27 MollyGreen.com | Spring on the Homestead | Spring 2017
room temperature. You can keep a brooder warm using a heating
lamp or a regular high-wattage light bulb.
Goslings need free access to food and water at all times. They will
eat non-medicated chick starter, and you can supplement the
starter with Brewer’s Yeast to ensure they get enough Niacin, an
important vitamin for waterbirds. It is best to saturate goslings’
feed in water so they can eat it easily.
Clean water is vital for waterbirds. They do not need swimming
water; in fact they shouldn’t be allowed to swim until they are at
least two weeks old. They do need drinking water that is kept clean
and refreshed and is deep enough for them to fully submerge their
beaks. Geese always need to be able to submerge their beaks after
eating in order to clean their airways.
Goose behavior varies between different breeds. Chinese and
African geese are the noisiest varieties and can make some of the
best guardians. They can be gentle if hand raised, but they are more
likely to show aggressive behavior.
Some of the most popular backyard goose breeds include Buffs,
Embden, Pilgrims, and Toulouse. These breeds are heavier weight,
which means they can easily be raised for meat. They are fairly
placid in their behavior as long as they are raised from goslings, and
they lay a good number of eggs per year.
Two unusual breeds of geese that make excellent family pets and
farmyard attractions are the Dewlap Toulouse and Sebastopol.
Dewlap Toulouse are extremely large geese, and they can grow up
to thirty pounds. With loose feathers and placid attitudes, Dewlap
Toulouse are rarely aggressive. Sebastopols are also friendly or even
shy, and their mess of unkempt white feathers makes them some of
the most striking birds you can keep on the farm.
Whether for practical purposes or amusement, geese make great
additions to your farm. They are easy to keep, and an imprinted
goose will reward you with enthusiastic, friendly behavior.
Kirsten Lie-Nielsen is a writer and farmer living in
Liberty, Maine, where she is restoring a 200-year-old
farm. She uses geese for weeding, chickens for eggs, and
goats for milk, and also keeps a large vegetable garden.
When not farming , Kirsten maintains a blog about
her experiences and what she has learned; visit hostilevalleyliving.com.
She writes for several publications on the topics of keeping geese and