Geese pros and cons

ccnelson1954

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I’d like to try geese. I don’t know much about them. They would have an acre and a half of orchard and yard to share with a dozen free range chickens and bird safe LGDs. They could further access 4 acres with a seasonal pond used by sheep. A goose coop and a pool are in the works I was thinking 5?
2 ganders 3 hens? What breeds?
Look into Sebastopol geese. They aren’t cheap and maybe hard to find but I think they are beautiful and have some advantages over other geese. They can be quite friendly when handle from young, they do not fly well and aren’t as noisy as other geese. My friend has two and they are soooo sweet.
 

Ridgetop

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Geese are wonderful. And sooo tasty. Geese are excellent guardians too. Like guinea hens they will raise a fuss if strangers come around. If you get them as goslings, they will bond to you. EXCEPT some of the ganders can be very mean and aggressive, particularly to strangers. There are lots of different breeds. Some better for eating since they are meatier than others. Geese are all dark meat. Geese MUST have water to be able to eat. Use a 5 gallon bucket for watering geese instead of a shallow pan. They have to be able to submerge their heads in water to swallow food. That is why their water buckets get so dirty. A pond is optional but they enjoy it. If your orchard grows grass under the trees that is ideal. Geese were traditionally raised in orchards since their main diet is grass and plants. They are excellent guardians and protect the fruit from thieves while grazing on the orchard grass. Geese are still used in avocado orchards in California, particularly in organic orchards where pesticides can't be used.

I usually skin my geese when butchering It is easier than getting out the pin feathers. My grandmother told me that the easiest way to remove the pin feathers is by brushing a thin layer of hot melted paraffin over them and then pulling them out by peeling the wax off. Like waxing your eyebrows, ladies! That was back in the day when you put up jam and jelly by covering it with a layer of melted paraffin wax. All farmhouses had a store of it. I think you can still get it but I haven't seen it in grocery stores recently so might have to order it on line,

If you decide to use paraffin, melt it in a tin can in boiling water and be very careful. It is highly flammable. DH's cousin died when her canning paraffin caught fire and the blaze trapped her in her kitchen. My Gammy told me lots of scary stories about people being injured or killed by accidentally igniting paraffin while canning.

Actually an old Scout trick for campfires was to take a cardboard egg carton and put sawdust or shavings in each of the holes, then cover them with liquid paraffin, Cut the little squares apart and use them as starter to light your campfire.

We had several breeds. The Chinese Crested were the most aggressive. One friend was a large woman with bright red hair. That gander would chase her from her car to the house every time she came over. She was the only one he hated. No idea why! He was a good guard though, raising a ruckus when strangers appeared.

We also had Pilgrims. I really like them. They were very calm. If you don't know how to sex waterfowl Pilgrims are easiest because the ganders stay white and the geese are gray. LOL Otherwise, an easy way to tell sexes apart is that ganders carry their necks out straighter while the goose carries hers in a graceful S curve.

My favorite for eating were the Brazilian geese or Muscovy ducks. Not truly one or the other. They are rather ugly with their red wattled faces, and they fly very well. They will roost or perch in trees or on top of the barn.

My grandfather had a flock of geese when I was young. He was the only one who could go inside the gooseyard because the gander was so mean and aggressive. It sounds funny, but geese are big and powerful and they like to grab you with their beaks, then use their wings to beat you up. They can really injure people, especially children. Geese can break bones with the power of their wings.

I still like them though. If we ever have a pond, I am definitely getting more geese.
 

Jesusfreak101

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I got all excited about waxing my geese then you ruined it the the fire talk... I would so be the one to do that i am severally accident prone. So i 'll pass on that. And the African geese and Chinese around us are the more aggressive ones that i have seen. I avoid them personally. I have to remember that about the pilgrim geese.
 

Ridgetop

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Actually, why not buy the cosmetic waxing strips from the drug store. I think you heat them in the microwave to use them. I'm not sure about those, only know that my youngest made a terrific mess with some wax strips on the bathroom counter. I don't think they catch fire, since you wouldn't apply them boiling hot to your eyebrows! LOL
It might take a lot of them to de-pin feather a goose though! :lol: Post pix if you go that route!
 

thethinkingweasel

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This is my husband's input:

We have fairly polite Africans and Chinese. Our Embdens are the ones that try to pick a fight. Source: Murray McMurray for all of them. We generally won't put up with genuinely mean birds on this farm; the stew pot is always hungry. However, with geese, if they are genuinely being physically threatening toward you, there is a simple trick: they are terrified of long sticks. You don't hit them with the stick, you just waggle it. They'll treat you like a person would treat you if you had a loaded assault rifle pointed at them. This is very effective for herding them, or simply getting very threatening geese to leave you alone. My mother discovered it using a golf club as the waggle stick, inspired by pictures of goose girls from the 1800s, who always had a long staff.

In addition, there is a specific wax available called duck wax. This is the wax that is professionally used for stripping the feathers off of water birds. It's stickier than paraffin. Advice is to scald and pull as many feathers as you can initially in the first scalding, then dip the bird in the duck wax in its own separate pot of hot water (you put the duck wax in hot water so that there is a layer of wax floating on water; you don't directly melt the wax). Then throw the bird in cold water to harden the wax. When you rip the wax off, it takes the pin feathers out very effectively.
 

thethinkingweasel

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I would add that the geese are the easiest animal on the farm to take care of, because they totally feed and water themselves (we have a little pond for them -- the drainage pond from the barn, which we enlarged so they can easily swim in it -- and they also share the goat and sheep's water tub in the paddock). We keep scratch grain to throw to them every now and then, but other than that they are complete grazers. Ever since we lost half our flock to coyotes about a year ago, we keep all the geese in the barn at night. They quickly learned after that incident to gather near the barn at dusk, and we herd them right into their stall. We don't give them water in the stall; they're fine going the night without it and then they have plenty of access to water during the day. Maybe our geese are fatter than some, but I've never seen them fly more than a few hundred yards. They wander all over our farm together and make a very picturesque sight in the grass.

All of our geese will hiss when you come too close, but they quickly back off if you keep approaching. The only time I've been actually a little nervous is with one of our ganders who has gotten extremely protective over the two goslings they managed to hatch this year (between two geese sharing a nest!) He is serious about keeping those goslings safe. We had one -- our Embden gander -- who would always threaten the cart when we drove around, but ever since my mother-in-law accidentally ran into him (because he refused to back off) he seems to have learned his lesson. He still limps, over a year after that incident, and has earned the name Gimpy.
 

JimLad

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I had Embdens until a few weeks ago.
Id say that they are as smart as any dog and until the gander took a slice off the goat's ear, quite harmless.
They were rescued and I've had them for years but given that I have grandkids and there are toddlers next door, they had to go.
They are cranky when one of them is broody.
Have complex family structures and the gander can be extremely loyal.
They will readily adopt if the dominant female allows it and hand raised birds will be your friends.
More than one gander for a flock your size would be a problem.
I had no idea how much grass they were eating until now.
 

thethinkingweasel

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