Have you ever come across geese when you’ve been out and about and wondered whether they can eat popcorn?
Great news! Geese can eat popcorn. Like other birds that can eat popcorn, geese should only ever eat popcorn that is plain and has been air-popped. Popcorn should also only be fed sparingly to geese otherwise they could get ill or pile on weight.
Let’s find out more about the dos and don’ts of feeding popcorn to geese so you can be sure that you get it right.
Is it Safe To Feed Popcorn to Geese?
It’s safe to feed popcorn to geese if you have some plain, air-popped popcorn handy. It’s not safe if the popcorn is a microwavable variety, prepackaged, or covered in salt, butter, sugar, or a similar ingredient.
This is because there are additives, unhealthy ingredients, and toxic ingredients in these types of popcorn.
Can Baby Geese Eat Popcorn?
No, baby geese (goslings) shouldn’t eat popcorn. Goslings need to eat a diet rich in nutrients to give them the best start in life.
Baby geese must eat lots of protein as it helps them to develop and get strong. In the first few weeks of their lives, goslings will eat chick feed. Brewers yeast will be given too as they need a diet that’s rich in niacin.
But, popcorn contains niacin, we hear you say.
Yes, 1 cup of plain air-popped popcorn contains 0.18 mg of niacin. As there are no other nutritional benefits in popcorn for baby geese, we don’t recommend feeding it to them. Plus, there’s also a chance that a gosling will choke on it.
Is Popcorn Healthy for Geese?
Popcorn contains multiple vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B6
Some of these vitamins are crucial for keeping geese healthy. For example, birds can be deficient in vitamin B1. When this happens they may experience limb paralysis, muscle atrophy, neurological issues, and produce fewer eggs.
In 2021, a vitamin B deficiency was suspected to have caused the deaths of more than 50 geese in a river in Eastern Iowa. Feeding a small amount of plain, air-popped popcorn to a goose from time to time can therefore be healthy and help to top up its vitamin levels.
Can Geese Eat Flavored Popcorn?
Geese should never eat flavored popcorn as it could make them very sick.
Butter and cheese are two of the most popular popcorn toppings. Geese are lactose intolerant and shouldn’t consume any dairy products, including butter and cheese. The biggest risks associated with geese eating dairy are diarrhea, dehydration, and death.
Sweetened popcorn is another favorite among popcorn lovers. One thing to remember is that if something isn’t healthy for us to eat, it isn’t healthy for a goose either. Sugar is processed and contributes to weight gain, inflammation, high blood pressure, and so much more, so it should never be given to geese.
Salt is another popcorn flavoring that you shouldn’t let geese eat. Too much salt will give geese salt poisoning which has some nasty symptoms and can even result in death.
Can Geese Eat Popcorn Kernels?
Popcorn kernels are generally okay for a goose to eat on odd occasions.
However, any goose that eats popcorn kernels should be closely watched. Popcorn kernels are tough and chewy to eat, so there’s the possibility that a choking incident could occur.
Baby geese should never be fed popcorn kernels. They have very small mouths and digestive systems and could easily choke on a popcorn kernel.
Is Popcorn Dangerous for Geese?
Yes and no. If a couple of pieces of plain, air-popped popcorn are eaten by a goose infrequently, there’s little danger. Geese that eat more popcorn than this could have some problems, though.
- Become overweight
- Become nutritionally deficient
- Lay eggs with weak shells
- Develop heart problems
- Become lazy
Another danger of geese eating popcorn is that it could cause choking. Like all birds, geese don’t have teeth. This means they’re unable to chew popcorn and break it into smaller pieces in their mouths, so choking is a possibility.
A good solution to this is to break the popcorn up into smaller pieces before feeding it to a goose. This will make life easier for the goose and will stop you from worrying.
What Do Geese Eat?
Geese eat a variety of foods, including:
- Seed heads
- Aquatic plants
- Submerged roots
- Insects (occasionally)
These foods are nutritionally beneficial for geese and are healthy options. For these reasons, we recommend that you feed these foods to geese where possible rather than popcorn.
Can Geese Eat Corn?
Corn is a favorite food for geese. Corn is high in carbohydrates and rich in fiber. The carbs help geese to maintain their energy levels while the fiber aids their digestion.
Geese often increase their corn (and other grain) consumption during the winter as there is a smaller variety of foods for them to choose from. As corn is a natural product that geese can forage on their own, they should fill up on it rather than popcorn.
Popcorn is a scrumptious food that most humans can’t get enough of. You’ll often find that once a goose gets a taste for popcorn they keep coming back for me. This is risky as it could put their health at risk. So, while it is safe for geese to occasionally snack on a few pieces of plain, air-popped popcorn, it’s much better to encourage them to stick to their normal diet.
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