It is pretty well established that I am a crazy goose lady. After all, I wrote a book on geese. But this spring has driven the goose-obsession home! There is a total of eight goslings waddling around our farm, and if we keep all of them and our current flock our goose total will be twenty-one. And somehow I still find myself browsing Craigslist for more...
Our first batch of five goslings was hatched here under a broody goose. Tulip, our female Sebastopol, went broody back in April and dutifully sat on about a dozen eggs for the allotted 29 or so days. As soon as goslings started hatching, the rest of the flock jumped in to help parent them.
Unfortunately because Tulip set on a mix of eggs from our flock, which itself is a mixed flocked, I am not sure of the breeds of her offspring but they are all certainly mixes. A barnyard mix goose, however, can be a great combination of the traits of your different breeds and often has striking and unique coloring. While I hope at least one has Tulip's curly-queue feathers, I'm not holding my breath since Sebastopols often struggle with fertility.
The hatched goslings we are allowing our geese to raise. At least five of our flock consider themselves the "parents" and keep a close watch on them. Letting the geese raise them means that they are skittish and shy around people, and it is difficult to get near them without upsetting the rest of the geese. Our geese are imprinted on us, so they won't fully attack if we approach the goslings but they will hiss and complain a lot and are obviously unhappy. However, because our geese are imprinted, these goslings should still grow up without becoming too aggressive towards people.
Meanwhile we also had three goslings on order with Metzer Farms! We got two Buff Toulouse geese, which should grow up to have similar large frames to our Dewlap Toulouse but in a lovely buff color, and one Roman Tufted female because Roman Tufted geese are my favorite. The Buff Toulouse are unusual and we do not have any, so this will be a welcome addition to the flock. The Romans I've always been fond of because they imprint easily and they're a smaller size which is very manageable.
These goslings from the hatchery are fully hand raised and very imprinted on us. They spend the day in the garden with me, just a few inches a way, and are sure to grow up to be sweet and friendly geese.
If you are interested in meeting goslings I will be bringing this trio to a book signing at the Owl & Turtle Bookshop in Camden, Maine, this Saturday May 26 from 10am to 1pm. Hope to see you there!
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