Goose

Food Type:
Age Suggestion: 6 months +
Nutrition Rating:How nutritious a food is with a focus on the specific nutrients babies need for optimal growth. The more nutritious a food, the more stars it will have.
Prep Time:How much time a food takes to prepare safely for a baby. The more time-consuming a food is to prepare safely, the more clocks it will have.
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Common Allergen: No
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a raw whole goose on a white background ready to be cooked for babies starting solids

When can babies eat goose?

Goose may be offered as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. As for cured, smoked, or glazed goose dishes, it’s best to wait until after a child’s first birthday and even then, to serve sparingly, as these preparations contain high levels of sodium, added sugars, and preservatives that are best avoided for babies.

Where do geese live?

Wild geese have inhabited fields, marshes, and open waters all over the globe for thousands of years. Wild geese show up in the ancient art of Asia, old fairytales of Europe, hieroglyphics of North Africa, and the time-honored traditions of First Nations peoples of North America. Humans learned to breed geese long ago in the region around the Mediterranean Sea, and today, most goose meat, eggs, fat, and liver come from birds raised on farms, rather than hunted geese. But both wild and domesticated geese are edible—they just require different cooking methods to draw out their rich flavor. Domesticated goose meat tends to be fattier, softer, and less dense than that of wild goose, whose muscles toughen during the bird’s seasonal migration.

Is goose healthy for babies?

Yes. Goose is an excellent source of protein and fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which babies need for healthy growth, development, and brain function.1 Goose offers plenty of vitamins and minerals, too, including great amounts of B vitamins (especially B6 and B12), choline, and zinc. It also provides good amounts of iron, plus potassium and selenium. Collectively, these nutrients support baby’s brain, heart, sense of taste, and much more.

What a goose eats will change the nutrients present in its meat. In general, geese on their natural foraged diet contain more omega-3 fatty acids than geese on a commercial, grain-based diet.2 3 Wild geese have higher amounts of protein than domesticated ones, including more tryptophan.4

Avoid cured, smoked, or glazed goose dishes until after a child’s first birthday and even then, serve sparingly, as they tend to contain high levels of sodium, added sugars, and preservatives that are best avoided for babies and offered sparingly to toddlers. Some glazes may contain honey, which should not be given to babies under 12 months of age.

Goose skin, heart, stomach, and liver are also edible, but take care with goose liver, due to its extremely high levels of vitamin A. Goose liver should only be served in very small quantities (no more than 1/2 teaspoon per serving, once per week).

★Tip: To minimize the risk of foodborne illness, goose should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) (even though many recipes direct the meat to be served on the rare side). Always wash your hands and any surfaces that come into contact with raw goose, and do not wash goose before cooking. Washing raw goose creates droplets that can contaminate the kitchen and increase the risk of illness.5

Can goose help babies poop?

While goose meat isn’t generally thought of as a food that promotes pooping, it can play a supportive role in healthy bowel movements as part of a balanced and varied diet. Some early evidence suggests that diets featuring poultry may promote the presence of beneficial bacteria, like Lactobacillus, which contributes to a healthy and diverse gut microbiome.6 7 8 Pooping patterns can vary significantly from child to child, so be sure to talk to your pediatric healthcare provider if you have concerns about baby’s pooping or digestive function.

Is goose a common choking hazard for babies?

Yes. Like all meat and poultry, goose is a choking hazard, as it can be difficult to chew. To minimize the risk, avoid offering goose meat that has been cut into cubes, and try not to overcook goose, as this causes the meat to be dry and more challenging to chew thoroughly and swallow. As always, make sure to create a safe eating environment and stay within arm’s reach of baby during meals. For more information on choking, visit our section on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.

Is goose a common allergen?

No. Goose is not a common food allergen. However, individuals with allergies to chicken meat may have an increased risk of allergy to goose due to cross-reactivity of allergenic proteins.9 10 11 Goose is not commonly reported as a potential trigger for FPIES (Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome). However, it is closely related to chicken and turkey, which are known triggers of FPIES. FPIES results in delayed vomiting with or without diarrhea beginning 2 to 4 hours after the ingestion of the meat.12 13

Some individuals with known allergy to feather and egg may also have positive allergy test results to poultry meat.14 However, this does not commonly result in symptoms after the ingestion of well-cooked meat, as the allergenic protein is heat-sensitive. Therefore, routine testing for goose meat allergy is not recommended in cases of egg allergy.

