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Keeping geese

Agriculture.com Staff 03/24/2011 @ 9:54am

So you want to keep a few geese, but don't know where to start? Let's start with some little known facts: (1). geese are easy to raise; (2) they grow rapidly; (3) geese do not require much expensive feed; (4) they are highly disease resistant. How is that for a few good points for starters? Geese can create one problem if allowed to do so by their owners: they can be dirty if confined to a very small area.

What breed of goose?

What size of goose do you want? Five breeds are available. The following table gives some indication of the size and color as well as the names of the five breeds.

If you wish to raise the birds as a hobby, the choice of breed is really one of your fancy. If you are raising them for a market, you are raising for someone else's fancy.

Generally, people who buy geese for the consumers' market want birds that are large, young and generally white feathered. Probably the most popular breeds for marketing are Toulouse and Embden.

Where are they?

Very little research has been done with geese, especially in selective breeding. Most of the geese in the United States are raised in the west North Central States. According to the past U. S. census reports, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota have been leaders (with much fluctuation) in goose production with Washington, California, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania also raising and selling some geese.

If you want to buy a few goslings, your county Extension office may know of someone in your area who keeps geese. These growers may have goslings to sell or may know where you can obtain them. If you cannot locate them in this manner, a note to the Poultry Extension Office, Anthony Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, may help you in locating some goslings.

Goslings: care and feeding

You have obtained some real live goslings, a day or two days old— aren't they cute! Now the care starts. Questions, questions, questions! What do they eat? How much heat? How often do I—? What kind of housing? Etcetera. Etcetera!

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