• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

For geese people

 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Our goose experience goes back all of 3 months now, so not much.  There are four girls of Embden variety. They were brought in as 5 week old goslings to grow up to be our organic lawn-mowers in the orchard and they're now doing a reasonable job at that  - qualified. 

At first we didn't really have our act together for proper fences around the orchard so they became free-range around the house.  They were/are lovely and friendly and followed me everywhere, chittering and chattering.  But they did poop everywhere (favourite place at patio doors - sigh) and got into lots of trouble with all the things they tried to eat, things that were dangerous to them or annoying like pulling the number plate off the car!  So the fences are in place, the woven willow gates are up and they're now in the orchard. 

The 'qualified' bit comes because they spend large parts of their day sitting sadly at the gates or working out ways of escaping down to us (yesterday was the first day in six where they didn't find a small gap to squeeze through), not eating the grass.  It seems as though they are pining for human company.  Is that possible?  I have now put a bench at the far end of the orchard and we all spend tea breaks and sitting time up there and they always come over and sit with us (not on the bench obviously).  I had read that geese were aggressive.  Will they get that way when they're older?

 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
gosh I don't know. but i sure do understand the frustration. I have had chickens the same way. poop on the porch I have heard that geese form long term bonds to each other. maybe as they mature they will get more attached to each other and less to you!
 
              
Posts: 133
Location: West Iowa
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I honestly don't like domestic geese, I've stepped in enough goose poop, to write a book about it.  At times, seems like goslings can think they are part human, which will continue into annoying adulthood.  I think the best thing to do is not promote their 'human' side so to speak.  I'm guessing you are probably hanging out with this goose crew a little too often, so they are getting too attached. 

I've had geese around me my whole life.  Right now we have like 10 or so, but that will be twiddling down to nothing hopefully in coming year or two.  They have ruined the grass areas, so walking barefoot becomes annoying with the poopy area and stubby weeds growing.    I prefer having ponds and wild canadians nesting, then them leaving after couple months so they don't harm the landscape.
 
                    
Posts: 106
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
they want to be with their humans.  Geese get very attached. (so do turkeys). However, once a goose is setting the gander gets pretty aggressive and will forget all about you. You spoiled them.  My flock of 11 has been reduced to two ganders by the neighbor's dog.
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes our girls are still very attached (we don't have any ganders) and not aggressive to anyone other than our 4 year old lad as he chased them incessantly when they were little - payback time  . I just adore them - they're better company than the chooks who only want to be with you in case you have food.  I read the other day that apparently geese can still recognise their humans even if you take them somewhere other than home.  I'm amazed. 

Yes they do poop everywhere but I'm counting that as fertiliser for the orchard trees as they stay up there now unless we let them out for a treat.

A neighbour's dog did get one of our original three and I was devastated - and 3 of our hens.  The neighbours have reinforced their boundaries now and their dog hasn't been seen here since.

I guess they are spoiled - like all of our pets 
 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
any suggestions on how to keep them from getting 'attached'? someday i would like to try some geese but  I have a major pet peeve about critters following me around and pestering me and especially mucking up the areas near the house.
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My friend also got her geese just a month before me but hers aren't 'attached' as they've been put in their area and pretty much left to it.  They obviously put food down for them and get them in to their hut at night but they 'drive' them in with a stick whereas ours will just follow us in.

I didn't want ours to be aggressive as we have young children around so we have achieved that.  Maybe you have to choose between attached and friendly, or detached and aggressive 
 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
heninfrance wrote:
  Maybe you have to choose between attached and friendly, or detached and aggressive 


hmmm not a fun choice. I don't want mean ones i just don't want them to be needy. they would be an experiment any way. I suppose if I didnt like them I could get rid of them. guineas went that route really quickly.
 
