Which Goose?

From Orpingtons to Ostrich. Hybrids, pure breeds or just your breeds. Watermael to waterfowl. Put all your general posts here.

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Woodland Hen
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Which Goose?

Post by Woodland Hen » 08 Feb 2013, 15:15

Hi All,

My OH wants geese for meat production (he has his eye on Christmas dinner all ready) Now I know nothing about geese except they are loud, they bite and they make bigger poos than chickens so I am apealing to anyone here with goose experiance.

He wants to keep them in the oarchard, lots of grass and semi enclosed from our free range hens put not completely. The fencing is new stock fencing, will this keep geese in? There is an old pig shed, about 1.5 meters by 2 meters with a solid floor and door, would this be okay as a coose house?
Do they use a nest boxs?
What would be a good breed- as placid as possible and I really don't want anything too big!
Feed, what do they need just wheat or a pellet, can they eat poultry layers/ growrs/ breeders? I don't really want to buy yet anoyther type of feed.
And sorry for the next 2 questions if you are of a sensitive disposition but........
Can you slaughter a goose using the broom stick method, if not whats the best way?
Plucking, are they a nightmare to pluck, can it be done by hand or is a plucking machine best (bearing in mind I don't pluck the chickens unless I have too, but I guess you can't roast a skinned goose, even if the thing fits in the oven which is another concern!

Also how easy are they to hatch? I have heard using a broody hen may be better than an incubator, and then I am guessing a broody can only cover a few goose eggs sucesfully.

Chickens much easier in my opinion, but I said I would look into it!

Thanks all.
Barred Plymouth Rocks, Silver Pencilled and Partridge Wyandottes, 24 cows, 10 sheep, 3 horses, a cat, a dog..........always knackered!

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darkbrowneggs
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Re: Which Goose?

Post by darkbrowneggs » 08 Feb 2013, 15:51

Woodland Hen wrote:Hi All,

My OH wants geese for meat production (he has his eye on Christmas dinner all ready) Now I know nothing about geese except they are loud, they bite and they make bigger poos than chickens They are pooier than chickens but you will be free ranging them so they get plenty of grass. Mine are on a concrete floored night shed with pallets and straw for them to sleep on, so its only a case of scraping the poo off the floor and topping up the bedding once a wekso I am apealing to anyone here with goose experiance.

He wants to keep them in the oarchard, lots of grass and semi enclosed from our free range hens put not completely. They will occasionally bully chickens especially if they were not reared with them but the chickens run off quick so are usually ok. But if there is a cockerel the gander may attack it at the beginning of the mating season, though they normally settle down quite quickly - at least that has been my experience

The fencing is new stock fencing, will this keep geese in?Geese can and do fly. You can clip their wings and if they are happy they should stay within normal stock fencing, but if they are not and not wing clipped they can fly a field or maybe two

There is an old pig shed, about 1.5 meters by 2 meters with a solid floor and door, would this be okay as a coose house? Yes

Do they use a nest boxs? I give them an old wooden barrel which they seem to like but you could just give them plenty of bedding with something angled so they have a bit of privacy if you have more than one goose. Also you will need to keep them in till mid morning and make sure you do it before the begin laying so they get used to the idea of where you want them to lay otherwise they will make a nest outside and predators will take the eggs or goslings

What would be a good breed- as placid as possible and I really don't want anything too big! I keep a flock of Herefordshire type crested geese which are quite a good layers, and reasonable size meat bird though not huge and aggresive, with the advantage that the girl and boy goslings are normally autosexing. I hope to have goslings available late spring early summer and I am in Worcestershire if thats anywhere near you

Feed, what do they need just wheat or a pellet, can they eat poultry layers/ growrs/ breeders? I don't really want to buy yet anoyther type of feed.
they can and will eat any sort of feed, and if they can get at your chickens feed they will demolish it at alarming speed. I give mine a handful of wheat each just to get them in at night, but before they are due to lay I switch to breeder pellets and wheat mixed. The young goslings need plenty of good quality grass and starter crumbs without coccidiostat, then once they are going well they can switch to wheat

And sorry for the next 2 questions if you are of a sensitive disposition but........
Can you slaughter a goose using the broom stick method, if not whats the best way? They have long stretchy necks so I would think you will need to be tall with long arms to do it with a broomstick, but I think you could probably decapitate - I usually get someone to do mine

Plucking, are they a nightmare to pluck can it be done by hand or is a plucking machine best (bearing in mind I don't pluck the chickens unless I have too, but I guess you can't roast a skinned goose, even if the thing fits in the oven which is another concern!
They are more difficult than chickens as they have an undertier of down as well as feathers. Apparently f you use the hot water method they are easier and the down doesnt fly about so much, or possibly try hot wax, though this would be a bit initial outaly. You may find a local gamekeeper who would do it for you - ask at a gamekeeper suppliers if they know of anyone,

Also how easy are they to hatch? Not that easy to hatch in an incubator though I get reasonable success, my geese will sit if the eggs are left in the nest

I have heard using a broody hen may be better than an incubator, and then I am guessing a broody can only cover a few goose eggs sucesfully. Apparently muscovey ducks make excellent broodies for geese thought I havent tried myself I know they are fierce mothers and large enough to cover quite a few eggs

Chickens much easier in my opinion, but I said I would look into it! I love my chickens but am really enjoying the geese as well, and they are very helpful to me because being such excellent grazers they help keep the land under control

Thanks all.
To follow my travel journal see www.thebusphoebeandme.us For lots of info on keeping and breeding Marans see www.darkbrowneggs.info

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Re: Which Goose?

