Thursday, November 19, 2015

We Bought a Farm: Catching up with our birds!

We have two breeds of geese: Pilgrim and Large Dewlap Toulouse. Pilgrim Ganders (male) are all white. They are a bit smaller than the Toulouse Geese in the back. Geese can leave many years and usually mate for life. We will allow them to raise their babies. (They don't lay many eggs) and will then process their young for food around 8 weeks. We plan to process one of our males for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

This is a Pilgrim Goose (female). The female (goose) is gray, and the male (gander) is all white. Believe it or not, we cannot put these geese and ducks (easily) on any of our ponds. These animals are very hard on bodies of water and if you put too many of them on the water, they will deplete your fish production and they can even completely ruin the pond. For now, we simply have them around our house, moving them regularly to fresh grass. The geese love to eat grass. We may, eventually, allow one pair on the pond.

One of our Large Dewlap Toulouse Ganders showing off. These are amazingly beautiful birds.

Another shot of another Large Dewlap Toulouse Gander. You can't really see from this picture, but they have a HUGE amount of fat on their chest. This actually makes breeding difficult for them unless they are in water.

Guineas on the prowl. These are Pearl Guineas, the most common variety. They are bug eaters on our farm. They are wild and have free roam of the property -- even the ability to leave us if they wanted. We put a small amount of food out for them each night to help them continue to return to us. Isaac thinks they look like skeletons. In addition, they are an extremely unintelligent animal. (Maybe it is their head size.) They really make us laugh with their antics. For example, if they are separated from their friends by a fence, they will throw themselves into a fence dozens of times before we chase them over to an open gate just a few feet away. 

A fine looking Rouen Drake (male). Rouen Ducks were developed from the wild Mallard which is why they have a similar color pattern, but the Rouens are much larger. They were developed for both meat and egg production. We have decreased our males so now we have 5 males and 10 females. We will eat their eggs but also allow them to raise their own young and then process the young around 12 weeks for meat. These ducks are fed a small amount of feed every  morning but really enjoy being rotated onto fresh grass and digging in mud for bugs and worms of all kinds!


Debbie said...

I was curious about one thing with the geese---since they are so hard on a pond they are kept on grass at your farm. How come the geese don't just fly over the fence to get to the pond (assuming geese would want to swim on the water)?

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Great question! Our geese really can't fly. They can fly for just a second or two with a gust of wind at just the right amount! These geese are bread to be meat birds and therefore are too heavy to fly. (They would not be able to live in the wild on their own generally speaking.)

Debbie said...

Ahhh, I didn't know there were some geese that were like that! Too cool. Thank you for satisfying my curiosity. :)