Do Geese Eat Fish?

  • By: Jim
  • Date: July 1, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

The answer may surprise you! When it comes to diet, geese are probably among the most misunderstood animals.

Geese, which are waterfowl, generally do not eat fish. While they will occasionally consume a small fish if it is available, they mainly eat vegetation. This includes both aquatic and terrestrial plants.

Why Don’t Geese Eat Fish?

Fish is not part of the main menu of the diet of Canada geese. But they do eat them on occasion. Here’s why Canada geese and other geese species don’t normally eat fish.

Foragers

Most geese including Canadian geese are foragers and usually eat things like aquatic plants, grass, seeds, and insects. They can’t swim very well, so it would be hard for them to catch a fish in the first place.

Geese are able to forage their feed by using their beaks to peck at the ground. They are able to find seeds and other food items by recognizing patterns in the ground. This allows them to quickly find food, even in areas with a lot of vegetation.

Digestive System

Geese are primarily herbivores. They enjoy eating plants but they will occasionally eat other small animals such as small bugs.

While they are not picky eaters, geese typically get the majority of their nutritional needs from a few specific food sources. Grasses and other plants make up the bulk of their diet, providing them with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

In the wild, geese will also eat insects and other animals. Domestic geese are usually fed a diet of pellets that are specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs.

Geese cannot digest the complex proteins in fish and meat, so they could not extract nutrients and energy from it even if they could eat it. Their intestinal tract is short, as is their stomach, which is made for digesting plant matter but insufficient for digesting meat or fish.

Lack of Real Teeth

Geese lack real teeth which makes it harder for them to chew large chunks of food. This is why they mainly eat grass and other plants. They also eat small fish, but since they can’t really chew them, they swallow them whole.

Though geese have teeth-like structures which are called tomia. Their tomia are specially adapted for gripping food and cutting it into small pieces.

Geese use their beaks to eat insects, seeds, and other small prey. They can also use them to defend themselves from predators.

When Do Wild Geese Eat Fish?

Geese typically eat fish when they are unable to find enough plant material to fulfill their dietary requirements. Fish provide geese with a source of protein and essential nutrients and help them to stay healthy and strong. Geese may eat small fish that they don’t need to chew, fish eggs, and tiny crustaceans like shrimps.

However, fish is the last resort for geese. They will search for other protein-rich plants if food is scarce.

Can You Feed Fish to Domesticated Geese?

Geese are primarily herbivores, but they have been known to eat fish on occasion. This has caused some people to classify them as omnivores, but that classification is a little bit of a stretch. Geese are known to eat fish on occasion, either because they’re craving it or because they grabbed one while eating plant matter.

Wild geese and domestic geese will both eat fish if they are running low on other food sources. Domestic geese may learn to eat fish from other birds, especially if the fish are easily accessible.

Some backyard geese owners say that their pet geese enjoy grabbing tiny fish out of ponds, especially if they see other ducks on the property doing the same. This behavior may not be natural for geese, but once they learn it, they could start eating fish on a regular basis.

Although it is not a common sight, if you see wild geese or your own pet goose eating fish out of a pond or lake, don’t be alarmed. This is because they are likely getting the nutrients they need from the fish.

And if you have a pet goose bird, make sure you feed it with a balanced diet designed specifically for waterfowl.

What Kind of Fish Do Geese Like to Eat?

Geese that enjoy eating fish will not choose to eat a certain type of fish over another, but they are limited by their beaks and the size of their throats.

A goose bird has a small bill that is not designed for eating large fish, so it can only catch small fish that come to the surface of the water. These are usually minnows and young, tiny fish that eat insects on the surface.

A goose will not eat larger fish or fish that spend most of their time at the bottom of the lake or pond. Geese only eat fish that they can catch easily and swallow quickly.

Do Geese Other Animals?

Geese are primarily vegetarians or herbivores, which means that their diet consists mostly of plants and berries. However, they are known to occasionally eat small animals such as insects, worms, and even tadpoles. This means that technically, geese are not pure carnivores or pure herbivores, but rather omnivores. Nevertheless, the vast majority of their diet still comes from plants and berries.

The Bottom Line on Do Geese Eat Fish

Many geese live on or near water. So, they geese eat fish? Yes, they do but they don’t actively hunt fish. Geese eat a variety of foods and fish is not always part of their diet. Most geese eat aquatic plants, grains, grasses and small insects. They rarely eat fish and when they do, either they just happen to catch the fish while foraging or there’s nothing else to eat.

FAQs on What Geese Eat

What Do Baby Geese Eat?

A gosling’s diet usually consists of grasses, clovers, and chickweed provided by adult geese. In the wild, geese usually choose rich pastures with an abundance of grasses for their chicks to feed on.

Goslings typically eat more grass than other types of vegetation. Chickens, on the other hand, prefer to eat seeds and insects. As a result, goslings munching on grass.

What Do Canadian Geese Eat During Long Flights?

Geese feed changes based on the season and what’s available to them. Like most species of migratory birds, Canadian geese eat carbohydrates-rich foods in the fall and winter months or during cold weather. They are grazing animals that will eat food such as whole wheat grains and cracked corn in the fields.

Whilst feeding Canadian geese bread in small amounts is generally fine, it’s not highly recommended. Bread is not nutritious because it contains empty calories, starch, and sugar.

If you want to feed geese, give them plant-based food instead. These birds enjoy eating grass so you can feed them leafy vegetables such as lettuce greens and slightly cooked carrots. Some of the best food for a wild goose include corn, rice, wheat, barley, and grains.

Do Ducks Eat Fish?

Ducks living near wetlands and ponds will be feeding on amphibians, mollusks, and small fish. Ducks living near parks and grasslands will be feeding on grains and grasses. Wild ducks also eat fish eggs, small crustaceans, algae, worms, and insects.