Post by debcat » 08 Feb 2013, 20:04

I love my geese
I have embdens which have a nasty reputation, but do settle down eventually
I've hatched in an incubator, but they've only once managed to sit successfully - probably down to our horrible weather
mine just get wheat at night and graze during the day
I can't help with culling as I've never been able to bring myself to do a goose
hand reared goslings are adorable
we're all sane it's the rest of the world thats mad!

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Re: Which Goose?

Post by goatlady » 08 Feb 2013, 20:58

My geese are sociable and don't bite - although I wouldn't risk letting small children go near them. I don't have a gander, but I believe even they aren't usually aggressive with their owners. Yes, geese are noisy. It's not an unpleasant sound, though. If you have plenty of grass, they will fatten nicely on that, and cost you relatively less than chickens in terms of feed. I keep mine just for the fun of it, but it has occurred to me that I wouldn't like to slaughter one: they have immensely powerful wings and, given how much a chicken flaps when it is dispatched, you would have to be very strong to kill a goose efficiently.

Woodland Hen
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Re: Which Goose?

Post by Woodland Hen » 09 Feb 2013, 11:32

Thanks all that's really helpful.
What would you suggest the best way to start, eggs, goslings trio etc?
Our neighbour has a plucking machine I will ask if he has used it for geese. Also wondering about the viability of using the down, but guess you need a lot of geese.
Barred Plymouth Rocks, Silver Pencilled and Partridge Wyandottes, 24 cows, 10 sheep, 3 horses, a cat, a dog..........always knackered!

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Re: Which Goose?

Post by goatlady » 09 Feb 2013, 12:07

For what it's worth, I would opt for goslings. My own experience of waterfowl has taught me that duck and goose eggs have tough shells that seems to take the little ones forever to get out of, and buying adult birds leads to problems if they haven't been handled much (I had some ducks that just never became tame - although geese may be easier). I bought my own geese as day-olds, already sexed. They were absolutely adorable, and grew at an alarming rate. Someone else can probably advise you on the best combination of males/females to start off with.

Woodland Hen
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Re: Which Goose?

Post by Woodland Hen » 09 Feb 2013, 18:06

We are thinking of Brecon buffs now....we have llanwenog sheep and Hereford cattle so maybe we need to stick to a local traditional goose too. Just need to find some but guess that's a summer job.
Barred Plymouth Rocks, Silver Pencilled and Partridge Wyandottes, 24 cows, 10 sheep, 3 horses, a cat, a dog..........always knackered!

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Re: Which Goose?

Post by chuck1 » 09 Feb 2013, 18:56

Try the Waterfowl Societies for contacts for Brecons.

In general, geese are easy and will look after themselves if they have plenty of short grass. A little corn daily helps to control them and they will come for corn which makes them easier to handle and get in at night. Some can be aggressive but I've found it's down to the individual rather than any breed. Water to bathe in so they can keep themselves clean and a clean supply of drinking water is really all they need. A box big enough will suffice for a nest box but more often than not they will choose to ignore it & find their own spot in the house and sometimes outside. Your house sounds ideal. Shavings or straw on the floor and needs to be kept reasonably clean. Foxes will kill them so you need to take care. They can take off and fly a short distance but I find stock fencing keeps mine where they should be.
I too would start with goslings if you can find them. Eggs are not that difficult to hatch in an incubator but left under the goose is the easiest method. Keep picking up the early eggs and they will keep laying, then when you want them to sit, leave the eggs. They are quite often advertised locally for free if someone needs to get rid of them. They are easy to vent sex at D/O and as adults if you have the experience, otherwise behaviour is an indicator but is not reliable.
They are more difficult than a chicken to pluck due to the down and the size of course but it can be fun.
I hang mine up and do neck dislocation (as turkeys), the only method I know.
I don't think you'd regret having geese, I've enjoyed mine for the last 20 years. The easiest meals you'll find too balanced with the amount of input they need.

Woodland Hen
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Re: Which Goose?

Post by Woodland Hen » 31 Mar 2013, 20:24

Today we got our first geese! Very very pleased a pair of Brecon buffs and an embden female. They seem very happy in their temporary pen, once they have settled they will have the run of the whole orchard. They went to bed without trouble.
I am much more taken with them than I thought I would be ( OH's idea)
Barred Plymouth Rocks, Silver Pencilled and Partridge Wyandottes, 24 cows, 10 sheep, 3 horses, a cat, a dog..........always knackered!

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Re: Which Goose?

Post by ladyplumber » 31 Mar 2013, 22:47

Happy New Geese ! =D>

I'm hoping to get some soon :)
1 BlackRock 2 Speckledys 1 Black Brahma 3 Light Sussex 1 Auracana 1 (noisy) Silver Laced Wyandotte 4 Marans x Cream Legbar
4 Barnvelder x Cream Legbar 1 Blue Splash Orpington 2 Chocolate Orpington 5 Gold Laced Orpington

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