All wild geese are originally from the northern hemisphere. Known as ‘true geese’ to distinguish them from the ‘look alike’ sheldgeese of the southern hemisphere. There are divided into two groups; pale-breasted geese and dark-breasted geese. There is a total of sixteen species of wild geese from the popular red-breasted goose through to the less common snow goose.
Wild geese are gregarious, particularly so out of the breeding season, on migration and on their wintering grounds in their natural environment. Migrating birds, especially waterfowl, follow broad but well defined migration routes called flyways or migration corridors.
In captivity a single pair of most species of wild geese will thrive and breed and if space permits it is more natural to keep more than one pair of the same or different species together. Ornamental ducks may also be kept with ornamental geese, usually without problems although sheldgeese and some shelducks do not work well together.
Geese need plenty of grazing space, so concentrate on ducks if your enclosure is small. Assuming extra feeding, in addition to grazing particularly in winter, a rough guide is ten pairs per acre. The birds must be enclosed and protected from predators. It is essential to have a 6′-8′ fence or electrified fence to deter foxes and coyotes. Hawks are not much of a problem but will attempt to catch young geese if the opportunity arises.
Geese bond for life. While the sexes look identical they can breed in captivity when they are in their third year. All wild geese need a pond to breed. A pond of sufficient depth, say 18″, and an area large enough for two birds to bath and turn over on their sides is a minimum requirement for a contented pair of captive wild geese.