That was added by a Mod, I would gather. I suppose one can't say the "P" word on here, but the article was from a "P" supported site!
Anyone raise geese for down? - Page 2
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Ok. Well, lets just agree to disagree.
Edited by SundownWaterfowl - 7/18/08 at 7:20pm
Yes you can harvest down from your geese. No, it's not like tugging hair out. You know how you can pet a cat that is shedding and the silly thing gives you enough fur to make a house out of? That's what happens when birds moult.
"Holding the goose down and pulling out the feathers" sounds worse than it is. You don't harvest down from a goose that is running and you don't get the down by singing or staring intently.
Geese moult twice a year: once in late summer and once in early spring. When they moult you'll know - your yard will suddenly look like it's snowing. When they are moulting grab your goose and tug a bit on his down - not a fistful. If it comes out without a hitch then keep at it, harvesting the down using your pointer finger and thumb. If it doesn't come out easily then give your goose a treat he likes and send him on his way.
I haven't harvested down myself, but I'd like to try it out sometime in the near future. I'm a big fan of learning how. That's one more thing our geese can give to us that we can use to restuff pillows, make funky gifts or sell to others. Plus being able to harvest down makes geese even more useful to have around the farm. It's one more good trait to tell people about when you want to get them hooked on geese
For anyone who thinks it's cruel, this _can_ be a cruel act if not done right. Just as shearing sheep and harvesting wool from angora rabbits can be cruel when not done right. Just because certain groups highlight the bad or ignore the good doesn't mean it's 100% cruel all the time. These same people are oftentimes convinced that keeping animals in captivity, stealing away their eggs to eat and, God forbid, eating your own animals, are all unforgivable sins.
As for the specific details, I'll browse and ask around to see what I can find out. I've been meaning to find out for ages. This is a nice incentive.
My mother is 77 and she was telling me just days ago for the first time. She and her sister would catch the goose. (not sure what kind because she argues with me that geese are white and ganders are grey) and put it in a stall. My grandmother would sit on a stool and pluck the down from the belly. They would use the down for feather beds and pillows.
Beekissed, I understand you asking. This is my first time for geese. I bought them as day old goslings in April. Their belly feathers are all over my yard. I guess they are molting. I panick everytime I let them out and see so many feathers everywhere.
So apparently they come out easily because they are everywhere and they won't let anything close to them. They won't let my cats in the back yard during the day.
Oh good grief. I found a link you do _not_ want to form an opinion from. It looks like the one someone else had read earlier.
Plucking feathers that are moulting is not like having your fingernails ripped out.
You do not have to follow a goose around for days to gather down. That's stupid.
This site is painfully transparent in what it's attempting to do: get you to agree that their down from butchered geese is oh-so much better than down gathered from live animals.
Here is some information about live harvesting:
"Down and Feathers
The most valuable goose product is the down, which is obtained from the goose's breast area, followed by the fine feathers. Harvesting feathers and down from live geese is possible because between 9 to 10 weeks of age their mature down feathers moult naturally. This harvest can be an important source of income from geese being bred for the production of either meat or fattened liver products and from those in breeder flocks. Down and feathers can be stored and marketed on the international market or used in local cottage industries for the production of high-value retail products such as bed coverlets. Most commercial products contain a blend of both down and feathers; the higher the proportion of down, the higher the value of the product. The demand for down and feathers remains strong, meaning new producers can profitably access the market, especially the market for hand-plucked down and feathers, which have the highest value. "
"EMBDEN. This is the big, dignified, white goose that can weigh up to 26 pounds. (So-called "market" strains may not get this big, but are preferred because they're more fertile.) The Embden's eggs are quite large and its abundant white down is especially valuable. This down may be plucked from the goose when it molts or when a female is about to go broody. Another way to harvest the down and breast feathers is to let the broody female pluck them out herself and use them to line her nest. Then all you have to do is steal the lining that is, if you don't mind arguing with a Betty goose!"
- Resistance is futile
Hmmm...how much down could you harvest from one goose do you spose?
I guess it depends on how embarrassed you want him to be when he's released back into the flock. You should be able to at least get a few ounces, if not more. I'm assuming an ounce is a fistful.
When we butcher a goose we can make one small pillow out of the down and most of the feathers saved back. It'd probably take quite a few geese to make a single pillow. Ah...maybe a dozen?
Still, a few hours of harvesting for a nice fluffy goose down pillow is worth doing
Omniskies! Now THAT is information worth sharing! Thank you so much for it.
I had assumed it was like the pulling that one does on an Angora rabbit, or Great Pyrenees dog, to remove the undercoat. If it comes easily, pull, if it doesn't leave it! My GP mix gives 3 extra dogs every year....I just sit out in the yard and pull it out of her coat. She closes her eyes and meditates while I do it....I think it must feel good to get the itchy stuff off.
I will look up the breed. I'm glad there are others interested in the subject...for a moment there I was afraid this would dissolve into a maudlin thread about how cruel I was for even suggesting it.
My DH loves down pillows and his is exquisitely manky, I would love to restuff it for him!
I had one like that as I was growing up...had the same pillow for 22 years! Loved that thing but it did get "manky"! Finally had to throw it away and haven't been able to find its equal, no matter how hard I try.
- Sees What You Did There
I think the topic is fascinating, and Beekissed, I'm glad you asked the question! I don't think I'm tempted to get into the down-harvesting business, but now I am thinking, once again, about whether or not I "need" a couple of geese!
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