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ordering geese - several questions :)

Discussion in 'Geese' started by MotherGoose 777, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. MotherGoose 777

    MotherGoose 777 In the Brooder

    Dec 25, 2009
    Hello all,

    I've enjoyed BYC for a while, and I wanted to join so I could participate here.

    I'm getting ready to order some geese, and I'm trying to decide on several things. I've raised and hatched Chinese/Africans before. I really enjoyed them, but I think other breeds will better suit what I want.

    I do want to raise up a small flock to keep as pets. While I may go ahead and order a few to raise up for meat this year (and next if I need to), what I really hope is to be able to breed my own so that I can produce meat birds myself next year or the year after (don't know if this is realistic ... my other geese began producing at less than a year old and hatched babies).

    I liked the "watchdog" part of my other geese. I can handle that level of noise, but if they are quieter that's ok too. My Chinese gander used to threaten and attack any stranger that came up and that was a nice deterrent. [​IMG] It's not my highest priority though, but I did appreciate it. Also, my Africans were especially affectionate -- I guess I was everyone's "mama" since I raised them from day-olds. I really enjoyed their affectionate natures, and I'd like to see that in pet geese too.

    I plan to put them out on fenced pasture once they are raising babies, and hope they can forage well enough not to need too much supplemental feeding once they are older. Not that I mind feeding, but I like the effect geese seem to have on open grassy area -- I saw a lot of improvement as the geese grazed it. I'd ideally like to be able to put some of the adults in with the goslings each year to help raise them as I don't want to hand-raise or get too close to meat geese. I'm too much a softie, LOL.

    I'm considering a couple of Emden ganders, an Emden goose, a couple of Toulouse geese (I don't care for the dewlap sort but will probably prefer the smaller ones). I'm thinking these will be good stock for raising meat goslings. One gander and 2-3 geese might actually be enough, but I'm afraid what if they mis-sex the gander and I wind up without one. Some of the hatcheries I've looked at require larger orders than that, so I might add a pair of Buff or Pilgrim, which I just might keep separate and let them be more pets.

    I plan to perimeter-fence the property, and also to fence off the garden (I want a fence-within-a-fence to allow the ducks to roam outside it -- they seem to do a really good job with bugs.) The geese may or may not be fenced as these grow up, but once I am raising meat babies, I plan to fence a pasture and keep them in it.

    Does any of this sound like I'm on the wrong track, considering I don't know these other breeds? Any info appreciated. Oh, and they're being raised in east Texas, as far as climate is concerned. Thanks so much!

    MotherGoose 777

  2. Southerngirl

    Southerngirl Songster

    Mar 25, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    I chose Pilgrims due to their smaller size and they are a "quieter" breed of goose. They alert when something or someone is in the yard or it is feeding time. Very gentle and personable. You might consider them also! Just my opinion! [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

  3. MotherGoose 777

    MotherGoose 777 In the Brooder

    Dec 25, 2009
    Thanks [​IMG]

    I've always heard good things about Pilgrims, and if I need to order more than 5 or so from a hatchery, I had considered a pair of Pilgrims as well.

    If I do that, I'd probably raise them all together, but put the Emdens and Toulouse more out to pasture when they are older and keep them with their babies to raise for meat, and keep the Pilgrims closer in as pets. I suppose if the Pilgrims breed as well, I could sell their babies (or try to).

    Thanks again! [​IMG] Any other opinions, especially on the goslings to be hatched for meat?
  4. Cottage Rose

    Cottage Rose Songster

    Jun 24, 2008
    Mid west Michigan
    You might want to look into American Buffs too.
  5. MotherGoose 777

    MotherGoose 777 In the Brooder

    Dec 25, 2009
    Yes, thank you. Buffs, along with Pilgrims, were the two breeds I had considered adding if I needed to order more to fill the minimum, and I would probably keep them more as pets. I've not heard how well either reproduces, but I'd probably sell the goslings.

    I'm mostly wondering about the Embdens and Toulouse as breeding birds, with the goslings on pasture for meat.

    I did read a thread here about Holerreads' Embdens, and I know for breeding it's best to buy the highest quality birds you can afford, but my, they ARE expensive! I don't plan on showing, just want to raise nice meat birds from the babies.

    Thanks everyone. [​IMG]
  6. ultasol

    ultasol Songster

    Apr 30, 2009
    SE Washington
    Buffs make fine meat birds, although to get the best flesh on birds you plan to butcher adding some extra feed to their diet does help (broiler feed is fine).

    For the breeds you are planning on, you won't need more than one gander to handle the 3-4 geese you plan on having. If you think you may want to keep extra females in future years, the Pilgrim might be a good choice for the autosexing- but you wouldn't want to cross them with other geese if you wish to retain that trait.

    I highly recommend getting the "Book of Geese" by David Holderread. I got it before I got geese, and I am very glad I did. I refer to it whenever I have a question- from choosing a breed, incubation, breeding, feed formulations, brooding goslings, etc. It's a good book. Amazon usually has some relatively cheap- if not new than used.
  7. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Songster

    Dec 28, 2009
    I had a white china goose until someone or something got it. It was a great pet, and it was quick to alarm when something was around. I got home one day to discover it missing.
    I then got brown african geese (2), they are the best. Very Very Gentle. My hen died this year after about 10 yrs. so it was sad. I am thinking about getting some more next spring, and maybe some embdens also.

  8. MotherGoose 777

    MotherGoose 777 In the Brooder

    Dec 25, 2009
    Thanks, Ultrasol. Hmmm ..... I'll have to think about that then. I'd probably like having Buffs around more so than Emdens and Toulouse. I don't mind feeding the birds -- I just want them to graze too. I'm still learning what kinds of livestock produce and grow in the healthiest way on what feed -- I'd like to raise a beef calf too, but definitely on pasture and not lots of corn and grain.

    I had thought one gander might be enough and I don't really want an extra -- but if I *do* go with the Emden gander, I was worried about receiving a goose by mistake if I order only one gander, then being pretty much out of luck.

    I'll look into Holderread's book. I very much respect their breeding. I had considered getting a pair of Emdens from them -- but the cost is almost as high as a pair of Sebastopols! At that, I'm not sure I wouldn't be better of raising Sebastopols and selling for pets -- not sure if there will be much of a local market for them. That would leave me back at square one, though, still wanting geese to breed for meat, LOL.

    I read a bit before I got my geese, but not much. I didn't know what breed they were (picked them up at the feed store from a mixed lot). I learned quickly enough though -- I had experience with ducks and chickens before and, IMO, geese are SO much easier than either (though you have to be ready to upsize the "brooder" VERY quickly -- not that they NEED a brooder much, but I didn't know that in the beginning and needed to keep them safe from predators. I used to have full-size geese (still babies really at 3-4 months) living in the enclosed garage -- trooped inside each night and put into a large dog pen inside to keep them safe.

    D'Angelo -- my geese were white Chinese and brown Africans. I really enjoyed them. Some people say they are noisy (they were) and some say they are aggressive (they can be -- the Chinese gander was especially -- but not to me -- UNLESS I tried to pick him up bodily). I miss them very much! Sorry to hear about your goose dying. I hope you enjoy your new geese, if you decide to get them. [​IMG]

    MotherGoose 777
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009

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