Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Geese Have Landed

Sunday was an interesting day for us on the farm. It was a rare morning off for me, so after a leisurely breakfast and several cups of coffee, Barry and I set out for Ellenwood to meet Ray and Ann Hill and their geese. They have African Grey geese and a few White Embdens which they raise to keep as pets. We bought five geese from them (we had originally planned to get a pair), 2 Africans and 3 Embdens. We were totally charmed by the birds and since we have been wanting geese for a while it seemed a great opportunity. The price of goslings from a hatchery with shipping included quite expensive, plus you have to have a minimum order size, and go to the post office to get them, and then you have to raise them up. We paid a little bit extra to Ray and Ann for year-old birds and one of the Embden females is already laying eggs. That’s what I call ‘buying local’!

Since this puts us a year ahead of our plan, we are going to put all the eggs from our geese into the incubator to see if we can increase our flock. We’ll keep these first five geese as our starting flock, and may have extra by the end of the year.

The first goose egg was laid only the second night they arrived at the farm. About 1:00 am I heard a lot of honking out in the barn, so I took my trusty flashlight out to see what was happening. Everyone was fine, but when I went into the goose pen I noticed a big white thing on the ground next to their water bowl. I picked it up, and it was an egg of immense size! It was so big it fit in my hand and covered it from palm to fingertip. I’d say it is more than triple the size of a chicken egg. Geese don’t lay as often as chickens, but I hope we can get 10-12 goslings to hatch.

We tallied up where we stand poultry-wise on the farm: 117 chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese, including the new wee babies just hatched from the laying hens. That’s a lotta birds! At least 50 of the broiler hens and ducks will be going away in a month or so, but then I’ll be getting more laying hens next summer to keep up the egg production. Our eggs are amazingly delicious and in high demand by the discerning palates. ;0)

That’s about it for now. I’ll try to post more pictures of the geese, especially as they follow Barry around the field on his chores. See you on the farm!