Saturday, April 20, 2013

Goslings, goslings, goslings!

Hi people, I have goslings hatching left and right!  The 24th one for this year is working it's way out of the shell!  And I just put 10 more eggs into the hatcher!  They are all white sebbie goslings hatching.  A few might turn out spalsh, I will keep these to see how they turn out.  Here are some pictures for your enjoyment!

These guys are for sale if you cannot live without one...or two....or three.....or ten!  te he

Feeding goslings

Many people ask what to feed their new goslings (or ducklings).  Here is what I do and why.
I use a grower food with 20% protein (Like Purina flockraiser), and mix it 3 parts grower, 1 part rolled oats and 4 pinches (about a tsp each) of brewer's yeast.  The grower is a pre-mixed food for growing birds.  The rolled oats are to reduce the protein level to avoid angel wing.  Angel wing is a common disorder in water fowl.  You can read more about it here;
I add the brewers yeast for vitamins and niacin that waterfowl babies need for healthy legs.

When the birds are 1 week and older, I start to mix a couple of handfuls of organic scratch n peck ( brand layer food into the above mix.  This is a high quality food and is important for good feather development.

When geese are grown, you can feed them a layer crumble with 16% protein.  I prefer to feed a little higher protein when they are molting and growing new feathers.

**Remember that geese, especially developing goslings are supposed to have 1/2 to 3/4 of their diet in grass!  If you keep them penned up then you will have to pick it for them daily.

Please do your research on feeding what is right for your birds so that you can raise the most healthy birds you can.

Shipping goslings

If you are interested in buying goslings from me and having them shipped here are some FAQs.
  • Here is the box I use when they are young and small;
  • This box can fit 4-6 young goslings in it. 
  •  I provide gro gel and straw bedding to keep them comfortable.
  • I have had several goslings shipped to me clear across the United States successfully. 
  •  I ship using only USPS Express shipping.  This takes overnight to the west coast and 2 days to the east coast.
  • Shipping birds is a risk, but I have not lost any yet.
  •  I ship to the U.S. only.  I cannot ship to Hawaii.
  • All goslings must be up on their feet, eating, drinking and thriving before I will ship them.
  • I can provide a shipping box for you, if you need it.  This cost will be included in your shipping fee.
  • You will be charged actual shipping costs.  I can give you an estimate, but you will need to pay exact shipping costs.

How to brood goslings (or ducklings)

Many people have asked me how to successfully brood goslings.  For the first week after hatching, my goslings live in an under the bed box on the kitchen counter.  The bin is about 6 inches tall and 3 ft long and 18 inches wide.  I have a heat lamp with a 100 W light bulb in it for heat.  I just clamp it to the side of the bin.  I provide food and water in short tupperware containers.  I also pick fine grass from the yard and cut it up in 1/2 inch pieces with scissors and add to their water bowl.  This keeps the grass from drying out under the heat lamp.  You can also give them lettuce. I fill their food and change their water daily or more often, if needed.  I use old towels for flooring.  I change them daily and wash them in the washer.  Here is a picture of my set-up:

At one week old, they get moved to the garage brooder, they get too active and big and can jump out of the bin on the kitchen counter.  I have made this brooder out of a child play pen, similar to a dog x-pen.  I split it in half with some plastic hardware cloth.  Each pen is 3' x 6'. I usually have about 4 goslings in each pen.  I use straw bedding here, I have had goslings eat shavings before and get sick.  I use a large rubbermaid bin lid to put the food and water on and it helps keep the mess a little cleaner.  I use a larger water bowl, one they can get into to bathe.  They also get a few large handfuls of picked grass.  I keep them supplied with it at all times.  A gooses diet should be 1/2 to 3/4 grass! I have a 100 W heat lamp about 1 ft off the ground. I fill food and change water 2 x a day and spot clean bedding daily.

At 2 weeks old, they go outside during the day in a dog x-pen (it is 4' x4'), as long as the weather isn't windy, cold or rainy.  I will warn you that ducklings will not enjoy being picked up 2x or more a day. The x-pen is covered with shade cloth so that aerial predators cannot hurt them.  I move the pen daily to fresh, clean grass.  They get a small cat litter box for a water bowl.  Then they come back into the garage brooder (the side with no heat) at night.  Here they have food, water and a huge armload of picked grass.  While they are out during the day I clean their pen.

