Monday, December 21, 2015

A Tale of Four Geese and Eight Ducks

Way last winter we ordered some Pilgrim geese goslings from a breeder in southern Minnesota.  The goslings were to be shipped as day old hatchlings to us in April.  The month of April came and went but we never received notification of the goslings being shipping nor did they show up.

A call to the water fowl breeder produced apologies from him along with the explanation of difficulties he'd been having with the Pilgrim geese not hatching out eggs.  He assured us he would get our goslings on their way to us as soon as he possibly could.

Spring turned into summer, more calls to southern Minnesota were made and we learned of more problems that had befallen the breeder.

I was losing faith and suggested we ask for our money back, but my dear husband said he still had a good feeling about this guy and felt he would stay true to his word and deliver when he could.

Lots more back and forthing ensued until about a month ago when the breeder asked if we would accept full-grown geese rather than goslings.  He even offered to drive more than halfway to meet us and deliver the geese.  Plus, because he was grateful that we had been so patient, he would bring some ducks along, too, since we had expressed an interest in getting some Muscovy and Cayuga ducks.

So a week ago last Saturday, Papa Pea loaded three cages in the back of the Suburban (after first lining the floor with a big tarp) and drove to meet the breeder and receive our geese and ducks.

Their meeting was a very pleasant one and they took time to visit for a while.  Papa Pea's intuition that this was a good man was reinforced.

We now have two adult pairs of Pilgrim geese, one young pair and one a few years old, plus two pairs of Muscovy and two pairs of Cayuga ducks.  All the birds seem to be very healthy and hardy.  And what eager eaters!  They see us coming with the green chop we made this past summer and a little whole grain and they start jumping up and down and clapping.  (Well, almost.)

After keeping them penned up for a week to get used to us and their new home, we let them out today in a small enclosed space so they could explore a bit more of their area.

First we had to do some judicious wing clipping of the Muscovy ducks as they are definitely "flyers" and we didn't want to chance them taking off into the woods or other parts unknown.  Although we've never clipped wings before, it was an easy job and neither ducks nor humans suffered.

We haven't come up with names for our new livestock yet; it's easy to tell the pairs of geese apart, but until we have time to scrutinize the ducks more . . . well, they all look pretty much the same to me.

No pictures yet either but I hope to be able to get some soon to post.  I can hardly wait for spring time to see them all splashing and swimming in the pond. 

17 comments:

Dawn McHugh said...

How lovely are you planning to rear some for the table, we kept a trio of ducks and hatched some of there eggs for the table, I am ken to try geese next year but still undecided :-)

Sue said...

Can't wait to see pics. And good for Papa Pea seeing the good in that breeder. Glad all worked out well.

Cindy said...

Congrats!!! We have pilgrims and really like them. Had a horrible time trying to hatch out this year too, many breeders did. Actually do you know anyone interested in a gander? I've got one too many. He's from a breeder in CA and very nicely put together. Love to find him a good home instead of keeping him penned up with the goat :)

FoxyLady said...

My neighbor has geese, for over a year now. However, I do not know what kind they are. Pretty neat anyway. I even ate my first goose egg recently as he was short one egg when I stopped for my usual dozen or two and he gave me one of them. Never had realized they were so big! :)

Rain said...

Cute profile pic :) Just curious as a wanna-be and hopefully soon-to-be hobby farmer and homesteader, why did you choose geese? Is it for egg production, or to have as pets around the homestead? Do they roam around or will you pen them up like you would for chickens?

Susan said...

Cayuga ducks are my absolute favorite! I have heard nothing but good things about Pilgrim geese - did you set up separate housing for your new fluffy residents? Can't wait to see pics!

Mama Pea said...

Dawn - Yes, we will rear the goslings for the table. We won't be adverse to eating the eggs if we have some available other than good hatching time. Ducks eggs are supposedly excellent for baking!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - As you may know, my better half has MUCH more patience than I!!

Mama Pea said...

Cindy - Good to hear you're a fan of the Pilgrims! Wish I could recommend a good home for your "extra" gander, but don't know of anyone that would be interested. Besides, if you get rid of him, his friend the goat might be lonesome! ;o)

Mama Pea said...

FoxyLady - Yep, goose eggs can be HUGE. When our daughter kept geese, she would regularly send a couple out to California (!) for her cousin's daughter, and the little gal grew up on them as her very favorite breakfast!

Mama Pea said...

Rain - If you can wait a day or two for the answer to your questions, you've given me fodder for a blog post! Thanks!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Good to know you can recommend the Cayuga ducks! We've never had them before.

The four geese are in an 8 x 8' pen, the four Cayugas in an 8 x 4' pen and the four Muscovy ducks are in another 8 x 4' pen. Separate quarters for this winter anyway. All the pens have wire on the four sides and top which was then covered with greenhouse plastic so on sunny days (IF we ever get a sunny day again) the pens heat up nicely for them. Not the classiest housing but it will do nicely until spring when we can build a Duck House and a Goose House when they will all have the run of the poultry yard and yet be able to be locked up safely at night.

Rain said...

Happily waiting :)

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

Congrats on getting Pilgrims and Cayuga's.
Does your male Pilgrim have blue eyes?
I've always adored geese, they make for a great alarm system :-)

Would love to see pictures of your new babies.

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Yes, the two ganders do have dark blue eyes! Kinda strange for birds, huh?

Mark said...

Hi Mama Pea! Looking forward to pics and hearing how they all get along through the winter. We had muscovy's when I was growing up, but we also had a big barn with hay bales to snuggle in and cattle to produce warmth. I've wondered about more critters, but probably need more 'infrastructure' first.

Mama Pea said...

Mark - Oh, to have a big barn in which to house all your livestock. The dream of every homesteader! :o}