Keeping Warm on Cold Days

A few weeks ago we experienced below normal subzero temps here in Ohio. We moved the geese and the duck to a straw filled stall in the barn. They complained regularly about their temporary lodging, but sometimes they must do what they don’t want to do for their own sake.

On the windiest and coldest days the mule was also kept begrudgingly locked in the barn. And the chickens were happily stowed away in their coop.

As far as keeping everyone’s water free flowing, heated buckets and water bowls from Rural King and Tractor Supply Company proved very effective at -10 degrees. See our previous post “Tip: How to Keep Water Thawed in Winter”  for more information.

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Geese: Growing and Learning to Honk!

Violet has found her honk! She is my favorite goose and seems to do everything first. She is also quite willing to lead the whole gaggle into fun and mischief whenever possible. 🙂

Dancing Gaggle After the Rain

Dancing Gaggle After the Rain

A week after Violet started to honk, little Miss Daisy found her own little honk. The boys are still squeaking like a squeaky doggy toy. I am going to miss their little squeaks even though I am excited about them growing up and learning to talk adult goose language. 🙂

Violet and the Boys (Dandylion and Clover)

Violet and the Boys (Dandelion and Clover)

The Big Goose Move: The pilgrim goslings move out

Mr Farmer with Dandelion, Daisy, Violet and Clover. (Charlie dog in the background)

Mr Farmer with Dandelion, Daisy, Violet and Clover. (Charlie dog in the background)

Finally! My mudroom is without the chirps of tiny fowl wanting food and attention. Not that I didn’t like having them around mind you. I think you can definitely build a stronger bond with the chicks that are brooded inside your home than those brooded in the barn. This spring our brooders were kept in our mud room, so every time we came in or went out, we had little chirping faces looking up at us. First the chicks then the goslings. In the end, it is very rewarding to see them go to a more permanent location on the farm and enjoy the elbow room that comes with it.

Daisy on left and Dandelion on the right.

Daisy on left and Dandelion on the right.

Up until today, the babies had only been out for short periods to graze a bit and to explore. Moving day was exciting and traumatic at the same time. They love being outside, but as you can see by the photos, they want to be right next to Mr. Farmer or myself at all times. They do not venture to far away and if they see us start to walk, they are right on our heels. When we said goodnight and locked the kennel door, they rushed to the closest corner as we walked away. There they stayed for quite a while as they laid down to wait for our return. It was just a little heart breaking.

Mr. Farmer Holding Dandelion

Mr. Farmer Holding Dandelion

Their new home is an 8X13 ft dog kennel inside of a small paddock. We had kept the ducks, Paprika and Coriander, in there for the last week as they got use to their new home. With the goslings move, the ducks were released from the kennel to roam the paddock. We wanted them to have a chance to get acquainted before releasing everyone into the paddock together. Paprika and Coriander, one year old silver Appleyard duck and drake, do not like the babies to much. Little do they know that one day the little geese will grow up and be able to put them in their place rather easily!

Clover such a pretty boy.

Clover such a pretty boy.

The geese are showing definite personalities. The friendliest of the four and my favorite is Violet. Daisy, while in the brooder could be the most cantankerous, nibbling on fingers when they got closer than she wanted. Outside, she doesn’t seem to do that. We will have to watch that though because we do not want aggressive geese. And finally, the two girls (the darker ones) are braver than the boys. It will be interesting to see the changes they go through…

Dandelion, Daisy, and Violet nibbling on Mr Farmers shoelace

Dandelion, Daisy, and Violet nibbling on Mr Farmer’s shoelace

Pilgrim Geese: Meet Daisy, Violet, Dandelion, and Clover

The goslings are here straight from the Lucasville Poultry Show! Meet Daisy, Violet, Dandelion and Clover. They are Pilgrim Geese which is a critically rare domestic goose breed here in the US. Pilgrims are one of the few auto-sexing goose breeds where you can tell the male and female apart by color all of their lives. As day old goslings, the females are a darker greenish color and the males are a lighter yellowish color. When they get their adult feathers, the females are grey and the males are white. Below are some pictures of the goslings.

Pilgrim Geese - Male and Female Goslings 1

Pilgrim Geese – Male and Female Goslings
Daisy, Violet, Dandelion, and Clover 1

Pilgrim Geese - Male and Female Goslings 2

Pilgrim Geese – Male and Female Goslings
Daisy, Violet, Dandelion, and Clover 2

A Gaggle of Geese-Ordered

We finally got our geese ordered today! We ended up going with Plum Run Poultry/Heritage Turkey Hatchery because after days of searching, they were one of the few hatcheries who still had their Pilgrim geese available. Most other hatcheries have either sold out early or have not gotten them listed yet, and since they are a fairly rare breed, we were concerned about waiting any longer to place the order. Our order consists of breeding pairs of 8 goslings: 2 female and 2 male Pilgrim geese, 1 female and 1 male Toulouse geese, and 1 female and 1 male American Buff geese. We are mostly interested in the Pilgrims, but since the minimum order for geese is 8 for mailing with this company, we decided to try the other breeds as well.

The pictures below were gathered from The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy website and are typical of the breeds we chose to order.

BuffGeese

(The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy )
http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/waterfowl/buffgoose.html

pilgrim_pair

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/waterfowl/pilgrim.html

Just a quick mention as to why we are interested in the Pilgrim geese:

Pilgrims are a rare heritage breed and are auto sexing geese which means that you can tell males from females by their coloration from the time they are hatched throughout their lives. Adult males are mostly white while adult females are mostly grey. They are also described as a friendly breed of goose… at least during non-breeding season. 🙂

*Update: We decided to cancel the 2 Toulouse geese and order 2 additional female Pilgrim geese instead.

**Update: Our goslings did not come from that hatchery and I would highly advise not to order from them as they display questionable business practices.