Geese: A Mixed Blessing?
This summer I’ve been hard-pressed to keep up with the mowing; I got the bright idea that maybe I should get some geese to help with that. A friend of mine raises Sebastopol and Cotton Patch geese, so I asked her if she had any to sell. As it turned out, she had a male and two females that have a twisted wing condition due to feeding issues when they were growing, and she was willing to give them to me. They don’t look so great, but I figured they’d do the job, so why not? Besides, the wing condition isn’t hereditary, so I can breed them and maybe sell some of the offspring.
Of course, as it turns out, they don’t really do much good with their grazing — they mostly eat the good grass and not the weeds, and what a mess they make! I figured if I bred more of them, maybe they’d really make a difference with their grazing, but then they’d make an even bigger mess. For some reason, their favorite place to hang out is on the ramp to the back porch, just outside the gate. So every time I came out of the house, I had to clean a mess of poop off the ramp. Besides being mess, it could be dangerous if I didn’t see it, because it’s slippery.
I started leaving a pile of straw outside the gate, so that when I came out I could just push that away and kind of mop up the mess with it. But coming in and dealing with the mess was a little more difficult.
Finally, I got the bright idea of putting down one of those plastic carpet runners with the prickly side up. That would surely hurt their feet, I thought. So I went to work stapling the runner to the ramp and was very pleased with myself when I finished. I went back in the house for a while, and when I came out, what do you think I found? Three very contented-looking geese lounging on the prickly plastic. And more mess, of course!
So I’ve thought about finding another home for the geese, but the thing is … they do sort of grow on you. My neighbor said they’d basically be pets. No they won’t, I thought — they’re just here to do a job. I can’t afford any more pets. Guess what? They’ve more or less become pets. They’re such friendly creatures — they don’t avoid eye contact like chickens (even the clingy ones). They’ll gaze up at me with smiling faces whenever they think I might have some treat for them. And they’re hilarious to watch sometimes, especially when they come running up from the stream flapping their wings furiously. They make me laugh, which is a good thing, since too often the frustrations of being a single homesteader have me on the verge of tears or a nervous breakdown!
Here they are taking a bath in the stream:
Looks like they’re here to stay, huh?
A Sad Ending for the Geese
My trio of geese had just settled into a nice routine of spending nights and laying eggs in their makeshift shelter and roaming freely during the day. Then the geese disappeared one by one, leaving only the gander.
Hitting My Stride with the Geese
After weeks of struggling to keep my geese comfortable in confinement, I’ve given up, and the geese have obliged me by staying close to home. It seems like we’ve made a deal!
The Challenges of Geese in Confinement
Now that the breeding season has begun for my trio of geese, I realized I’d have to keep them confined so they wouldn’t go build a nest somewhere unsafe. But the confinement has its hardships for both me and the geese.