We have three new bundles of fluff peeping away at the farm this week. The goslings arrived from Metzer Farms happy and healthy, and so incredibly cute.
The geese we currently have are an African and a Sebastopol, and both are very intrigued by the pint-sized bird additions. We got three new varieties this year, starting with a Pilgrim goose. Pilgrims are one of the only varieties of geese that are autosexing. This means that you can tell the different sex of the goslings from their appearance. Females are dark gray with a dark bill, while male goslings are white with a pinkish bill. Ours is a male Pilgrim goose, a variety well known for its calm, docile personality.
We also got a Roman Tufted goose, a striking variety originally from Italy. Once worshiped by the Romans, there is a legend about how these geese saved the day by alerting the centurions to an attack by the Gauls in 365 BC, honking loud enough to waken the city. A smaller goose breed, they are distinct because of the tuft of upright feathers on their head. Blue eyed with white feathers as adults, I’m sure that our little fellow will be the loudest of our new goslings.
Lastly, we have a Dewlap Toulose gosling – described by the Livestock Conservancy simply as “a huge bird”. The Conservancy goes on to say “every feature of this placid giant is massive”. Originally raised for meat, they make a wonderfully quiet, peaceable companion bird, but are extremely rare and difficult to acquire in the US. Slow to mature, Dewlap geese won’t lay eggs until about three years of age and, adding to their rarity, have very low rates of fertility. If you can find one, however, you have the prime candidate for a perfect backyard goose.
Raising our first two goslings was some of the most fun I’ve had on the farm. Full to the brim with personality, a baby gosling can’t help but bring a smile to your face and I am excited to be raising a trio of them this year.
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