- click here for home page

The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

Keeping geese
...Getting them

The theory about fattening geese is simple.

Goslings hatched in the spring go on to the growing grass and can then fatten on grass alone up to the end of September. When grain was gathered less effectively than today, the geese were set on to the gleanings in the fields where they finished beautifully in time for Michaelmas. Geese ready at this time of year are known as 'green geese' and they are the most tender. If you want the geese to go on to Christmas in good condition, you will have to start supplementing their food. A grain mash will be eaten with enthusiasm and we add boiled potatoes which they love. If you aim to feed so that it is eaten up within half an hour, feed them twice a day and always have plenty of fresh water available. In Russia where vast flocks of geese are raised, they are kept confined to concrete yards. This is so that the concrete can be easily washed down; geese leave very messy droppings. If you keep them in an enclosed space you will have to fight a continual battle against the amount of droppings they deposit. The geese that are intended for the table should reach between 10 and 14 Ib plucked dead weight. Any geese that you are keeping to breed from should simply be kept in good condition. They should certainly not be underfed but neither should they put on too much weight.

The Goose Breeders Association has recently been formed; it is connected with the Duck Association and it will be interesting to see how the promotion of goose compares with the enormous strides that duck has made into the poultry industry. The success of goose would not be a new affair, rather a comeback. Elizabeth I was apparently enjoying roast goose at Michaelmas when she was informed of England's victory in the Armada. Full of enthusiasm (and possibly wine), she decreed that goose should be eaten on that date for evermore. Goose-breeders would like this custom revived. It is being forecast that beef and goose will take over from the turkey as traditional Christmas fare. As turkey is now eaten widely throughout the year and large joints of beef and goose are not, they obviously have speciality value. The other line of argument is presumably that people are more prepared to buy expensive cuts of beef and expensive goose at the festive season. For this forecast to work, someone has to produce more geese!