5 Things You Should Know About Raising Geese10:08 AM
They were so adorable when we first brought them home from the feed store. Their little bills were almost bigger than their whole bodies, and we couldn't get over how fuzzy they were!
And then they grew.
Our geese were introduced into our family by keeping them warm in the house until they could be put outside in the yard with our flock of 40+ chickens. We weren't really sure what to expect.
2 years later, we have gotten used to having these crazy birds around. Although they weren't anything like what I thought they would be.
1. Geese are noisy. Oh my goodness. They never stop squawking. They honk and honk and honk for no reason. They honk and honk and honk for a good reason. If the wind changes or a car goes by or someone happens to come to our house (like the Fedex man) they get so loud you can't hear yourself think. This is great for people who don't have doorbells. It's horrible if you're trying to film a YouTube video for your blog outside.
2. Geese are busy. Like most farm birds, if you happen to have a male and a female, be ready for a lesson in the "birds and the bees." Geese start trying to breed very early, and your little chicks will turn into awkward teenagers in no time at all. Be prepared to watch the clumsy breeding process several times a day in every part of the yard your family may be hanging out in.
3. Geese are messy. There's the poop, but we didn't fool ourselves about that. I'm talking about the fact that they love sloppy, goopy mud puddles and will do anything to roll around in moisture. You can give them a baby pool full of clean water, but they'll usually opt for the run-off from the cow pen. Our white goose has a black mask around her bill where she is always dipping it in goop!
4. Geese are helpful. Despite their noisy, cranky demeaner, they do a lot to keep weeds and bugs at bay. Because they troll the bottoms of puddles for bugs, they are keeping the mosquito population under control. They also love eating all kinds of weedy plants that you don't care to keep around. (On the other hand, they love eating new grass, so if you're trying to grow anything, keep them away!) Their guard-dog demeaner will tell you if something isn't right on the farm. And while the males are fiercely protective (hence the word "goose"), they will avoid an altercation if possible and don't usually bug the kids unless they feel truly threatened.
5. Goose eggs are so good. These giant beauties are as big as 2-3 chicken eggs, with a rich inside that will feed a small family. We've had them scrambled, fried, and in baked goods. (Check out our meatless goose egg bacon and cheese wraps.) They can fluff up a cake like nothing else. The shells can be hollowed out for amazing crafts or decorations. (But be aware, they only lay for a couple months in the early spring, so enjoy them while you can!) If you allow them to hatch, the geese are very good at raising their own babies. No need for a indoor chick area!
If you've considered keeping geese, you'll want to understand that it's no small commitment. But if you have the space or already have free-range chickens or ducks, they can make a nice addition to the family farm!