At 3 weeks old, they go into a larger outside pen with a larger food and water bowl and stay the night in my greenhouse with a 100 W heat lamp on at night.  They stay out here 24/7 now.
When they are 4-6 weeks old I start to introduce them to the older geese, usually on the other side of a fence at first.  Then supervised visits, then they will live with them, if I am keeping them.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I have a Sebastopol goose setting on 6 eggs and they are due to hatch on Easter!!  So eggsciting!

THE GOSLINGS ARE HERE!!!  My geese usually start to lay around Valentine's Day, so about a month later, the goslings are hatching!  My first clutch is of 3 goslings, 2 are sebbie/toulouse crosses and 1 is a white sebbie.  They are so adorable, lovable and fun to play with!  They are like puppies!  Here is the first batch and they went to their new home yesterday.

Is this cuteness overload or what????  They cuddle up in the sunshine on my leg to nap!  AWWW!

It is definitely spring, the girls have started laying like crazy!!  We are getting like 30 dozen chicken eggs and about 12 dozen duck and about 10-12 goose eggs a week!  Woot, woot!

That is a lot of washing people!  Good thing I have child labor on my side.  te he
Anyone want to buy some farm fresh eggs?  I sell them for $3.50/dz for chicken, $5.00 for duck, and $1/per egg for goose.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Most of my birds are kept in the pasture part of our property, but once in a while you get a rogue that learns how to get out and roam in the yard.  Here are a few.

This is a buckeye hen that would come up on our back deck and perch on a stool outside my window and look in while I was on my computer!  Buckeyes are so curious!

During spring and fall my birds are busy molting.  When my ducks molt, they loose the wing feathers that I have clipped and get a full set of feathers.  Then they start to fly around and land on buildings.
Here are some funny pics of muscovies all over the place.
 This hen is on top of my hubby's shop.  The roof is at least 20 ft tall!

These two are on top of chicken coops.  They love to look down at you as you walk by, like "What are you doing down there?"  ha ha

Here is a fun pic that Shyanne and I set up for a photo contest last year on Face book.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

We have one black Australorp hen that likes to fly over her fence and come into the back yard.  She is a wanderer.  The other day, she was in my clematis vine, trying to make a nest up on the top!  She is such a funny bird!

Tadah!  She was in there!

Here is a picture of some of our turkeys that we raised. They are absolute food hogs and gobble up the feed as soon as you put it in the bowl!

 They look twice as big when they display their feathers like that.

We waited too long to butcher them and they got really big.  The last boy was over 40 lbs when he was dressed.  He wouldn't even fit in my scalding pot!

 Here is turkey sausage all wrapped up and ready for the freezer.
 And here are 24 pints of canned turkey.  Great for turkey salad sandwiches!

We lost all our buff brahmas to an attack last fall.  We think it might have been a stray dog.  It was early in the morning and it killed all our hens and the rooster died the next day of shock.
I sold all of my silkie breeders last year, I found them not be very hardy, more work than other breeds and not very productive.
I am also selling my houdan/polish mix girls so that I can have pure polish pens.  I currently have 3 polish pens and will put up pics soon.
I wanted to explain why I no longer breed these birds.  I have removed them from my current breeding flocks.

It has been while since I have written and our little postage stamp farm has had many changes.  Life moves quickly doesn't it?  I am going to concentrate on updating my blog page in the coming weeks.

Last weekend we butchered 6 broad breasted turkeys from last year.  We put 173 lbs of meat into the freezers!  We made turkey sausage, burger, stock, soup, canned turkey and of course legs and wings for baking.  We bought 16 turkeys last year and 8 more were given to us.  This was almost too much for us.  This year I will stick to 12 I think.  I also plan to buy 24 broilers.  I am day dreaming about what breeds I cannot live without this year as well.

Yesterday, I brought the incubator back into the house for hatching season to start. Today, it will get cleaned out and turned on for testing.  I am collecting olive-eggers, polish and mille fleur cochin eggs from my flocks.  I also have 3 dozen buckeye eggs on order and they will be in the incubator soon.

I can only hatch maybe one or two clutches of chicks before it will be gosling season!  I have the 16 geese separated into breeding pens.  They are so easily upset at this time of year.  I only have to walk over near they pens and they honk like a million car alarms going off!

It is almost light now, I had better go feed the animals.