Originally Posted by Joybells
Thanks for the advice, I've got some 4' wielded wire left over from my last project so I can easily put that up. .
Someday I'll have an 8' perimeter fence encircling the area where I want to keep my animals (about three acres) then I'll have chickens/geese/guinea fowl/turkey free ranged full time.
Now for the housing right next to the orchard I have a large three sided lean-to that I've used as a goat/hay barn before. It's safe from dogs (small pen and enclosing fence around it to keep deer out of the hay, dogs out of the kids) do you think I could herd the geese into it for the night and it'd be secure enough?
Another option is put them in with the chickens for the night. (don't have any yet, and the chicken coop isn't built yet. I'm hoping the goatbarn will be a good option because I'm bad at building stuff, and my brothers won't be in the mood to build it for geese. )
How far are they liable to wander if my orchard is the greenest patch of land around?
I'm kinda hoping that they decide to stick to my couple arces with the trees just because it's got the best eating around. (neighbors either are separated by a stretch of dry sagebrush or have more dry sagebrush) I don't mind cutting the grass down for young growth if they'll stick around to eat it.
I found someone who's selling goslings, and I have a sort term brooder pen for them next to the house.
I don't think I'd mind adding geese to the potential gaggle but I'm not sure that would be the best mixture. I want to keep the maintenance to a minimum, and the hissing to a minimum (gotta keep the rest of the family happy) I'll probably hatch some eggs, under any broody geese and or in an incubator. I have about three acres I'd like to have all my farm birds run around. Geese aren't my Dad's favorite because of the mess, but if they stay out near the trees and not on the porch, I think he'll let me keep as many as it's self-sustaining on the grass during the spring, summer and fall. Having some tasty homegrown goose for thanksgiving and Christmas dinner doesn't hurt much either.
Eventually, once you have the perimeter fencing up, the orchard (so long as the trees are mature) would be a great place for the birds to range. However, perimeter fencing probably won't completely stop predators that dig (the 4' won't stop ones that jump either): It will just severely slow them down. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night without knowing my birds were housed in secure enclosures though.
You should be able to use the old hay/goat shed with some modifications. Personally, I would frame the front and put hardware cloth on the open side and make a nice big door you can fit through too. Also, you'd need to do something around the base of the building. We use post hole diggers and dig a small moat/trench around the base of the whole building then put 14" tall pieces of heavy old roofing metal down in there (allow a couple inches to come up and be attached to the wall) and fill it in. Some folks make a wire floor (can be covered with dirt): Basically, anything to discourage something from digging its way in; Raccoons and foxes are not opposed to digging for their dinner. A couple strands of hot line space a few inches apart around the base of the building may do the trick too, but then you'd need a solar fence charging unit, since I assume it is a good distance from the nearest power source.
My geese are all trained to go in at night. It only takes a new addition a couple days to catch on to the routine. Occasionally, they will give me trouble for a minute or two, but usually they are ready and waiting for me to shut the doors at night, especially the mature birds. My original pair of geese begins to stand by their house a full half an hour or more before dusk. The minute I begin to walk their direction they go in the door and get all settled in.
Well, as to the wandering. The best grass on our 7 acres is right in the pasture by their biggest pond and in our front lawn, but our geese travel over 4 or 5 acres of the 7 every day. We have to keep our main driveway gate closed or they have been known to wander over and visit our elderly neighbors yard. They will come into the garage if the door is left open and then go to the front of the property and visit the juvenile ducks and geese. Then the make their way to see the chickens followed by our back porch, part of the orchard, then the dogs. Then they will wander into a couple of areas we have been doing a lot of dirt work and lay there for a nap. After that they waddle over and see the turkeys, then back to the juvenile pond. Finally, they make their way back to the front and come look in the front windows.If they see us start tapping the windows with their bills. You name it, they check it out. We call them the geese police and nothing gets past them on their rounds. The only way to keep them where I want them is through fencing and gates.
As to the noise and aggressiveness: Not all geese are noisy or aggressive....it is a breed by breed or even sometimes bird by bird type thing. Their can be a lot of hissing and head shaking if you have mated pairs during breeding season. I know that even if mine are acting like that, I can pick them up without fear of being attacked because it is all one big show...unless the goose is sitting on a nest full of eggs: That is a game changer.
Other than changing their bedding, and providing them with clean water daily they really are fairly maintenance free. Oh, you DO need to provide them with some pelleted layer food while they are breeding. They should be okay on pasture, but you'll have to watch them to make sure. If they begin looking a bit thin, then you'll want to offer them some supplemental food in the late afternoon. That way they will graze all day and only eat the pellets if they are really hungry.
Good luck with your project. I hope you are able to get a few geese and whip the old barn into shape for their shelter!