Weeder Geese

Discussion in 'Geese' started by WestfarthingHomestead, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. WestfarthingHomestead

    WestfarthingHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

    117
    3
    91
    Jul 10, 2011
    Alaska
    Hey, gang, my husband loves gardening and I love poultry. We'd like to get geese to weed the garden we're going to plant just for to provide animal feed. We've read that White Chinese geese are the best weeders for corn and sunflowers, but I just like Pilgrims best. Does anyone know if Pilgrims are good weeders too?[​IMG] I do think White Chinese are beautiful too!
     
  2. countrychix

    countrychix Chillin' With My Peeps

    241
    0
    112
    Mar 18, 2010
    Frewsburg, NY
    Say goodbye to your corn,lol, our geese ate every last blade that came up in our garden. Good thing we didn't really need it as we can get all we want from some friends of ours. If you kept them out of the corn until it is a few feet tall you should be okay, but that young tender stuff is just too much for them to resist.[​IMG] Sorry, I can't help you in choosing a breed, we have sebbies and sebbie/toulouse mixes here. Good luck and have fun!
     
  3. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,867
    14
    171
    Jul 26, 2009
    I suspect that "weeder geese" were used on fairly mature crops later in the summer -- probably corn, tobacco, and we know cotton from the "cotton patch" geese.

    When the crops are bigger, they are a lot less susceptible to being damaged by geese. They can pull out and eat an eight inch corn plant in a matter of seconds. They probably won't be able to do enough damage to a six foot corn stalk to diminish the yield, since they'll only go for the lower foliage. Probably a lot easier for them to move on the next plant in search of a meal that's less work, rather than trying to bring down a tall, sturdy mature plant. When those easier targets are young, soft broadleaved and grassy weeds coming up between the stands of corn or cotton or tobacco, viola, weeder geese.

    I suspect this would NEVER work for crops like tomatoes, peppers, melons, or anything else that is edible to geese and low growing enough to be in reach.

    At least that's my theory about how this worked. Having watched my 3 for a couple of months now, I don't see how they would ever be safe around crops like lettuce or other leafy greens. One of mine was even eating green onions today, which surprised me, then she had nice onion breath when she came over to snuggle up!
     
  4. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,867
    14
    171
    Jul 26, 2009
    Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention, my 3 Pilgrim goslings did a great job of weeding out my couple of planters of sugar beets today -- they weeded every last beet plant out of there. But, it was ok, I'm overwhelmed this year, and with the hot dry weather I decided to just get rid of some stuff rather than keep watering it, so I let them at the beets. I tried cooking both the very small young beets and the foliage and found it literally too sweet for my taste, which shouldn't come as a shock -- sugar beets are sweet, right, Einstein!
     
  5. goosedragon

    goosedragon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Central NC
    Quote:Yes Pilgrims can be taught to be good weeders too. White chinese were better for farmers for three reasons They iend to reproduce more goslings than other breeds and less ganders per goose and less geese needed to be carried over the winter to produce your working flock in the spring. They had light bodies and long necks which was important in crops that were seeded by 'drilling'. they were white, since most of the workers got sent to freezer camp at the end of the season and white birds dress better for the table. I taught my first generation birds to weed with some problems, but since I brood amd hatch naturally (no incubator) Ma & Pa goose taught their youngones. The big trick is to keep them moving by moving their water bucket, geese always want to know where their next drink is coming from and they want water available in case they need to wash out their bill, You don't just turn them loose and forget about them. first they will eat the tender young weeds, then they will start tasting the crop plants. So move the bucket and the geese will move too. Goslings are not worked until they have feathers to protect them from the sun and by then the crop plants are usually big enough that the birds would rather eat the weeds. Of course the parents will show them what to eat. IN general keep them away from salad greens and root veggies, bwcause geese like their salad tender and they will pull and eat radishes carrots and beets. mine left onions and garlic alone but others report that geese will eat them too. If you have more questions repost, I generally read any thing with weeder geese in the title.~gd They will sometimes 'strike" when their bellies are full. They will sit down by the water and either 'chat' or nap.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  6. WestfarthingHomestead

    WestfarthingHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

    117
    3
    91
    Jul 10, 2011
    Alaska
    Thank you, Goosedragon! [​IMG] I saved your reply to file. White Chinese geese are very beautiful too, swan-like.
     
  7. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,497
    16
    246
    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    I am far from having a green thumb - but I have three goats and they have weeded my entire side yard that borders a factory - they LOVE weeds. I suggest goats. Cheap to feed, they bother no one (as long as the buck is castrated) and they are just so sweet! You need two, though - herd animals need company
    Good luck
     
  8. goosedragon

    goosedragon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Central NC
    Quote:I tried goats first (they are supposed to eat kutzu) Sold them because I could never keep my 3 young ladies (does?) confined. They would climb welded wire fences or get up on the back of another to jump the fence (and then bleet to be put back with the herd) I got sick of chasing goats in a short time! ~gd
     
  9. WestfarthingHomestead

    WestfarthingHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

    117
    3
    91
    Jul 10, 2011
    Alaska
    Ha! We're hoping for Nigerian Dwarfs, as a matter of fact.[​IMG] I think we'd have the boys clear land, but not the gardens. The girls would be for dairy so they need a special area where their udders can't be damaged and they can't anything that will make their milk taste bad. I'm leaning towards the White China geese for the garden. Isn't it wonderful how every animal has a part to play on a farm?
     
  10. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,497
    16
    246
    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    Quote:I tried goats first (they are supposed to eat kutzu) Sold them because I could never keep my 3 young ladies (does?) confined. They would climb welded wire fences or get up on the back of another to jump the fence (and then bleet to be put back with the herd) I got sick of chasing goats in a short time! ~gd

    Funny, EVERYONE says that, but I don't have a problem, though we use an electric fence [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by