How To Catch A Goose By Hand?

If you keep geese then inevitably at some point you’re going to need to catch them. As large birds they can be a little intimidating and care must be taken not to injure them or you. In this article, we will be looking at how to catch a goose by hand. 

How to Catch an Injured Goose

how to catch an injured goose

Tame geese require regular checkups, and part of that means handling them. There may also be times when you could find a wild goose that needs your help due to injury. 

Although they are large birds, geese are also quite delicate, sensitive creatures. If they feel threatened they may attack you, particularly if they believe you are going to hurt their goslings.

Before you jump in and try to catch a goose, first ask yourself if it is really necessary to do so. Sometimes they can be easily herded to where you want them to go.

Chasing a goose is a really bad idea, it just stresses them out and stops them from trusting you. Like most animals (and children) they respond well to treats!

If you believe capturing an untamed goose is really necessary, there are a number of ways you can proceed.

The Gaining Trust Method

This is by far the best way to catch an untamed goose or even a tame one. You can use brown bread, grain, or goose pellets to encourage the bird to you. 

Continue to feed it until it begins to relax a little and you can get really close. Providing the bird is calm and busy eating, slowly crouch down keeping your hands up to protect your face. 

When you judge that the bird’s attention is fully on the food you can pounce and pin it down, being careful not to hurt it. Ensure the wings are safely tucked against its sides before picking it up.

The Cover Method

Strangely, if a goose can’t see your face they are less likely to attack you. By using a bedsheet, blanket, or large towel you can approach the goose holding the cloth up in front of you. Rather like a bullfighter. 

Once near enough, simply drop the cover over the goose. Aim for its head! As soon as they can’t see they become far more docile and easy to manage. 

Gather up the material around the goose and you will be able to pick it up easily.

The Lure Method

You can use food to lure the goose into a trap such as a box or a dog cage before shutting it inside.

Before a goose attacks you, it will give off some pretty obvious signals, including:

  • Hissing
  • Flapping its wings 
  • Standing very erect

If they are exhibiting this behavior it is safest to back off until they calm down again. Go back to giving them food.

A tame goose is generally easier to catch even when injured and enticing it with treats should allow you to get close enough to catch it without difficulty. You can also use a goose crook which is a 2-meter length metal rod with a crook-shaped end. 

The crook can be slid over the goose’s neck from a safe distance allowing you to gently, but firmly grasp the bird without it being able to run away.

One of my favorite male geese used to love sneaking up behind people and pecking them on the butt! I’m not sure, but I think this may have been my fault, as he knew I regularly carried treats in my back pockets.

In this video, you can see one technique for catching fairly tame geese.

How to Hold a Goose

When holding a goose you need to ensure that its wings are kept folded against its body as quickly as possible. Flapping wings can cause you serious injury. If you’re not familiar with handling geese, always get someone to help you.

When you’re ready to pick them up, place one hand on the front of their chest. And the other on their back. This will prevent them from moving forward and help to keep them still. This needs to be done in a rapid movement to prevent them from flapping their wings too much.

Once secure, quickly place a hand over each wing, pulling them in against your body as you scoop them up under your arm. Once the wings are safely tucked away, one against your body and the other under your arm, you can use your free hand to support them under their keel.

Make sure you have a good grip before lifting the goose off of the ground! It’s fine for their legs to dangle freely, but due to their legs being quite fragile, ensure that you place them back onto the ground delicately and never drop them.

If the goose you are picking up is sick, it can be better not to lift it up. Instead, once you have a hand pinning each wing, hug the bird onto your lap. 

Never pick a goose up by its wings, legs, feet, feathers, or neck. Doing so could cause the bird serious injury.

To ensure your geese are easy to handle you should pick them up and pet them regularly from when they are very young. That way they learn you aren’t going to hurt them.

If when you’re holding your goose it becomes distressed, indicated by gasping and struggling, you should place them gently back down on the ground.

Placing a hood, such as a pillowcase over a goose’s head can help it to remain calm and easier to handle, just ensure that it can breathe easily.

To check for injury, or look at their vent, it is easier to get a second person to carry out the inspection while you hold them. Turning a goose upside down or even onto its side can make it distressed or cause damage.

Does Grabbing a Goose by the Neck Hurt Them?

does grabbing a goose by the neck hurt them

As much as a goose doesn’t like to be grabbed by its neck, and who can blame it, it is unlikely you will do it any harm by doing so.

The neck of a goose is very strong, rather like your own arm. It is much stronger than its legs. You should never attempt to catch or hold a goose by its legs as you run a big chance of causing sprains, dislocations, and even breaks.

If you need to grab a goose by the neck, just remember to be gentle, but firm and don’t squeeze!

Never pick a goose up off the ground by the neck.

How do you Grab a Goose by the Neck?

To safely grab a goose by its neck, remember first not to chase it as this will only serve to make it agitated. It’s best to get the bird’s minds on something other than you, by giving them some tasty food to eat.

Once it’s eating, approach the goose from behind, it can be useful to also have someone standing in front of them to keep their attention focused away from you.

Quickly close your hand around the neck with the tip of your thumb and middle finger touching this will prevent you from squeezing. Hold them very firmly, but never squeeze. Also, don’t jerk the bird, as this may also damage it.

It is essential to get the wings under control as quickly as possible as they have the potential to cause you far more damage than the bird’s beak is likely to. 

Once the bird is securely under your arm, you may also use your spare hand to put around the beak if need be.


Catching a goose without injury to either yourself or the bird can take some skill. What is of importance, is that you appear confident and in control of the situation. 

Like dogs, geese seem to sense fear in people and are more likely to attack if they believe you are feeling nervous, or are being aggressive or threatening towards them.

When you start handling geese, it is best to do so with an extra person to help you out. Getting their wings under control can be tough with only one set of hands and is a technique learned with practice.

Remember that although they are large birds, geese do have quite delicate legs, hips, and feet which are easily damaged, so care must be taken when catching them, picking them up, or putting them down.

It is very wise to handle your geese regularly so they are very used to human contact and feel safe in your company. Feeding them treats, petting them, and picking them up gently for short periods is very helpful for achieving this.

If you’ve found this article on how to catch a goose by hand useful, perhaps you’d enjoy reading some more of our goose information. 

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