Goose Farming 101 – Beginner’s Guide
Growing up as children, we have heard of the golden goose that laid gold eggs, which was a folk – tale. As we grew, we learnt that goose laid normal eggs and how disappointing that was.
Geese are the loudest birds raised in homesteads though they can be silly at times. They would make noise even when a bird is flying over but one thing I love about geese is they are very observant to any movement in their surroundings and they will make noise to get your attention if not close by.
In as much as they are free range birds, those raising them must be warned that if you have a vegetable garden, fence it well and make sure there’s no little opening otherwise you won’t find any vegetables in your garden.
When starting out, at least have knowledge of raising chickens then add your knowledge by researching and visiting a geese farmer who will guide you how to go about raising these lovely birds. You may start with 1 male and 2 female gosling which will enable you to train and tame them should they decide to misbehave. Never ever ill-treat a goose; they have a good memory because of their intelligence. They never forget a person who did them harm and they will torment you every time they see you, so be extra kind to them.
Geese love attention and to establish a relationship with them, give treats and water, your effort will not be a waste. They will show compassion whenever they are near you.
Feed And Pasture Needs
In rural areas, pasture land is ample but the quality of the grass may not be what your geese want to feed on. Some farmers may transplant grass for their animal feed so they wander off. If it would not be an expense, you may grow your own Bermuda grass which the geese like. Forage quality would be the same as any other pastured animal. Otherwise with the other types of grass, you will need to keep the grass mowed or grazed down for them.
The forage species is not that important, most grass and legumes are satisfactory. This is a good opportunity to get multiple uses out of your pasture which will also be used by grazing livestock. Always have clean water available for the birds to drink and sometimes splash on their bodies.
Geese Housing And Safety
Every animal needs housing and it does not have to be an expensive shelter. As a beginner, use available material at your disposal to construct housing for the birds. The size of the house will be determined by the number of birds you are raising and the shape of your structure. You can use logs, wire fence, pallets or have a brick constructed shelter. Inside the house, have an area for when the goose wants to lay eggs. The space should cater for two birds because the gander (male goose) likes to stay near to protect the goose when lying.
The house can be an open area or cover it up depending on an individual’s preference. The ground should have straw bale or other low sturdy structures because they roost off the ground. Geese don’t have a problem without roofing even if they get rained because they love water. They also sleep on the water at night.
Ensure that the surroundings have no or little grass because if the grass is shorter, it makes it more difficult for predators to hide and it is easier for predators to find mice in the field.
Know These Facts About Geese
- Geese mates once a month prior breeding season.
- Gestation period is 28 days.
- Breeding geese prefer to be outdoors, except in extremely cold weather or in storms, mature geese seldom use a house.
- Geese make nests on the floor of the house or in coops, boxes, or barrels provided in the yard.
- Geese can be very dangerous by aggression when nesting because they feel that a person getting close to nest is a threat.
- Geese generally start laying in February or March and often lay until early summer. This also depends on the type of breed. They lay 1-2 eggs a day especially in the mornings. Once they start lying, they do not leave the nest to incubate the eggs.
- Free ranging geese have a tendency of laying eggs anywhere and this requires monitoring the places where they move to so you may collect the eggs and prepare a nest for the goose.
- Brooding area for a small number of gooses can be a corner or a garage or a barn.
- Cover ground with wood shavings or dried grass for brooding goose to make the eggs sit comfortably.
- Maintain a good litter by keeping it dry to deter germs.
- Construct hoppers for gosling feeding and keep provide either two hanging tube feeders with pans.
- Try to have a pond or manmade small dam for your geese so they are in the water. They enjoy frolicking in the water and help in reducing their temperature especially in hot weather conditions.
Caring For Goslings
Goslings hatched are always protected and kept warm under the mother goose’s wigs. So they need to be kept warm enough during the first few weeks because around that period, the mortality rate is high.
You may, however, take the goslings from the mother and nurture it inside the house for two to three weeks. How To Raise Geese Rather provide housing for the goslings and use infrared red to keep them warm but be sure not to bring it too close to them and reduce the temperature of the heat every week as they grow older.
Feed goslings after hatching and give them water too. Give crumbled chick or poult starter which will aid in rapid growth. Include pelleted cracked corn on the grower rationed and other grains that they feed on.
Geese are fragile so it imperative to know how to handle them and where to hold them. Never grab the goose’s neck as it might break and do not hold it by the wings. Pull the bird close to your body then reach down with other arm to wrap it around the bird’s body, holding the wings in place and grasping both legs with one finger between the legs. Lift the bird onto your arm and hand to the side of your body, so the head and neck protrude from your under arm.
Slaughtering And Picking Of Goose
Just like chickens, they must be slaughtered away from the other geese due to the sensitivity of geese. They mourn the death of another goose. Withhold feed from geese for about 12 hours before killing them, but keep water before them. To kill, place geese in funnels or hang them by the legs in shackles. Cut throat at the base of the beak to sever the jugular vein and carotid artery.
Hand scald the geese by submerging it in boiling water which will ease the removal of the feathers, though it will remove some skin but the carcass will be clean. For extra cleanliness, you may use a detergent to wash off the small of the feathers from the skin and rinse with clean water.