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Discussion in 'Geese' started by daisyjack, Oct 24, 2011.
Thinking about using pilgrim weeder geese in vegetable garden. who has tried it, any tips?
Define "use weeder geese in the vegetable garden". How do you plan to manage them? When will you be using them? On what crops? What scale is your garden? How many geese do you plan to use? How much supervision to intend to give them? All these things will help determine whether or not it's a "good idea".
Don't know if breed makes a difference or not but my Embdens eat EVERYTHING!!!!! They can definitely not be used as weeder geese. We kept reading that they would only eat broad leafed plants and wouldn't eat specific things like tomatoes but ours literally eat anything and everything. The only reason I still have okra growing is because the plants are too tall for them to reach the top of. Below is a list of all the things they have eaten.
Lettuce of every kind and type
squash of every variety
black eyed peas
I could go on but I think you get the idea. In my opinion it's a BAD idea.
You can add apple trees, filbert trees and plywood to that list . . . I think geese are like puppies -- they have to chew on everything. Mine were supposed to eat the grass under my apple trees, but they figured out in short order that apples are yummy . . . didn't bother me so much seeing them eat the apples, but they also chew on the branches. I'm going to prune lower limbs and find something to paint on the trees that makes them less yummy, but given how the geese chew on anything new I doubt that they will be long for the orchard. Which is a shame since they DO eat grass and it looks lovely in the orchard with all that fertilizer.
After seeing them in the orchard, and watching them chew on everything from our steps to the downspout to the plywood walls on the chicken house (my daughter's theory was that they were trying to eat their way through to the feeder) I gave up putting them with any sort of crop. There is one particular broadleafed weed that they don't like, and they don't like blackberry brambles or thistle. So far, everything else is trimmed, or pulled up and eaten roots and all.
Even though they might not work out in the orchard, and that is why I got them this spring, I won't give them up. They are too funny, and they do a great job eating down the grass in my open areas, and taking care of the overgrowth on the wintered fields. If you had just a pair or a trio, and moved them often / gave them a LARGE area . . . I suppose it is possible that they would stay with the yummy grass and leave the veggies alone. I have 7 American Buff and 2 Toulouse. The Buff's are more curious than the Toulouse - I think if I just had Toulouse they might not have eaten my apple trees so quickly . . . but it is hard to say. I don't have any experience with Pilgrim geese.
I have 2 embden geese and a number of ducks in my large garden and it works well only because I have garden beds that I can fence off individually. If I gardened in rows like many do it would be a disaster. With the garden beds I don't want them in I just use some bamboo poles at the corners and sides of the beds and wrap it with bird wire about 3 foot high. After a bed is done producing I take the bird wire down and let them munch anything left. Over all I have no slugs in the garden now and only a few weeds in the garden beds that I have to pull out by hand. Just keep in mind that geese and ducks both will eat anything you think is tasty as well as a lot you wouldn't want to eat. And anything they don't want to eat they will sit and poop on. The remaining plants they will pull up for fun... I go through a lot to keep them free ranging in my garden. As I understand it weeder geese have been used traditionally only in a few crops such as tobacco, cotton and strawberries (before they set fruit), or other crops before the desired plants germinate in the spring (get rid of weeds early).