As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity during the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the amount over future meals.

How do you prepare goose for babies with baby-led weaning?

6 to 8 months old: Offer thin strips of cooked goose meat (any bone, loose cartilage, and skin removed) about the size of two adult fingers pressed together. Keep in mind that cooked goose can be quite firm, which means baby may not swallow much, and it will act more like a teether. Keep in mind that there is benefit in this oral exploration, even if nothing is swallowed. If baby succeeds in biting off a big piece, take a deep breath and give the child the opportunity to push the food out with their tongue. You can even kneel down next to the high chair so that baby looks down at you, allowing gravity to help the food move out of the mouth. Alternatively, give baby a drumstick bone with all meat, loose cartilage, shards of bone, and skin removed. While baby won’t get any food in the belly this way, munching on the bone helps develop oral-motor skills.

9 to 11 months old: Serve shredded or bite-sized pieces of goose meat, either on their own or as part of a dish. To minimize the risk of choking, refrain from offering cubes of meat. Try not to fret when you see baby trying to shovel food into their mouth: it is normal at this age and a learning experience for the child to understand what “too much food” feels like in the mouth.

12 to 24 months old: Serve bite-sized pieces of goose meat for toddlers to practice picking up with fingers or a utensil. When you feel comfortable with the toddler’s biting and chewing skills, increase the size of food by serving a whole drumstick with the skin, pin bones, and loose pieces of cartilage and fat removed.

Get inspired with new cooking ideas from our guide, 100 Dinners for Babies & Toddlers.

What are recipe ideas for cooking with goose?

Goose is considered a white meat with a richness like beef and gamey flavor like duck. A whole goose is a popular centerpiece for celebrations, holidays, and weddings, but the bird is notoriously challenging to cook because the breasts and legs cook at different rates. An alternative is to break down the whole bird into parts and cook the breasts and legs separately. Goose legs work well in any recipe that calls for slow-cooking and shredding beef, such as barbacoa, beef stew, carne asada, ragu, or ropa vieja. Goose breasts can be cooked like duck breast or steak: seared in a hot pan and finished in the oven.

★Tip: Goose contains loads of fat, which can be used to cook vegetables and other foods. When cooking a whole goose, cut away loose skin around the cavity before roasting the bird, then render the skin to release the fat, which can be stored it in a clean, airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Shredded Goose

Yield: 2 ½ cups (600 milliliters)
Cook Time: 6 hours
Age: 6 months+

Ingredients

  • 8 goose legs
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) goose fat (or butter, olive oil, or other fat of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) kosher salt (optional: 12 months+)
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 ¾ cups (420 milliliters) broth
  • ¼ cup (60 milliliters) apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (15 milligrams) maple syrup (optional: 12 months+)
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) black pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. This recipe makes a big batch of shredded goose meat that you can serve on polenta, inside fajitas or tacos, or stirred into your favorite curry or sauce for pasta or noodles. When estimating portion size, plan on 2 goose legs for each adult and older child and scale the recipe up or down from there.
  2. If the goose legs are frozen, defrost the meat in the refrigerator the day before you plan to serve the shredded meat.
  3. Remove the skin from the goose legs.
  4. Set up the slow cooker. If you don’t have one, you can brown the meat in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid on your stovetop, then stew the meat at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius) in the oven.
  5. Melt the goose fat (or other cooking fat) on medium heat in the slow cooker.
  6. Once the fat shimmers, add a couple of goose legs to the slow cooker. Do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. Cook until the meat is browned on the bottom, then flip the legs and brown the meat on the other side. Transfer the browned legs to a plate and continue to brown the remaining legs.
  7. While the goose legs are browning, peel and finely chop the garlic and onion. Set aside.
  8. Return the browned goose legs to the slow cooker and add the chopped garlic, broth, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup if you are using it. Stir to combine.
  9. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat until the meat is falling off the bone, between 4 and 6 hours. Stir the mixture two or three times over the course of cooking and add more broth as needed to keep the legs partially submerged in liquid.
  10. Once the meat is done, use a sieve or slotted spoon to lift the legs out of the sauce and onto a cutting board. Let cool slightly, then pull the meat from the bones. Discard the bones and any loose cartilage.
  11. Set aside some meat for baby and cut the meat into age-appropriate sizes. Exact serving size varies. Let the child decide how much to eat.
  12. Shred the rest of the meat and return it to the slow cooker with the sauce. Season with pepper and salt to taste for adults and older children.
  13. Serve the reserved meat for baby and let the child self-feed. If baby struggles to pick up the food, pass a piece of the meat in the air for baby to grab from you.