                    
Posts: 106
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
it's not that they are needy, it is how they are trained, imprinted.  One aspect to be considered is, why have geese.  There is not much of a market for christmas geese here, nor feathers and down.  They will keep grassy areas eaten down, their manure is nothing to brag about.  It is nice that they are grazers, do not need so much bought feed and in spring lay quite a few eggs which are marvelous in baking.  I grew up with geese, I like to hear them. They do not follow me around. If they are raised by a "mother goose" they won't do that anyway.  You may have heard of Konrad Lorenz, who did the first animal behavior studies on geese.
My grandmother always kept a flock of geese, they are easy to keep, eat grass and she used the feathers and down for comforters for the kids and grand kids. Christmas time they were butchered, except for breeders. If an aggressive gander came at you you grabbed him by the neck and swung him around. 
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This gal is a new neighbor and friend.  http://www.omniskies.com/gooseweed.shtml

Check out her site.  She seems to know her birds.
 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Elfriede B wrote:
If an aggressive gander came at you you grabbed him by the neck and swung him around. 


was this to wring the neck (meaning if they were aggressive you just got rid of them) or was this a way of making them not so keen on going after people?

we are talking about getting some 'lawn mowers' for the front 4ish acres. my dh wants to keep it mowed down. I personally hate the fact that we waste gallons of fuel and hours of time to cut grass. our compromise is such..... once we get it fenced into some rotational grazing areas, we would like some hair sheep. I don't particularly like the meat and I don't spin so we want just a few sheep, really just as pets and lawnmowers and something beautiful to look at. I thought that a few geese would be a nice addition since they eat grass and are also imo walking works of art.
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The only aggressive birds I've seen have been the males (protecting when it's not needed) and one's expecting food from a human.  So do not feed them by-hand.  And yes you can train the rowdy ones by domination - grabbing up, shaking etc.... However, I've found it not to be a perfect solution where small children are concerned.  Seems they know who they can pull stuff on much like other animals.  So try to have the attacked one do the dominating, but caution kids not to go overboard and harm the birds, just irritate them real good.

Concerning protecting home areas:
You can use a very short fence or barricade around your porch.  You'd be surprised how they won't fly over even when they could, just try it....  Do not confuse this with fencing them in - it just works for blocking them out.  A friend used a 18" wire fence to keep hers out of the strawberries, but she could just step over.

Concerning grass areas:
It is the number of animals you run - very important to have more than enough bugs and grass for the amount of birds.  When they run out of bugs they will consume much more grass and can kill it.  When you first introduce the birds to an area there is plenty of both, but watch them as the second season approaches to see if you need to cut the flock back.

The best ways to stop imprinting:
By them older and/or raised by another goose.
Do no hand feed directly.
Don't talk to them *grin* like you can help it!

They will learn to leave you alone if you leave them alone (hard I know).

 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
excellent practical info. thanks! I figure on just getting one pair (when the time comes eventually) I figure that on what will probably amount to about 3 acres divided into 1 acre portions, we could keep 3 sheep and 2 geese and run my goats through there occasionally to knock down any taller weedier things that try to get established.

do you figure they would be happy sharing a calf hutch with a few sheep? too messy? to disturbing to be moved every month?

would they be as good a slug eaters as ducks are supposed to be? I would love to incorporated them into my garden plan and we have a ton of slugs. 
 
Gwen Lynn
Posts: 736
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I can only relate geese experience as a bystander, but thought I'd share this anyways.

I used to board a horse at a barn that had geese. They also had a pond. I don't know if the pond made a difference, but the geese hung out at the pond most of the time & never really seemed to bother people. They didn't appear bonded with anyone (that I can remember) and if approached, they would pretty much go the other way. I do remember them getting protective if they had eggs in a nest, but that didn't last long because of the dogs. They would often find the eggs & that would be the end of it.

The geese were not fenced & would come in the barns from time to time & pick at whatever grain they found on the ground. They would also go into the indoor riding arena at the most inconvenient times (when you were riding, of course!), but it was usually just to cross from one stabling area to the other. (horse stalls bordered both sides of the arena.)

