There is one misconception that comes up every time we talk about birds, it is birds sleep in their nests. Many of the birds don’t even make nests, for those who still do, these nests are designed just to keep eggs and chicks in place.
Most of the birds, especially the one covered in this article – geese – do not sleep in their nests. So, where do geese sleep?
Where do geese sleep?
In the wild, geese mostly sleep on the water. Only when they feel secure from the predators that they can roost on land as well. In the meantime, farm geese can sleep anywhere they feel comfortable but usually tend to return to the same spot every night.
You will never find geese roosting on a tree, it’s just uncomfortable for them as they are quite big and fat.
Wild geese sleeping habits
Sleep on open water surface
Wild geese are almost always sleeping on the open water. It will be a large body of water or wetland area. Despite floating around a bit, it’s safer for them that way.
Water in this circumstance can be a natural alarm system. The vibration will give the geese time to react and take one step ahead of any predator that swims toward them.
Fun fact: geese sleep on water with a few of them taking shifts throughout the night to act as lookouts.
At this point you might concern about some flying foe like hawks or eagles. Don’t worry because they also sleep at night as well.
Sleep on small islands
In addition, wild geese could often sleep on small islands, it’s obviously away from water but still helps to avoid other larger land predators like coyotes or wolves.
Sleep with one eye open
One of the most interesting things about geese sleeping habits (many other birds as well) is that they can sleep with one eye open. That explains how they can still know when a crocodile is approaching even while asleep.
It is something called: unihemispheric slow-wave sleep (or USWS). USWS allows sleeping with one half of the brain resting, while the other half stays alert. In comparison to normal sleep, both eyes are closed and unconsciousness is indicated in both halves of the brain.
Sleeping while flying
It’s astonishing to know that many other sea mammals also possess USWS but only birds can control it. Thanks to USWS, geese can even take a few zzz’s while flying. They fly in the V-form and use the USWS to follow the lead bird while taking some rest. The lead bird will then rotate, and another will take its place.
Geese also have some sleeping habits similar to ducks alongside with USWS, you can find out more here.
What about domesticated geese sleeping habits?
In contrary to the wild fellow, domesticated geese are more likely to sleep on land. Their living spaces usually tend to be short on open water surfaces. Besides, they feel a bit secured in their protected manmade territory that keeps them away from predators.
With that in mind, domesticated geese mostly sleep out there in the open. You can find them sleeping in a group to keep themself warm and of course, protect each other.
Roosting space for domesticated geese
So, what should you do to provide comfortable “beds” for your geese?
Whatever the type of ground you choose to put them in, it should be dry and soft bedding. This is very important because longtime lying on a hard surface can cause them hock and keel sores.
You can help them out by keeping their sleeping place covered in a layer of straw bales. Doing this not only provides your geese a nice dry and soft bedding but also helps with cleaning later on.
You can also use other low sturdy structures except for long-fibered straw which can easily wrap around geese’s legs. If you prefer wood shavings, try to look for types of “low dust” or “dust extracted”. Cedarwood shavings should never be used as they can cause significant breathing problems.
Whether you’re planning on adding a bunch of fatty geese to your farm collection or just raising a couple of them as pets, you need to dig deep into their habits.
Knowing where geese sleep, how they sleep and how to provide them with the best enclosure could really help to give your beloved feathered friends good opportunities to showcase their natural behavior. As a result, improving their living quality as its best.