To Store: Slow Cooker Shredded Goose keeps in airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 2 months.

Flavor Pairings

Goose pairs well blackberry, maple syrup, mustard, orange, sage, and white button mushroom.

Reviewed by

J. Truppi, MSN, CNS

V. Kalami, MNSP, RD, CSP

K. Grenawitzke, OTD, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, CNT

Dr. S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. Board-Certified Allergist & Immunologist (allergy section)

Dr. R. Ruiz, MD, FAAP Board-Certified General Pediatrician & Pediatric Gastroenterologist

  1. Uhlířová, L., Tůmová, E., Chodová, D., Volek, Z., & Machander, V. (2019). Fatty acid composition of goose meat depending on genotype and sex. Asian-Australasian journal of animal sciences, 32(1), 137–143. DOI: 10.5713/ajas.17.0672. Retrieved June 28, 2022
  2. Proust, F., Johnson-Down, L., Berthiaume, L., Greffard, K., Julien, P., Robinson, E., Lucas, M., & Dewailly, É. (2016). Fatty acid composition of birds and game hunted by the Eastern James Bay Cree people of Québec. International journal of circumpolar health, 75, 30583. DOI: 10.3402/ijch.v75.30583. Retrieved June 28, 2022
  3. Geldenhuys G, Hoffman LC, Muller N. (2015). The fatty acid, amino acid, and mineral composition of Egyptian goose meat as affected by season, gender, and portion. Poult Sci. 94(5):1075-87. doi: 10.3382/ps/pev083. Epub 2015 Mar 25. PMID: 25810407. Retrieved June 28, 2022
  4. Spiegelaar, N., Martin, I. D., & Tsuji, L. (2019). Indigenous Subarctic Food Systems in Transition: Amino Acid Composition (Including Tryptophan) in Wild-Harvested and Processed Meats. International journal of food science, 2019, 7096416. DOI: 10.1155/2019/7096416. Retrieved June 28, 2022
  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Washing Food: Does it Promote Food Safety? Retrieved June 28, 2022
  6. Zhu, Y., Shi, X., Lin, X., Ye, K., Xu, X., Li, C., Zhou, G. (2017). Beef, Chicken, and Soy Proteins in Diets Induce Different Gut Microbiota and Metabolites in Rats. Frontiers in Microbiology. Retrieved June 28, 2022
  7. Zhu, Y., Lin, X., Zhao, F. et al. Meat, dairy and plant proteins alter bacterial composition of rat gut bacteriaSci Rep 5, 15220 (2015). DOI: 10.1038/srep15220. Retrieved June 28, 2022
  8. Azad, M., Sarker, M., Li, T., & Yin, J. (2018). Probiotic Species in the Modulation of Gut Microbiota: An Overview. BioMed research international, 2018, 9478630. DOI: 10.1155/2018/9478630. Retrieved June 28, 2022
  9. Cahen, Y. D., Fritsch, R., & Wüthrich, B. (1998). Food allergy with monovalent sensitivity to poultry meat. Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 28(8), 1026–1030. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2222.1998.00356.x. Retrieved June 28, 2022
  10. Kelso, J. M., Cockrell, G. E., Helm, R. M., & Burks, A. W. (1999). Common allergens in avian meats. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 104(1), 202–204. DOI: 10.1016/s0091-6749(99)70136-3. Retrieved June 28, 2022
  11. Hemmer, W., Klug, C., & Swoboda, I. (2016). Update on the bird-egg syndrome and genuine poultry meat allergy. Allergo journal international, 25, 68–75. DOI: 10.1007/s40629-016-0108-2. Retrieved June 28, 2022
  12. International FPIES Association. What is FPIES. Retrieved June 28, 2022
  13. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Introducing food to the infant with FPIES. Retrieved June 28, 2022
  14. Hemmer, W., Klug, C., & Swoboda, I. (2016). Update on the bird-egg syndrome and genuine poultry meat allergy. Allergo journal international, 25, 68–75. DOI: 10.1007/s40629-016-0108-2. Retrieved June 28, 2022