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What value can geese add to a small homestead or farm?
- Geese are quick growing and can produce a large bird for the table.
- Geese are vegetarians and love grass and clover.
- Carcass quality is improved with some additional feed according to Dave Holderread, but geese can be raise will little additional feed.
- Geese produce more than meat for the table. Their livers are the primary ingredient in foie gras, down can fill a pillow or provide insulation for winter mittens, quills are valued by historic reenactors, and goosefat, with its high smoke point, makes beautiful oven fried potatoes.
- Geese are excellent guardians. When traveling along a bike path I once saw a goose in a freshly bedded pen next to the door of a rural homestead. As we rode by the dooryard, the goose "honked" our presence--a perfect alarm.
- With their large feet, flocking behavior and vegetarian diet, geese are an excellent livestock choice for small places that want to start and benefit from small-scale mob grazing.
2016 is not the first time we have tried raising geese. With some changes in management, I hoped to overcome some of the challenges I faced when raising these affable barn yard creatures in the past..
Birds do not have teeth or rumens to break down grain or greens for digestion.
A gizzard is an organ found in the digestive tract of some animals, including birds, made of thick muscular walls. With the help of previously swallowed stones, the gizzard grinds food.
This year I added Gran-i-grit to all our birds' diets to make sure they can utilize all the nutritional value from their grains and pasture.