Red-tailed hawks seem to be everywhere these days. They’re one of the most common birds of prey in the country, and their numbers are growing. What’s also growing is their inclination to come into populated areas looking for food.
Whether it’s because of a dearth of food options where they’ve traditionally been or the fact that more people in the suburbs are keeping chickens and other small poultry animals in their backyards, hawks are becoming a problem.
People who raise and keep chickens deal with hawks regularly, but what about geese?
Would a hawk kill a goose? Most of the time, geese are too large and too heavy of a target for hawks. Geese can also put up much more of a fight than chickens.
They can be particularly aggressive and territorial and will react strongly if they feel threatened. That’s why so many people often mix geese and chickens in their pastures. The hawks have a harder time justifying going in for a chicken when there are grumpy geese around.
Yes, small goslings are a target for hawks, but once they’re adult geese, they are a great deterrence against hawks. But what about other predators? There are certainly some other animals out there that would love to get ahold of one of your geese.
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Just because hawks won’t attack, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other predators out there looking to make a meal of a goose or two.
People who raise and care for geese have to deal with predators all of the time, and you’ll need to take steps to keep your flock protected when you’re not looking. Here are some of the most dangerous goose predators you’ll likely deal with.
Coyotes are very smart hunters that love to kill geese. They’ll wait until dark when no one is around, and they’ll put in the time to make sure they survey the surroundings before the strike.
They don’t run in packs, so can be hard to spot. Coyotes seem to be venturing further into the suburbs every year, and they are the bane of many chicken and geese owners.
Foxes are small but smart predators. They may not go for the biggest geese on your property, but they will jump at the chance to snag a goose that’s older, younger, or not paying attention.
Foxes are surprisingly strong for their size, and they’re very quiet, so you may never even hear them walking around your house or farm.
Bobcats are another strong predator out looking for geese. These animals are skilled hunters that can easily kill a goose of any size. They’re even known to kill deer from time to time.
The good thing about bobcats is that most suburban goose owners will never have to deal with them. They are more inclined to stay away from areas with a lot of people. However, if you live on a farm or a drive out of town, then you should be on the lookout for any bobcats around your geese or chickens.
These nocturnal animals are capable of being quite nasty and will attack geese when given the chance.
It’s not a predator that comes quickly to mind for most people, but opossums kill plenty of geese every year.
Yes, you read that right. Geese love to be around the water, and if you live in an area with snapping turtles, you may lose one to them if they become too complacent when they’re taking a drink or swimming in a pond. Snapping turtles are like small dinosaurs.
They have incredibly strong jaws that will break bones quickly, so your goose will have little chance to run away or fight back once the jaws come clamping down.
Some dogs have stronger hunting instincts than others. That’s why certain breeds are used by hunters to go duck hunting, etc. If you’ve got a dog with a bit of bloodlust in them, you may lose a goose when you’re not looking.
It’s especially a problem if it’s a dog you can’t train, like a neighbor’s dog or a stray dog that comes around looking for something to kill.
Plenty of neighbors get in tiffs each year because a dog crosses the property line and kills a chicken or a goose.
You might not think these small animals can kill a goose, but a weasel is a very effective predator that will kill a goose at night while they are sleeping. They’re very quiet and sneaky, and they can fit in tight spaces, so if your pen isn’t secure, they’ll find a way in.
If a weasel gets inside your goose pen, you may wake up to nothing but a pile of feathers in the morning.
Unless your geese are very young or small, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about hawks killing them. A lot of people love geese because they protect their chickens from hawks, eagles, crows, and other birds that want to take them away. However, there are always predators out there looking to kill your geese.
The best thing you can do is take steps to protect them as best as possible. Your geese will want to roam, though, and at the end of the day, it’s part of the risk of owning birds.
You can build a solid enclosure with fencing on all sides to keep your geese in at night. That’s when they are most vulnerable. You can also get a dog or two to act as a guard in case any larger predators like coyotes start to come around. They’ll also deter anything like a weasel or a fox from coming in if they’re around.
The problem is that most of the time, the dogs are inside on your bed at night. Keeping geese can certainly be a challenge, but thankfully hawks aren’t much of an issue. Find what works best for you and adjust as you go.