Thursday, June 17, 2010

How Time Flies and Goslings Grow

Remember these guys?

The above pic was taken on May 9th when the goslings hatched.

And this one was taken last Sunday, on their five-week birthday! They are close to completely feathered out now and at first glance, it's difficult to tell the babies from the full-sized parents.

In this breed of geese (Shetland), the males are pure white and the females are white with shades of gray/black. Papa Goose is standing on the right, Mama is to the left hunkered down in the foreground. The seven goslings, of which we have three females and four males, are lounging behind.

This pair of geese has been excellent parents. Even though the goslings are getting a little independent, there is always either Mama or Papa Goose tending the bulk of them, and you can tell they have an eagle eye on whichever teenager has wandered off a short distance to explore on his/her own. Papa is still uber protective and seems to "take care" of the goslings as much as Mama does. They all consume very, very little grain, but stuff themselves on lush, green grass constantly. They are truly "grass-fed!"

I know it can be done successfully, but I'd hate to raise ducks or geese without providing them access to at least a small body of water. This family group spends much time each day lazily paddling or playing in our small pond, and it's such a kick to watch them. Yesterday was apparently bath day because all of them were diving under the water, popping up a few feet away, and wildly flapping their wings to see who could throw the water highest up in the air. You couldn't help but anthropomorphize that they were having a whole heckuva lot of fun.

We still have Mama Mallard Duck and her ten hatchlings living on the pond. Getting a picture of that group is like trying to catch quicksilver in your bare hands. But I'll keep trying.


Erin said...

Love hearing about them! Do you raise them for meat, or just for their antics LOL?

beth said...

So glad to see you're back in blogland! Fun pictures!! Wow they grew up fast!

Stephanie said...

What gorgeous geese! What are your plans for them? Keep, sell, butcher?

Mama Pea said...

Hey, Erin, Beth, and Stephanie - Since we try to raise as much of our meat as we can, before the goslings hatched, we had decided that any we got would go in the freezer. I must admit we ended up with a bit of a bonanza with SEVEN of them so we'll probably be sharing. Needless to say, there WILL be a Christmas Goose on the table this year!