geese aren't grazing the wintergrass

Discussion in 'Geese' started by RoyalHillsLLC, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. RoyalHillsLLC

    RoyalHillsLLC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I spent a lot of time and money clearing and planting several acres of grass so the geese would have plenty of winter forage. they haven't touched it yet! they appear to be spending all of their time on the summer forage that is almost brown (bermudagrass). I am wondering if I could get away with pulling their feed for a while and try to force them to forage more. They are eating way too much, especially since they have all that good ryegrass, oats, and winterpeas to choose from.
    What about muscovies? any thoughts on how much supplemental feed they need since I am freeranging them together? It would be hard to feed one and not the other and the geese are pigs!
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Geese are herbivores. Ducks are omnivores. 2 different feeding requirements.

    You can force any animal to forage more by not giving them feed. Alot of farmers practice this as sustainable farming. Feild rotation is also good practise.

    As geese are not really cattle or sheep does it really matter which area they are eating from? If you plan to make a good table bird out of them as we head into late fall and approach December they need the feed.

    My geese graze as well as get feed ration and right now alot of corn to make rich buttery fat for roasting.
     
  3. RoyalHillsLLC

    RoyalHillsLLC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:My thinking is that they aren't grazing very much, and are just hanging out in the dead grass. They are staying close to feed is what I am concerned about. I just don't want to starve them, and was more or less hoping for some opinions of others who have raised them that they are good foragers and withholding feed for a while would not hurt them or the muscovies. I don't care about fat content much. I prfer lean meat anyway.
     
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Lean meat is nice but ducks and geese are rich fatty meat - it sort of defeats the purpose of raising them to keep them 'lean'. You won't get that lean of a bird anyway they'll just be skinny and greasy.

    You can withhold feed and make them forage more. But I would cut back on the feed more more over time so that don't have a set back and drop weight while you trying to encourage more foraging.

    Near the end of the life cycle, prior to dispatch, they are best when finished off on grains. If you want a nice table bird remember you get back out of them what you are willing to put into them.

    If you plan to breed them and have eggs they (and you) will benefit greatly by making sure they have feed. Waterfowl feed is hard to come by in these parts. Purina Flock Raiser with brewers yeast helps compensate for it.

    If you want them to graze in your winter pasture then move them into it, bait them with some feed to keep them there and see what happens.
     
  5. RoyalHillsLLC

    RoyalHillsLLC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do hope to raise a few babies if possible. One of my Africans started laying this weekend. Reckon she will set this time of year?
    I am more concerned about general health than table quality right now. I don't plan to eat any this year unless my pilgrim gander's behavior doesn't improve. The others have been very well behaved and eat out of my hands.
    What about penning at night when you want to raise chicks? I was wondering if I need to quit penning at night if a goose is to hatch her eggs? Will she help me make that decision by staying on her nest when she is ready? Do they go broody like chickens?
    I am assuming also since geese are herbivores that good quality winter forage should meet their nutritional needs with very little supplement if I get them to eat it. Is that an incorrect assumption?
    Right now I am convinced they are eating a large percentage laying pellets and a small percentage grass.
     
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I pen mine at night. Predators will come after them the same as any other fowl.

    They will get aggressive when they have a nest. They also will not lay near as many eggs in a season if you let them sit a nest. The gander will feircely protect her and the babies. the goslings will be more wild and you won't be able to easily handle them and hand feed them. You just won't have the same disposition.

    They should do well grazing but like I said before if you want healthy birds, good breeding and viable eggs you need to give them a little supplement.

    Some do put them out on pasture and let them go.

    I am of the schooling that well kept and well fed geese are the best geese.
     
  7. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know how your grass is there, but up here my geese don't like to forage later in the year. This is also the reason that towards the end of summer, if you are using the geese to weed crops, you need to move the geese out because they start eating the crops instead of weeds. I think they prefer young tender weeds and grass to the older, mature plants. Though they seem to have no problems at that point eating the leaves from mature raspberry plants! [​IMG]
     
  8. RoyalHillsLLC

    RoyalHillsLLC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I know they need grass to be kept short and tender. I mow frequently for them to keep the shoots short and tender. I think longer grass is supposed to be hard for them to digest and could possibly choke them if it breaks off too long. That's why they like golf courses. Short, well-maintained grass.
     

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