxes and other land-based predators with small-aperture chicken wire fences.
Many farms keep geese in enclosures. This isn’t so much about stopping them flying away as it is about preventing them from getting in trouble. Geese are curious birds and will investigate anything they find interesting, even if it means leaving the farm and waddling across a busy highway.
Keeping your geese safe and comfortable will prevent them from making the fight-or-flight decision that may end with them leaving for good.
Read More: What Colors Can Geese Be?
3. Clip Their Wings
If you really want to make sure that your geese don’t fly the coop, clipping their flight feathers on one of their wings is a harmless way to ensure they won’t be able to fly.
This is a very common practice in farming with chickens, geese, and ducks. It doesn’t hurt the goose, it just upsets the balance of their wings, making them unable to take off.
Read More: Are Geese Ducks? (Key Differences Explained)
Wing clipping is only effective once the goose is at least 17 weeks old, and the process has to be carried out annually if you want to keep them on the ground.
4. Don’t Keep Them Alone
Geese are social animals. They often mate for life and may fly off when they are around 2 or 3 years old to find a mate.
If you want to prevent this, you can ensure your geese have plenty of other geese around them so that their social needs are met. Similar to other social animals like cows, geese need social interaction to keep them healthy and happy.
Read More: Do Geese Mate For Life?
Domesticated geese can fly and may choose to fly around if their needs aren’t being met or their environment isn’t suitable for them. If pet geese are abused, mistreated, or otherwise not looked after, they will fly off to look for somewhere safe to live.
Pet geese are unlikely to migrate, as it’s unnecessary and they may not have the evolutionary knowledge of how to migrate.
The best way to prevent your pet geese from flying away is to ensure they have shelter and warmth, ample food, socialization, and protection against predators.
Many farms choose to clip the flight feathers of their domestic geese. This is a harmless procedure which prevents the geese from flying by causing an imbalance between their two wings.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.