Why Do Geese Attack Each Other? (Biological Reasons)

It’s not uncommon to see two or more geese have a go at each other, and the reasons can be multiple.

Geese are aggressive and territorial animals by nature, the main reasons why you could see them attack each other are to either defend their territory or because they feel that their eggs or gosling are attacked, or they are simply protecting themselves.

Reasons On Why Geese Fight Each Other

The reasons why geese fight each other can be:

The main reason why geese fight each other is to defend their territory. Geese do not like others to trespass on their space and if they feel that they have been invaded, they will attack any intruder. If a goose feels that there are too many geese for the resources available, it will try to drive off the others into another location.

There are other things that can trigger the aggressive behavior of Geese, if a male is protecting their female and has been disturbed by intruders, he will go on a rampage and attack those attempting to take them away by following the victims. The protective instinct does not only happen in males but sometimes in females as well.

The other reason why geese fight each other is when they are protecting their gosling or eggs from another Goose, once the young hatch the parents will protect them for their own.

The females will be very proud about protecting their nest and will become aggressive towards any intruder that would try to take away their young.

What Time Of The Year Are Geese Aggressive?

Photo by Carolien van Oijen on Unsplash

While the behavior listed above is consistent, there are some periods in the year where it’s accentuated, and other times it’s diminished.

In the winter, there is a period of time when the geese are migrating from one place to another and are more aggressive towards anything that comes near them.

During this time in the winter, if two geese are guarding their nest, you will notice that there is a sudden increase in attacks; this is because they’re protecting their little ones and will use aggressive behavior to keep intruders away.

Another time of year to see a spike in aggression is springtime. It’s because once they come back from their long migration, the geese usually have to work hard to regain enough energy to start reproducing (for males) or building up their nest for gosling’s (for females).

Since they won’t get everything they need while they’re away on migration, most of them will be aggressive until they have everything settled back at home.

On average, If you have a large group of any season that is adjacent to one another (for example, geese in spring and fall in the same nesting area), you can expect to see aggressive behavior as well. Usually, this is an indication of a territory dispute over resources or safety.

Do Geese Fight To The Death?

The extreme aggressiveness between them and towards other animals often leads to a fight to the death, however, this is not necessarily happening all of the time, and most often it is only seen during mating season or nesting season.

Downed domestic geese are often found with wounds from a fight, but it is not uncommon for them to go on and live without any ill-effects from their injuries.

Most of the time, you’ll see geese with injuries to their necks, beaks, and legs from fighting between them. However, these wounds can heal very quickly with the help of a competent veterinarian.

What Does It Mean When A Goose Hisses?

It is not uncommon to hear geese hissing at each other, this is part of their normal way of communicating, it is normally a way to warn a potential enemy that an attack is imminent, and to see if they have the same intentions.

They will use this “warning sign” not only toward other geese but also with predators and humans too! If this happens, it just means that there is something about the geese you are about to come into contact with that doesn’t make them feel right, maybe it is because they have a territorial issue or they are scared of you.

In this case the best way to act is to not act erratically and face the goose calmly, this will make them understand that you don’t want to come into the fight, and they will eventually leave you alone.

They will still hiss, but as soon as you show that you are not afraid of them, they will either leave or start to walk away from you without any problems, depending on how aggressive they are being.


Geese attack each other for many reasons, from territorial reasons to fighting for females and food or protecting the eggs from potential predators.

Also the more time they spend in close proximity, the more chances they have to grow tired of each other and use their natural instincts to attack each other.


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash


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