Friday, February 26, 2016

Getting to Know Your Birds: Geese

Geese are wonderful and majestic animals. Their long, elegant necks are topped with proud, strong heads. They are the ultimate symbol of pride and refinement. They are a joy to have, and their large eggs produce a sizable and tasty 1-egg omelet. If you have the heart to slaughter your beloved pets, they provide a beautiful centerpiece and tasty main dish for any large meal gathering, especially for Christmas dinner.    

If you are expecting a clean, quiet, and hands-off bird, these are definitely not the birds for you. While most are beautifully pristine on the outside, on the inside they are wild animals, more so than chickens and ducks. Save for the calmer, friendlier Chinese Geese, geese have nasty tempers, hissing, snarling, chasing and biting even the kindest of their owners. The only thing nastier than their personalities is their massive piles of feces. One bowel movement will produce a pile of turds larger than those of medium-sized dogs. Sometimes their feces will be liquid, somehow grosser than the aforementioned turd mountains.

Image result for goose chasing kid

The Chinese Goose (pictured below), a medium-sized breed that comes in white or brown, is a personal favorite of mine. They are far more friendly than their contemporaries, even feeding from human hands when they have become accustomed to the presence of humans. They will nip at the cuffs of your pants, begging for food like a small dog. The Chinese Goose shares many characteristics with the Mute Swan, although being far less hot tempered. They are even referred to a "Swan Geese" and "Poor Man's Swans". Chinese geese are also known for their benefits to homeowners and gardeners, gaining a reputation as "weeder geese" as they eat weeds in gardens and lawns, as well as trimming tall grass by grazing your lawn to supplement the diet of grains that is normally fed to them by their owners. A personal favorite to both them and other species of geese are dandelions, and before you know it, they will have munched down all these perennial lawn pests.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Feeding Your Backyard Fowl

While by no means hard, feeding is a large turnoff for prospective chicken, duck, and goose owners. Many people find it hard to find the extra time and money to supply ample nutrients to their birds in return for a food product one can cheaply and easily pick up at the nearest grocery store. One just has to be smart about their feeding, however to make it monetarily feasible and requiring of only minutes of your day. 

This point must be made first. Fowl are not picky. Chickens are perhaps the least picky domesticated animal humans keep. Their tastes range from week-old pizza to leftover soup to crabapples.  They are even happy eating the flesh of their brethren! Ducks and geese, while still by no means fastidious in their food choices, are less happy with certain foods than their tasteless chicken comrades. Geese are completely vegetarian, the pickiest of the bunch. One tip to a cheaper fowl-raising experience is   limit your discarding of leftover food. As mentioned before, the birds are not picky, and adore the occasional table scrap. A favorite of the birds is watermelon, especially the red meat of the fruit. Geese specialize in the rinds, using their serrated bills to tear it apart. Ducks will vacuum up the softer parts of the melon, slurping happily as they suck away at their share. Apples, or any part of them, are a fowl favorite; however, ducks, lacking a pecking or tearing apparatus on their bills, need their apples broken into bite size chunks.


Thanks for reading. Be sure to read my other content. Happy farming!