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when to select breeding stock

Discussion in 'Geese' started by currychick, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. currychick

    currychick New Egg

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    Hello all,

    I'm looking for some insight and experience selecting geese as breeding stock. I am going to order my first goslings this spring. I am thinking I will order 6 straight run and hope to end up with a breeding trio (two females and one male.) I've googled and checked a number of different reference books and they never indicate when to make the cull (I would likely eat the remaining three culled birds.) A single British reference found via google has indicated that geese mate up in the autumn and therefore it is best to make the selections in the fall.

    So my questions, assuming I purchase the goslings in the late spring/early summer:
    The selection of breeding animals should occur at what age? and/or time of year?
    At that age/time of year, will I be able to reliably determine the genders of American Buff (the breed I'm thinking of selecting for my home flock) without having to utilize vent sexing?

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    @currychick Welcome to BYC, I think maybe @jchny2000 maybe able to answer your questions since she does use some of her geese for food.
     
  3. Carrosaur

    Carrosaur Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can technically sex geese at any time, but if you only want a trio going into breeding season I would have someone experienced with vent sexing to do it or have them all DNA sexed, where you just send in a feather or two of each.

    You can never 100% know until breeding season and when they start laying, because mounting is done by both sexes (for dominance?) and some females may never lay! Who knows!!? :)

    Good luck on your soon to be goose adventure! You'll love it!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. jchny2000

    jchny2000 Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Buffs are harder to sex by sight. Similar voices, and build. My neighbor keeps them, and I was almost sure they had 2 hens until the day he asked me to candle his remaining eggs, he had a gosling hatch! The gander is a bit taller with a thicker neck. Both parents have "lobes" on the belly. Beautiful birds! Their flock visits off season and they come over and swim in our pond. Ganders also begin "guarding" his hen/hens. That's also how you know, some will start that very young also.
    You will typically see goslings for sale in the early spring, so select a breeder soon, and make a plan to get them. 6 is a good number and will give you good selection hopefully. Geese mature around 8 months, but usually do not lay until the following spring. I am slow deciding who stays, if any from the new years flock. If any are left that haven't sold, that's when I start watching to see if there are traits I don't like, overall healthy appearance. Temperament is a key part also. I breed towards being a large, robust bird, human social and without wing or leg problems. SOP isn't my concern as much as a robust flock. If I am down to all fitting that mold then its ganders first.. I try one more shot of finding a home at that point. If it was just me here, I would not process geese. DH likes waterfowl for the table. I have ate wild geese and loved it! Its an emotional barrier for me because they are really my pets here.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. currychick

    currychick New Egg

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    Mar 16, 2012
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    Thank you for all of the feedback. Sounds like it would be best to overwinter before selecting, after they have started laying. My impression though was that geese will 'pair' off and I wasn't sure when that would happen. I was worried about them selecting their own breeding pairs and then me selecting half a pair; trying to force the remaining birds to match up. I was thinking if they didn't have a choice whenever it was that they selected their mate, then they would select each other. Or maybe domestic geese aren't that committed. I would really like to eat young goose and not feed them all winter before selection, although establishing a strong breeding trio would be my priority.

    I have my first serious duck flock (although still fairly small at 16.) I'm going to start culling down to either 6 or 9. They weren't nearly as difficult to brood as I was expecting (I'm off-grid and used charcoal to heat the brooder; and the ducklings only needed extra heat less than 2 weeks during the warm season.) The I can't tell the individuals apart (and haven't really tried), so I think that I will get to know the remaining ones after I cull. I know geese are the most difficult of the backyard poultry because they are around so much longer - longer to form a bond and get to know the individuals.

    I know the Livestock Conservancy has some good information on selecting breed stock (for performance traits) on chickens. Anyone know of something similar for waterfowl?
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I'm not sure but you might try Metzers web site or get The Book Of Geese by Dave Holderread, lots of valuable information there
     

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