One of the barn dogs had a habit of stealing goose eggs & would walk around most of the day with her prize egg in her mouth. It was pretty funny, unless the egg broke and it was rotten. Whatta stink bomb that was!
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
do you figure they would be happy sharing a calf hutch with a few sheep? too messy? to disturbing to be moved every month?


I wouldn't think so when they are not raised with the sheep (bonding/imprinting on them) and both ducks and geese poop where they sleep - it goes like this.... they get up, take a few steps, stretch, flap wings, couple more steps and poooooo. 

My area is to mild to know about shelter for geese (no snow), but if they had their own shelter they may use it for nesting and make it easy for you to find their eggs.  They would not want this to 'move' and you will need to always leave one egg behind so they don't get scared and move the nesting site.  If they slept with sheep they would not nest there.

would they be as good a slug eaters as ducks are supposed to be? I would love to incorporated them into my garden plan and we have a ton of slugs.


Yes - the main differences between geese and ducks are geese poooo more LOL and eat more especially grasses/plants, honk louder, etc.  But all laying birds love the juicy bugs as an easy protein source.  And I would think (haven't done an experiment - ducks vrs geese on same land) that geese would be a bit harder on the land, however their size would give them an advantage over ducks discouraging some predators that might go for duck.

And allowing a dog in the area now and then to do his business and put down his smell would help with some predators too.

My responses here are based on hand-raised ducks and geese (not wild) - enclosed paddock area (no pond) - all associated animals, i.e. dog, were raised around each other - so dog doesn't eat the eggs or birds.  Thought I should qualify my answers....

~Jami
 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
so lets talk breeds..... are some better layers than others? are some less noisy or have less aggressive tendencies? any other pos/neg that I dont' know enough to know?

now I'm thinking a little "goose door" in the fences would allow them to range the whole 3 acres, they could have there own house/nesting area that is undisturbed.
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Again this gal seems real nice and very knowladgeable about geese http://www.omniskies.com/goosehave.shtml
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Leah, another source for waterfowl information is Holderread's waterfowl hatchery here in Oregon.  http://www.holderreadfarm.com/ ; They have been raising ducks and geese for many years and have some of the best in the country (world, too!).  Dave Holderread has written some of the books on ducks and geese that you'll see in the book stores. 

Personally, my preference is for Pilgrim geese.  They are one of the medium-sized breeds, they lay quite a few eggs (for a goose), will reliably hatch their own eggs, and you can tell the males and females apart at hatching.  They aren't as noisy as the Chinese geese. 

Kathleen
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sorry about the delay Leah.....

Indian Runners (ducks) are great for so many reasons... I use mine primarily for pest control, but after a few months with our runners my daughter wanted to get ride of the chickens - the ducks are more fun and much much less work (teenager!). 

Here is the info -------------------------------------------------
They are quiet and known for their excellent egg laying production (up to 365 per year, or one per day in one year old ducks from the best utility strains; however production can vary  between strains), and only very rarely go broody. The eggs are white, off-white, blue, or light green in colour and around the size of a large hen's egg (approximately 2.5 oz (70.87 g)).

The breed does not require the same food intake as the larger breeds, and the Indian runner likes nothing better than foraging for tidbits amongst ground cover and foliage, this will include a lot of slugs and worms and insects found in the grass and streams. It will also include greens, such as grass and duck-weed and with this in mind are also bred on farms for their natural pest control abilities.

Although these ducks have small bodies and are not bred as table birds, many regard them as being well-flavoured, rather similar to the taste of wild duck.

I too like Pilgrim geese, but not in the city were we now live.

~Jami
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
Posts: 420
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
brown chinese geese are noisy, but they are small and are much less of a threat. They are very beautiful and elegant creatures.
they are a more multi purpose goose because they produce up to 100 eggs a year.
they can rear twice as many goslings a year as other geese.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic