Our trio of geese stand guard over our free range, pasture raised flock of Red Ranger broilers. Their presence protects from aerial predators and they deter four-footed creatures with their ridiculously loud honking! Check out this video to hear them sound the alarm, even though it’s only us approaching. Good job, geese!
We started raising animals for our family, and have since expanded to be able to offer meats to your family, too! But you can be confident that we still raise our animals the same way we did in the beginning; with our family and the highest health and nutrition standards in mind. When you eat one of our Pekin ducks, you should know that your product is the best of each batch! We eat our duck, chicken, turkey, and eggs right along side you, and we keep the funny looking (pin feathers or a funny packaging job) for ourselves. We feed ourselves and our most beloved family the meat we raise, and name you part of our farm family! Thanks for supporting our poultry-raising endeavors… We’ll be proud to offer you meat for many years to come!
This video shows you how we raise our Pekin ducks. Raised the right way, on pasture and in the free air (with a couple guard geese as allies!).
We recently moved the goslings in with the adult geese and ducks. They are still in their own separate cage, but we thought it was a good idea to go ahead and get them introduced to the other geese…
The goslings were a little bit nervous at first, but quickly realized that they were geese too! Now they usually watch the geese or stand around eating grass.
The geese were more interested in the goslings than I expected! All 4 of them went up to the babies’ cage and honked at them, then walked away and came back and honked at them again. It’s as if they are welcoming them and bullying them at the same time!
This video shows you typical duckling and gosling behavior!
Sometimes we let the little buggers (literally, bug hunters!) out for a chance to roam free. We still have to keep an eye on them because they are small enough to be hurt by a larger chicken or taken by a hawk (especially the ducklings). Today they got a solid 2 hours of freedom out in the yard, where they enjoyed chasing bugs, sun bathing, chowing down on seed heads, and drinking from random puddles of water!
Nothing makes our day more than having kids come visit us at the homestead. Beginning some time next month, we will be hosting a homestead tour so all interested kids and adults can come see the animals for themselves. But in the meantime, let these videos of our friend Meredith and her lovely kids, Emi and Teddy, make you smile.
Our electric poultry fencing has been an eye-opening experiment so far…
What we’ve learned:
1. Setting up the fencing takes a few hours each time but depending on how large of a space we make, the birds can occupy the space for weeks at a time.
2. The ducks respect the fence, and since getting shocked a few times, have stayed as far away from the fence as possible. Every few days a duck will get spooked, and since we have not clipped their wings, it might fly over by accident. It sometimes takes the poor duck a few hours to get up the nerve to jump back through the fence. They definitely respect the boundaries!
3. The geese are the most respectful of all, never going over and never coming close to the fence.
4. The turkeys are a different story, however! They respect the fence on a hit-and-miss basis, sometimes staying inside the fence and other times taking the shock and climbing through. The most annoying part is that when they have no trouble escaping, they have loads of trouble figuring out how to get back in. We are looking into getting electrified netting to use for the turkeys in the future, but we’ll see!
The big electric-fencing-for-poultry lesson is:
Simple electrified strands work for ducks and geese, but not for turkeys!
If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you know that we recently received our Embden goslings in the mail. You also know that even though we ordered 10, we were only shipped 4. Sad news for us!
We ordered a “straight run” from Murray McMurray Hatchery which means that they were not sexed to determine how many males and females were in the bunch. Ordering them this way is cheaper, and since we only wanted to keep 2 males and 2 females to add to our breeding flock (and eat the rest), we figured that ordering 10 would ensure that we got what we wanted. Unfortunately, now that we only have 4 (apparently the hatchery has experienced lower hatch rates than expected and they will not send us the other 6), we are going to have to just wait around and hope that we have at least 2 males in the bunch. The 4 geese that we have now (only one of which is an Embden) are all females, a fact that we weren’t certain of until recently!
This is our second time this year that our shipments of birds were delayed or altered (beginning with our turkeys). Although the whole thing is disappointing, we’re just going to have to make due with what we’ve got!
So now we have another goose quartet, this time one that is filled with lots of fuzzy cuteness. Goslings are by far our favorite babies (I honestly enjoy them more than the piglets, to be honest)! They have such personality even at a few days old, and the fact that they imprint on the animal nearest them when they are born, makes me excited to hatch our own future geese and have them be best friends and adventure partners to our children! Geese are super loud and can flog any animal with such intensity that I am inclined to think them just as protective as dogs.
Our goslings are already “fussing” at us when we come over to visit them, just as adult geese do–bending down and stretching their necks out at you while honking.
The “fussing” posture!
We’ve let them out in the yard (supervised, of course) to roam around and they enjoy eating grass and seed pods. What self-sufficient little marvels!
They will probably outgrow their current home in a few weeks, and then they will probably get to go live with the other geese and ducks. We’ll see!
1. First of all, we decided that utterly free-ranging geese was no longer something we wanted. Too much goose poop in random places (i.e. the carport or even the front porch) that always made me want to scream and then chase them around the yard in frustration. Also, the quartet was often found standing in the road and I don’t need to explain to you just how dangerous that is!
2. We started incubating 14 goose eggs a few weeks ago, but we’re not sure how things will go with them… (Explanation of why we’re unsure is below)
4. We’ve built a new fence for keeping the geese confined. The fence moves every few days (just like their old home that now houses the pigs) and is lower (about 2.5 feet tall). The fence is made of cut cattle panels, that are able to be “stepped in” to the ground so we can change the shape and layout of their area whenever we come across any garden beds or plants that we need to avoid having in their space.
5. During the beginning of their renewed confinement, Audo somehow learned how to climb/fly over the short fence (which was weird since he is the heaviest one) and would escape any time he wanted. After clearing a couple of their favorite yard-nest spots of eggs, and after a few days of only Audo roaming around outside the fence, we discovered that Audo was laying eggs!!!!!!!!!
Which, of course, means that Audo is a female!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, we’ve been operating with the information that Audo was male this entire time, understanding that the rest were females.And now it seem that we might not even have a male at all! There are ways to tell that I will not go into here, but Google it and prepare to be freaked out if you are interested in knowing more about sexing a goose (yes, I did just write those words).
Audo’s femaleness might mean that all of our incubating is for naught, unless another goose has been a male all along!
6. The last goose update was actually meant to be the sole subject of this post, but I got a little bit carried away…
In order to keep Audo inside the fence, we had to clip her wings so she can’t catch enough wind to lift herself over the wire. Clipping a bird’s wings of is not what it might sound like to you (a horrible inhumane act that hurts the bird). Instead, it only involves catching the bird and trimming her feathers, not hurting her at all.
This video is a bit funny, actually, since we hadn’t clipped goose feathers before and we weren’t sure how Audo would respond. Watch and see how we did it…
Jason held her and I did the clipping of just one wing to keep her off balance and to make sure that her flying would be crooked if she ever tried to fly over the fence again. If you try this yourself, be sure to have tin snips to use as scissors, since the heavy duty shears and scissors I used really weren’t tough enough for goose wings!