Studies have shown that not only does palmitic acid promote triglyceride (TG) accumulation, but it also affects cell viability in in vitro steatosis models. However, to what degree these effects are mediated by steatosis in goose primary hepatocytes is unknown. In this study, the effects of palmitic acid on the lipid metabolism homeostasis pathway and on apoptosis were determined. The authors measured the mRNA levels of genes involved in TG synthesis, lipid deposition, fatty acid oxidation and the assembly and secretion of VLDL-TG in goose primary hepatocytes. The results indicated that palmitic acid can significantly reduce the activity of goose hepatocytes, and that palmitic acid had a significant effect on TG accumulation; however, with increasing palmitic acid concentrations, the extracellular TG and extracellular VLDL concentration gradually decreased. With increasing palmitic acid concentrations, the gene expression levels of DGAT1, DGAT2, PPARα, CPT-1, FoxO1 and MTTP (which regulate hepatic TG synthesis, fatty acid oxidation and the assembly and secretion of VLDL-TGs) first increased and then decreased; the change in PLIN gene expression was palmitic acid dose-dependent, similar to the regulatory mode of intracellular TG accumulation. In conclusion, this study clearly shows that palmitic acid can promote TG accumulation and induce apoptosis in goose primary hepatocytes, and this effect may be related to the lipid metabolism pathway.