In addition to a garden, chicken, ducks, and some fruit trees, raising geese is something I am considering in the New Year. After taking some time the last few weeks to sort out the chicken coop, I started thinking if it might be a good time to consider adding another animal into the mix. There is of course some preparation that I will need to take in before I get them but it is definitely on the radar for 2021. If you are at all considering raising birds for meat, I think goose has to be a strong contender. Not because it is the most prolific, it isn’t, no it is simply about its size. If you are going to kill an animal to eat, it is always nice when you can kill one animal and have enough for a few meals. Not so much that you would have to prepare it for longer term storage. Although geese have been raised for meat as far back as 2000BC, they have never adapted to being intensively is farmed. Probably one reason there are few large geese farms.
From what I have read raising geese seems very easy. I have ducks so it sounds like they are very similar in many ways. Having eaten both on numerous occasions, I know that they taste the same. Geese are known to be equally if not better forager than ducks. That is always a good thing when you have lots of land for them to run on. This helps keep food cost down, as I have seen with my ducks who many days eat off the land entirely. Some say that geese can serve as guard animals to the farm, and given their large size and sometimes grumpy disposition I can see why.
Among the poultry kept on a farm, geese seem to be the easiest and cheapest to keep. A few reasons other than foraging ability are that insects, pests, or diseases rarely affect them. When geese are two weeks old, their food becomes simple. All you need to give them is plenty of water and quality grass for them to add one pound weekly until they are 12 weeks old. At this stage, they are called green geese and their meat is ready for making meals. Geese do not require fancy housing as they prefer staying in the open even during the night. A three sided shed is however necessary during severe weather for them to keep dry. A fence of up to 36 inches is enough to hold them. Another item of note is that unlike chickens, they prepare their own nests and hatch their own eggs. Seems strange to me that the seemingly high economic benefits have never translated into more being grown and eaten.