Geese seem to have the run of Wickedfood Earth. They are completely free-range and as they are greasers, assist us maintaining the grass in the orchard.
Why raise geese?
People raise geese for a variety of reasons. Geese are great at pest control, with an excellent eye for snails, slugs and other garden bugs. They are good at weeding, and make excellent self-sustaining foragers in a large backyard or a pasture to raise them in. In addition they are good to eat, supply eggs and can be plucked for down.
Choosing a goose breed
There are many different types of geese breeds of all sizes and colors. Big and small; grey and white. The Toulouse and the Emden goose breeds are excellent choices for beginners:
- Embden: Big, pure white geese, the most common breed raised commercially. The Embden has blue eyes, orange feet and shanks and an upright stance. They are fast growing birds and will quickly reach about 9 kg for the Goose, and 14 kg for the Gander. The Embden’s legs are fairly short. The head is oval-shaped and they have a long and graceful neck. The body is bulky and well rounded, having a long back and a short tail. The wings are very strong. The feathers are close and very hard. The breed’s habits are to forage for tidbits in the grass and water, a very hardy breed. The adult bird will commence laying eggs fairly early in the year, laying 30 to 40 eggs. They are a very aggressive breed, but make good pets because of their ‘watchdog’ instinct, and the fact that they bond well with at least a single human but can be over protective of their wives & young. Can also be short fused with small dogs. Kept as pair or flock.
- Toulouse: A primarily gray goose of French origin that varies from large to massive. The Toulouse Goose was bred in southern France (near the city of Toulouse) originally for pate de Fois Gras and also considered a superior meat bird in Europe. Due to their size in comparison to their leg length they prefer real ponds or shallow edged trays. As a pure breed it often resembles a large tub of lard with feet. are especially hardy, grow quickly with a minimum of care and are very calm. The bird generally has a placid disposition, with the consequence that it doesn’t thrive in flocks of mixed breeds. More aggressive geese will greatly distress the Toulouse, putting it off mating. They do not need water or a pond. However, being water fowl, they love bathing and playing in water and will also mate in water. They are not great wanderers, preferring to stay close to home, making them ideal for a large garden or orchard, where they will thrive. A good goose will lay up to 160 eggs a year. However, these birds are not good sitters.