Day-old with Mama Freckles
2 Days with Papa Aaron
1 Week with Their First Flock
We adopted three goslings from a local couple who raise geese as pets. That’s the short story.
The long story begins with a question. “How can we best use, and share, our 6 acres?” When we started talking about bringing livestock to Windy Corner, we assumed chickens first. But after following other folks’ farm/homestead adventures across the Internet, I began to imagine a different poultry dynamic. I researched as much as I could.
As trendy as backyard birds seem (to me), there actually isn’t a huge library for the very beginner. Or, at least, for one with blank acreage, limited budget, and the interest in cold-hardy, low-maintenance, relatively adaptable egg-layers…
I’m sure many people can apply the above description to their chickens. But what converted us to geese (and, in tandem, ducks) is their ability to protect the flock from predators like hawks and eagles. That, and they are not cliquey b’s like some chickens I know.
Overall, geese because:
- They’re cold-hardy
- They live on grass most of the time, so low-cost and low-maintenance
- They protect the flock from hawks and eagles
- They’re easy-going
You might not believe the easy-going part. Almost everyone has a bad goose story — maybe if Aaron or I had one of those wild, honking, reverse-goose chases, we wouldn’t have been open to getting them.
Thankfully our bias goes the other way. It turns out that domestic geese are a lot of talk. They’ll hiss at strangers, or at the long hand that comes to take an egg. They might fuss over annoying disruptions like our dog. But heritage birds have been living alongside other creatures for centuries. They’re here to eat some grass and, if need be, raise the alarm to threats.
And to be silly.
How we care for our geese
We built a goosehouse! I’ll be sharing a video on how we did that soon. We mostly used spare material from past projects, including barn wood and extra 1″ cedar boards.
- Metal roofing (from a local recycle place)
- Hardware cloth
- Locks (we have three to deter any clever predators)
- Flashing for the roof
The couple who sold us the geese threw in a bag of starter feed. It’s a general mix for fowl, including chicks, and we’ll start to wean them onto a lower protein at 6 weeks. So far, we haven’t added any supplements, and the geese are doing great. They forage on grass and clover and more for about 12 hours a day, eating about 3 cups of feed (for all geese) at night.
Our goslings at two weeks!