If you’ve ever had a run in with a wild Canada Goose or a neighbor’s barnyard goose- odds are you didn’t have a positive experience. So when I tell people we are raising geese the first reaction is: WHY GEESE??? Great question. Glad you asked! No, we aren’t crazy. We actually put a lot of thought and research into our decision to try raising geese. I hope you can work through your goose trauma and hear me out. 🙂
Here are the four points that sold us on the idea of raising geese:
They Eat Grass!! Thus, a super low feed bill during the growing season. We get to utilize the grass in our large (steep) backyard that we would otherwise have to mow. Now we are turning our lawn into meat! The geese are basically like mini cows grazing in our backyard. They do, however, still need to be fed grain as babies, when they are laying, and when the grass stops growing.
We only have 1 acre of land so we can’t really do any large animals. Goats and sheep require extensive fencing and we could really only have 1-2 of them. But with geese, we can have 10+ and our fencing is 2ft high netting.
They can tolerate really cold temperatures. They really only need shelter to get out of the wind and when they are nesting in the Spring. Compared to other poultry, geese are good at protecting themselves. They are like watch dogs and will sound the alarm if anything new comes around. They are no match for a coyote or a desperate fox, but raccoons and hawks will think twice before messing with a 20lb gander.
Geese have a longer life span than other poultry. A goose can live for 20-25 years depending on the breed. They pair off and mate for life. Each spring they will sit on their eggs & raise their own babies.
Basically, geese are lawn mowing watch dogs that you can eat. 🙂
Our Goal with Raising Geese
Keeping the above factors in mind, we are HOPING to raise them for meat. And eggs, but mostly meat. We bought goslings last year, raised them, and now we are using them as breeders. We have 6 females and 3 males. We want them to sit on their eggs and hatch out lots of goslings. The goslings will eat our grass all Summer and then we will butcher them around 12 weeks of age.
The Cons of Raising Geese
I couldn’t finish this post without touching on some of the cons of geese. [And validate your traumatic goose experiences.] 🙂
#1- They’re Jerks
Go ahead, [insert your story about how MEAN geese are here]. I’m sorry. 🙁 Yes, geese are jerks, but in our experience its all honk and no bite. They are very smart. [They aren’t like roosters…] If you show our geese you aren’t afraid, they will not bite or flog you. They just honk and hiss- while keeping a safe distance. The hiss sounds like a cat/snake combined. It’s a really effective tool to keep us on edge. The geese are so smart they can tell the difference between a child with an adult and a child without. We’ve been having goose therapy with our oldest to teach him to stand up for himself and not run away. They are going to help bully proof our kids. 😉
Well that wasn’t much of a list, but that’s all I can think of at the moment.
I hope you can see the possible benefits to raising geese. [See, we aren’t completely crazy.] I’ll share more about our experiences raising them later this year after we butcher in the Fall. I can’t wait to see if we can turn our yard into meat for the freezer. Fingers Crossed!