The above photo isn't of our new
geese but rather some of the ones
we've raised in the past.
Over the years we've found geese to be easy keepers and have had a few different breeds of them. The last ones we had were Shetlands, and we were very happy with them . . . for a few years. We kept a male and female and raised their offspring for our freezer. Out of the last batch of eggs this mama goose hatched out, we got only one gosling, a male. The remainder of the eggs she was sitting on didn't hatch for one reason or another.
Then the gander of the pair suddenly turned very nasty. We don't know why this happened as this pair of Shetlands (and all of the offspring they raised) had always been quite tame and inquisitive whenever we entered the poultry yard. Father Goose's bad temper "did him in", so to speak, when one day he took a chunk out of the back of Papa Pea's calf leaving a scar that's till visible today.
Occasionally we have small children visiting and, of course, they are always interested in the livestock. We didn't want to ever take the chance of Father Goose attacking a child or anyone else for that matter.
We considered putting Father Goose into the freezer and keeping the female goose and her son, but didn't care for the kind of inbreeding that would bring about. So, all three geese went to Freezer Camp.
That was two years ago and we've found we really, really missed seeing the geese grazing out in the pasture and watching their antics on the pond.
Our good neighbor whose property adjoins ours grew up on a farm where his family raised ducks and geese. They processed the meat in their homemade smoker and D says he remembers the smoked meat, especially the duck meat, as being some of the best he's ever tasted. If we wanted to obtain some breeding geese and ducks, he'd be glad to share the expense with us plus do the smoking of any meat we wanted.
That gave us the nudge needed to get back into water fowl.
So the two main reasons we wanted to have geese and ducks again are 1) for their meat, and 2) for the enjoyment and liveliness they add to the homestead.
We have a very large fenced in poultry pasture (the pond is within the fencing also) that will easily accommodate our current flock of chickens, our new ducks and geese and any offspring they may hatch out and raise over the summers. We certainly won't be against using any "extra" duck or goose eggs for cooking and baking if they become available.
Like our chickens, the water fowl need protection because of the number of predators living in our area. Year 'round they are all locked up at night, but happily roam about the pasture and on the pond during the day in the spring, summer and fall knowing they can hurry-scurry back into their enclosure or thick cover of shrubs and trees should the need arise. The water fowl will generally swim to the center of the pond when they feel threatened.
For this winter (although we have plans for better housing to be built in the spring), the chickens live in their chicken house and attached 8 x 8' "solarium." The four Pilgrim geese are in an 8 x 8' secure pen, the four Muscovy ducks in a 4 x 8' secure pen and the four Cayuga ducks in another. They all have covered shelter and access to sun on sunny days. If we ever see the sun again.