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Domestic geese completely on pasture from the start?

 
Andrew Ray
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Location: Slovakia
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Acres USA came today. One of the articles was titled something like "100% grass fed geese" but then started describing the young goslings, who were grown to adulthood on waterfowl ration with grass clippings, and then being in the field with pastured poultry and "only" eating a little bit of the grain. So I was disappointed in the article.

Can one buy very young goslings and just feed them pasture from the beginning? Not necessarily letting them out to pasture right away-- maybe bringing it cut to them?
 
Landon Sunrich
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Andrew Ray wrote:
Can one buy very young goslings and just feed them pasture from the beginning?


Yes, This is exactly what I did. Geese from day one onto grass - after they put on true feathers I let them free range. I only feed supplemental between Nov 21st and March 1st ish. I'd allow about a quarter acre lawn per full grown goose.

Edited to cut quote down to the bit my answer is relevant to
 
Landon Sunrich
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Landon Sunrich wrote:

I'd allow about a quarter acre lawn per full grown goose.


This = 0.10 Hectares per goose per growing season
 
Alder Burns
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The small birds might have trouble with cut grass. Geese are used to picking off what length they can swallow from the growing plant, where the roots provide resistance and the grass usually tears off at the point their beak grabs it. I would try them on a small patch starting out close mown. You may have better luck once you get a second generation on your site....geese are excellent parents, care for the babies as a flock, and will show them the ropes on how, where, and what to graze. When raised completely on grass, the adult birds will be smaller than might be considered "normal" for the breed, but perfectly adequate otherwise in every way......
 
Landon Sunrich
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Alder Burns wrote:The small birds might have trouble with cut grass.


I agree. I have never given my birds clippings. I have fed them seed heads from tall grasses I've collected on walks. Just put them on the turf. They know what to do. They'll go for the stuff they like and leave the stuff the don't.
 
Andrew Ray
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I'll be fencing this summer. Part, close to the house and containing cherry and other fruit trees but also some over growth is around 4 acres. But given the areas where the grass is overgrown, I'd only count 1 acre as really good lawn. So 4 geese I'll give a try.

What do you supplement the geese with in the winter?
 
Landon Sunrich
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I used cracked corn. Between all my birds (3 geese plus some chickens and a duck) I went through about 75 pounds of it. The song birds probably got nearly half of that - but I didn't mind.
 
Amy Woodhouse
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Location: NC, Zone 7
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Andrew, as London noted there are geese that can survive from start to finish on grass. We started with Embden Geese last year and they required grain supplementation which is not what we were going for. Needless to say, they are in the freezer hibernating. It very we'll could have been their specific genetics. Also be aware that certain breeds of geese only eat grass and don't have a taste for, say, newly planted trees. Our Embden geese ate some of our small trees down to the ground! I have read that African weeder geese are one of the breeds that only eat grass but have no first hand experience with them.
 
Andrew Ray
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I wonder if it has to do with how they were fed as goslings. I read that for cows the rumen in the calf develops differently if fed exclusively grass vs. grains, so that a calf fed some grain in the diet would never be able to produce much milk/grow well on just grass as an adult.

We had some African geese a few years ago that we bought as adults (I don't remember exactly how old, perhaps less than a year, but already quite big). They survived on pasture, though also getting to what chickens were fed who were often with them. Several of them died though-- one day they looked fine, the next day dead, and weighing next to nothing, somehow wasting away, but the big mean male thrived until slaughter. Where we bought them from there was no indication that they had had access to pasture, so in retrospect I wonder if some of them just couldn't adapt to a diet that wasn't mostly grains.

The main goose I see on the market here is Landes goose.

Anyway, this time, I'm going to be quite a bit more selective in what breed I purchase and from whom.
 
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