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starting with geese

 
leanna jones
Posts: 38
Location: Pennines, northern England, zone 7b, avg annual rainfall 50"
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hello,

we are about to get chinese geese for eggs, guard 'dogs', grazing and fertilising. we have several over-grown paddocks. is it best to rotate the geese around the different paddocks, or let them free range? presumably they will do a better job of keeping grass down if rotated, otherwise they'll just go for the tastiest if allowed access to the whole place?

also, i read that geese won't eat grass over 8", so do we need to scythe the paddock first?
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1331
Location: northern California
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They will definitely do better with short pasture, unless it is dried out. If you have a dry season you could just let them onto it and they will pick through it and eat seeds and trample the rest down, and the new stuff will come up through when it rains. Rotation is always good, as is a movable night pen, since they will graze close to this and gradually work further out. If you put mulch in where you shut them in at night it will become wonderful compost.
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Leanna

I have three Chinese geese free ranging on about a half acre of grass. As a 'watch and wait' experiment I weed wacked half of the lawn and left the other half be. The grasses that the geese seem to prefer are the ones that are short and grazed regularly along the driveway and road. They also love to eat the tall grass seed along the road - but they seem to have pretty decent common survival sense and I haven't lost any to automobile yet. They also know where home is. They come when called. They can be a bit annoying at times because they are so social. They also get very loud.

Anyway I was going somewhere with that sort/long grass experiment. Ah right. So the grass I kept long, they didn't eat it all summer but now that the heat has cooked off the tall stems and the almost fall rains have started they are loving the new growth which is coming up under the long dry stems. So basically I feel like I was holding that grass in reserve for them. I'm excited by this since I've thinned my nettles this past week and found plenty of green grass just waiting for some more light underneath them. I am hoping to encourage grazing rotation through natural crop rotation!

I have had my geese about 5 months. I don' feed them. They steal food from the chickens (whom I have to feed) on occasion - but they are great looking birds - super large and super healthy looking to my eye. I hope that helps. I'm no expert on geese by I'd be happy to share more observations and personal experiences if you have more questions
 
leanna jones
Posts: 38
Location: Pennines, northern England, zone 7b, avg annual rainfall 50"
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thanks

we definitely don't have a dry season here!

yes i was thinking that left to free-range the geese would just hangout on our driveway and paths as that's where the short grass is. whereas we want them to be grazing the paddocks. so seems it would be best to rotate them and we'll need to at least have a go with the scythe before they go in each paddock. 8"s is quite tall grass really so it can be a bit overgrown?

how tall a fence does it take to keep them in?

you don't feed them? so they exist just on grass and forage?
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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if your geese are anything like mine I'd be more concerned with the geese trying to get through the fence than over it. I purchased some electro-netting and they try to squeeze though it. oh and tall enough to keep anything out that you want kept out. I would doubt a goose would be able to go over a 2 foot fence from what I've seen of mine.

My geese are a little on the fat side. They've been eating nothing but forage pretty much since day one (which I'm guessing was day 4 or 5 in their life) They will steal the chickens food if I'm putting out grain. Pretty sure that's why they're fat. Other than grass and grass seed their favorite seems to be 'horse tail' ferns their a tender upright that looks totally prehistoric. I don't know the latin name.

My strategy, especially if you're getting grown(ish) birds and not chicks would be to through um into one of the paddocks for a day or two and see if they go at it. You can cut the other ones while you watch.

It's very wet here too. Except when its dry. Then it can be very dry. This year was dry - but it looks to be shaping up to be a wet fall
 
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