Goose Herding 101
Most of the summer, we've been busy building grow out pens in the fenced side yard. This yard also serves as geese breeder pens in the late winter and early-mid spring, so having multiple pens tucked into this space to keep different species and age groups separate will come in handy on a multitude of levels.
Like most retrofit operations, existing infrastructure made the whole plan a little trickier overall, but it has come along nicely in spite of the constant coastal jungle rain forest environment which has set up shop over Alabama this summer.
Here's a shot of part of the entry and what will be a fenced yard...
A Mid-Summer's Tale
Not exactly as planned
A local friend read about the interlopers and wondered if they would adopt some Canadian goslings that were rescued and given to her to raise. Left to their own devices, many a Canadian pair has stolen goslings from parents deemed "unfit" for duty, so this could work. Maybe.
Concerned for their safety as tame adults unafraid of people and conveniently similarly aged as the group on my lawn, we hatched (lol) a plan to introduce them to be raised alongside the wild Canadian hatchlings.
This is what happened next.
one, two, three, four......?
The first couple of months and especially the first 2 weeks are the most challenging for the young goslings to survive. This pair has done an exceptional job, and all five goslings are accounted for 8 days after hatch. Congrats guys -- I never imagined how nice it is watching somebody else raise goslings for a change. Keep up the good work.
Ask Kelley Creek Farms -- Reader QOD
Our Question of the Day comes to us from a not so anonymous experienced fowl keeper just getting her first taste of the joys of geese and breeding season.
Dear Goose Gurus,
I have two geese with one gander and my girls had been sharing the same nest until Carole King went all nasty and broody. I thought my 8' x 4' hoop hut was great until I had to crouch down and waddle like an over sized duck with disabilities and get to the very back corner to pick up the egg that Sylvia had layed next to the nest that Carole now claims as her own. I may not be very tall but I really prefer to be "extended" to my full 4' 11" height when confronting what used to be a lovely goose who now is a creature from horror films on her nest. How do you mark the eggs so that you can quickly tell the difference between the ones that are supposed to be there and the newly layed egg and get out with the new one before the blood blurs your vision and you loose sight of the only way out of the hut? I have used a pencil to mark eggs but that rapidly blends in with the ..."natural patina".
Any words of wisdom would be appreciated regarding marking eggs and best material to suppress the bleeding.
Dear bleeding in Wisconsin:
Our fowl have seen the same movie, and while my first inclination would be to have someone else gather the eggs, sometimes they have witnessed the carnage and no longer assist a damsel in distress.
In that case, arm yourself with a shot of whiskey, sawed off broomstick, crayons and corn starch carefully following the instructions that follow:
Disclaimer: While we have remained relatively unscathed, we can assume no responsibility if you injure yourself stealing and coloring eggs or for any other advice given on this website.
Normally I consider myself vigilant.
According to dictionary.com:
vig•i•lant (ˈvɪdʒ ə lənt) adj.
1. keenly watchful to detect trouble; wary.
2. ever awake and alert.
So imagine my surprise when we discovered this over the weekend...
Honey...would you gather the eggs today?
Ah the joys of breeding season. Geese share nests. One is broody and sitting on nothing, the 2nd kicks her out and continues to lay eggs which will be collected and put in the incubator. Honey.....will you gather the eggs for me today???
Meet the Munchers!
Geese grow FAST! Here is a clutch at 1 week old.
Gonna Need a Bigger Box
Flowers blooming, birds chirping, bees buzzing, and CHICKS POPPING OUT ALL OVER THE PLACE...not to mention goslings and ducklings to boot!
Chicks start out small, I mean like really, really tiny. And a lot of em can fit in one small plastic bin brooder box with a heat lamp, a little kibble on the towel, and a bottle of water. It's not complicated. Warm, fed and clean = healthy chicks.
Fast forward 2 weeks. Man they grow FAST. And you look around and think "we're gonna need a bigger box".
Kelley Creek Farms is a small (micro really) hobby farm located in Central Alabama 30 minutes south of Birmingham. We raise heritage and rare waterfowl and poultry along with a myriad of other creatures that give the farm its life. In addition to the birds, we raise heirloom tomatoes and vegetables.
Each day is different and brings a new set of adventures. Some make you laugh and some make you cry. Some are just plain frustrating. But we persevere knowing that tomorrow's set of problems will be completely different than today. Still figuring all this out ....one day at a time and striving for a more sustainable way of life.