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Choosing my first geese

Discussion in 'Geese' started by Dusky Beauty, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tis the season.... For planning next year's hatchery order!!

    Oregon Blues offered to walk me through the process of selecting some geese to start my breeding program, but I'm open to listening to anyone. [​IMG]

    So, this summer was my first year with ducks, and I've pretty well got the kinks out there (well, once the eggs start to roll in seriously I do...) Next season I am adding a box of mixed heritage turkeys, maybe a few more of the duck breeds I liked, and I'd like to get a little goose breeding program going on.

    I'd like the geese to coexist peacefully with my ducks and tolerate the turkeys. I don't care much if they are "watch geese", I have a couple of pyr-type dogs that do the job, and I'm kicking around the idea of a couple guineas to deal with snakes.

    An amiable temperament is vital. I have 3 kids including a toddler and I won't have any ganders terrorizing my rugrats. This is the main reason I don't want to buy some local birds on CL, I don't trust someone not to dump their problem birds on me.
    Dress weight doesn't have to be super huge. A 15 lb bird with a 10/12 dress weight sounds about right to me.
    Breed needs to be hardy, but does not need to be cold resistant, my birds have water and shade all day to deal with the extreme heat.
    I need to be able to sex them so I can keep track of breeding pairs/trios to keep or sell. I'm pretty good at vent sexing ducks, so I guess I could do that if a breed was perfect in every other respect, but needing to band them and reband them as they grew to ID the boys from the girls would be a bit of a downer.

    I am thinking of maintaining one or two breeding pairs or a trio, 1.) what is a reasonable expectation of gosling output per goose per summer assuming basic homesteading conditions? (In nest brooding, unlikely predation) In other words, would one pair be enough to supply a few freezer and market birds in a given year? Or do I need more pairs? 2.) How many goslings should I order to end up with my ideal number of adults? Consider straight run odds and run of the mill losses from brooding to adulthood.

    Sebbies are pretty but there is no way I can justify 50$+ for one gosling.
     
  2. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Cotton Patch Geese are very friendly for geese - I have never been attacked, bitten or hissed at. They are a small breed, ganders 12 lbs and geese 11 I believe it is at most - and they are very heat-tolerant for geese. They were used in the South specifically as weeders for years.

    Here is Serina Harvey's website on them - she has raised her prices but she is selling the offspring of Tom Walker's - they are some of the best (you might be able to find them elsewhere cheaper) http://www.cottonpatchgeese.com/ These are my favorite geese that meet my needs the best, but as with chickens there are hundreds of different ones.

    It depends on the breed of goose you choose how many eggs they will lay on average, but just remember geese, although some eggs will be fertile their first year, the highest fertility starts in their second.

    Have fun!
     
  3. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's a bummer that cotton patch geese are so expensive-- I checked the map and the farm you linked is about 3 hours from where I live [​IMG] DH is in school for a new degree, and it's a guarantee that we will have to relocate when he gets it, so no point in starting a high 'falutin conservation breeding program when I'll be selling out all but the pets and re-building when we settle in just a couple short years.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2011
  4. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does anyone know anything about Shetland geese? There doesn't seem to be much info on the web about them.
     
  5. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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  6. StevenW.

    StevenW. Lovin' My Quackers!

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    I'm thinking about putting an order in next year and maybe getting a Shetland Pair of goslings, but I'm still unsure.
     
  7. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone know what the disposition is on them?
     
  8. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    If you want a 10-12 pound dress rate, you are limited to full size geese. The commercial Embdens dress out about 10 pounds, and my Americans about 11 pounds. Unless you get Dewlap Toulouse or exhibition Africans, a large goose only weighs about 16 pounds. They look so huge because the feather covering is inches deep. I can bury the entire length of my fingers in the feathers on the breast of my geese. They look as big as turkeys, but they are nowhere near as big.

    If you want full size and auto-sexing, I think your available choice is Pilgrim Geese.

    I don't know about temperaments on Pilgrims since I've never had one of them. The Buff Americans and the Sebbies are reputed to be very nice natured. I am cautious about geese around small children. It can work if the geese are raised like geese, well trained, and the children respect the geese, but if the situation is different, you have to remember that the goose attack zone is about the level of a child's face.

    Good quality geese to start a flock are expensive. $50 per gosling is not out of line for purebred geese of almost any breed. There is no way around that. The only breed I've paid close attention to are the Pomeranians and Poms from hatcheries are so poor in quality that they look like badly marked and scrawny bodied mutts. It makes me suspect that any information that you gather about any breed of geese will simply not apply to a goose from a hatchery. Hatchery geese are going to be a big mystery as to what you will get.

    If you are planning to purchase hatchery geese, at least buy from Metzer's who specializes in waterfowl. Pay the extra to buy sexed geese and order what you want. A trio would work. Domestic ganders will breed more than one goose.

    Probably what you will find is that the goose will set on a clutch and once she has hatched, she is done for the year. She will most likely hatch out 6-12 goslings. If you take eggs away as she lays them, she will keep laying until she gets her clutch, but rarely more eggs than 30-60 in a year. They aren't like chickens that lay all year. They have a season and when the season is over, they are done until next year.

    If you want more goslings, you can take the first eggs and hatch them in an incubator and then let the goose set on a clutch.
     
  9. RHRanch

    RHRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    I recommend the Cotton Patch if you want a safer goose to be around children (Of course children and livestock should always be supervised when together). I had Tufted Romans, and the male was very agressive and bit everyone in my family at some point. My mom has health problems and takes blood thinners, so the Romans had to go. Now I have a small flock of Cotton Patch geese (or CPG's as I like to call them) and they have never hurt or bitten everyone. I had 2 ganders raise my goslings I bought from Serina, also. Even the males are great parents! The CPG's are still loud so they make good alert systems.
     
  10. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    <I typed this all up so much better and clear headed the first time, but I went afk for a minute and someone commandeered my PC and lost my post [​IMG] I'll just quickly hit on my main questions>


    ~We have excessively long warm seasons here in Phoenix (spring starts in february and autumn ends in december, just barely.) So a goose would have ample time to raise a clutch, and I've been told that many raise 2 in a year.

    ~Is there any advantage in crossbreeding for sex linked goslings with buffs and say; pilgrims? and for curiosity sake do pied geese have the color genes to contribute to such a match?

    ~So far I've only looked at the gosling selection with Metzer and Holderreads, and I am inclined to believe these are the best places to consider day olds, I suppose I'm willing to look at other suggested breeders though if anyone raves about their birds.

    ~How do you "mark" your monochromatic young geese for gender? bands or other?

    ~LOVE the Cotton Patches! They're going right on my "dream farm" list next to dexter cows, Gloucestershire old spot piggies, silver fox bunnies, and EQ welsh harlies and silver appleyards.

    ~At the moment I'm weighing buffs and pilgrims. If anyone has experience with those breeds I'd love to hear them.

    ~How do you best raise geese to be amiable? Handle them a lot to make them friendly? or don't handle them much so they stay intimidated by humans? Any tips would be fantastic!
     

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