Guard goose

The guard goose is a domestic goose that is utilized as a guard animal both on farms and in other situations.

Goose displaying aggression

Goose behaviorEdit

Geese are considered to have excellent eyesight[1] and to be "watchful and inquisitive",[2] with strong territorial instincts. Goose attacks on humans are commonly reported. One case in 2001 set a legal precedent, resulting in a workers' compensation payout of over $17,000 for an injured delivery person, the first Illinois workers' comp claim due to wildlife.[3] In another case, several geese protecting their goslings knocked an Englishman off his bicycle resulting in hospitalization.[4] One Buffalo, New York resident claimed over $2 million in damages for a goose attack while on a neighbor's property.[5] At times, park rangers have killed entire flocks of aggressive geese.[6] Canada geese in Cincinnati parks have been responsible for knocking people down and breaking their bones, and called "spitting, hissing, biting attack missiles".[7]

The same aggressive, territorial behavior can be utilized in the guard capacity. Geese are intelligent enough to discern unusual people or sounds from usual stimuli.[8][9] Their loud honking will alert humans when the geese are alarmed.[1]

History of useEdit

The geese of the Capitol by Henri-Paul Motte, 1889

Guard geese have been used throughout history, and in modern times. In ancient Rome, geese are credited by the historian Livy for giving the alarm when Gauls invaded (see Battle of the Allia).[10][11][12]

On modern farms, geese are said to be good deterrents to predators of other domestic fowl,[1][13] and snakes. A handbook on industrial security recommends them for protecting warehouses and other isolated physical assets.[14] They are reported to have been used to guard United States Air Defense Command installations in Germany;[15] as the Scotch Watch at Ballantine's Distillery in Dumbarton, Scotland[16][17]; and to protect a police station in Xinjiang, China.[8][18][19]


Some sources list the African goose, Roman goose (Tufted Roman), Pomeranian goose (Saddleback Pomeranian), and Chinese goose as the best breeds for guard duty.[9][14] The African and Chinese are said to be loud, and the African both loud and large.[20][2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Geese: the underestimated species United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
  2. ^ a b Ashton 2015, pp. 25-26.
  3. ^ Gary Wis (October 3, 2001), "Worker gets $17,000 check in goose attack Delivery man was hurt on the job in a case of fowl play", Chicago Sun-Times, archived from the original on November 6, 2018 – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  4. ^ "Cyclist Hurt in Attack by Angry Geese", The Mirror, June 6, 2013, archived from the original on November 6, 2018 – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  5. ^ "Woman Claiming Attack By Goose Sues Neighbor For $2.4 Million", The Buffalo News, November 18, 1996 – via HighBeam (subscription required)[dead link]
  6. ^ Rangers kill flock after goose attack, Associated Press, July 10, 2003, archived from the original on November 6, 2018 – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  7. ^ Andrew Conte (April 25, 2000), "Geese overstay their welcome", The Cincinnati Post, archived from the original on November 6, 2018 – via HighBeam (subscription required), Canada geese appear majestic and serene...the next moment they become spitting, hissing, biting attack missiles, knocking people to the ground, breaking bones and opening head wounds ... threatening to overtake every available waterway in Southwestern Ohio - are dominating public parks and golf courses, spreading diseases and attacking humans at an alarming rate.
  8. ^ a b Marc Silver (July 27, 2013), Honk If You Think Geese Are Good Guard Dogs: Some cops in China now use feathered friends instead of canine companions, National Geographic
  9. ^ a b Jacquie Jacob (May 5, 2015), "Which goose breed is best for small and backyard poultry flocks?",, United States Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
  10. ^ Kee Malesky (May 6, 2012), How Swiss Guards And Sacred Geese Saved Rome, NPR
  11. ^ Ashton 2015, pp. 14-15.
  12. ^ Ekarius 2016, p. 210.
  13. ^ Kirsten Lie-Nielsen (September 19, 2016), "Raise A Goose To Guard Your Flock: Large and loud, geese will keep many chicken predators at bay and alert you to other trouble", Hobby Farms
  14. ^ a b Subramanian 2006, p. 67.
  15. ^ "West Germany: Enter the Goose Patrol", Time, May 26, 1986, gaggles of geese will soon begin guard duty at American military installations in West Germany. Eventually, 900...will take up posts at 30 sites run by the U.S. Army's 32nd Air Defense Command.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Kirsten Lie-Nielsen (October 13, 2015), "A History of Geese as Guard Animals and for Weed Control", Mother Earth News
  19. ^ Ekarius 2016, p. 203.
  20. ^ Kirsten Lie-Nielsen (January 16, 2017), "Choose The Right Goose Breed For The Job", Hobby Farms

Book sourcesEdit