Tuesday 8 May 2012

Chistmas is coming.......

The geese aren't getting fat yet but they are growing at one a hell of a rate. They were hatched at Easter, four weeks ago and are now bigger than our four month old Khaki Campbell ducks and the hens.During the first four weeks they have their fastest growth rate, growth and feed conversion efficiency fall after that. Despite their low conversion efficiency geese do scavenge well and need very little concentrate feeding. The villages of the Russian countryside have many flocks of geese foraging in the roadside verges and fields; one Russian goose can feed a family for a week I was told.

Four week old geese on the move
Western Europeans have been eating goose for thousands of years particularly for the mid-winter solstice feasts.Geese have been the perfect fowl for small farmers down the centuries; they are economical to keep, they live by grazing and can be fattened on domestic waste products; stale bread, vegetable peelings etc. Turkey replaced goose as the Christmas meal when they became cheaper as a result of industrial production systems. But goose is regaining its popularity as the centre piece  of the Christmas meal as an alternative to tasteless turkey meat.

Ours will be fairly lean, "Michaelmas Geese" reared exclusively on grass from now on until the grass stops growing at the end of September at Michaelmas..... 29th September. When geese were kept until after harvest thet were known as  "Martinmas Geese" (Nov 11th)  finished on grain, potatoes or even chopped turnips, they were consequently fatter and meatier.


Michael said...

I know this is a completely stupid question but why don't the geese and ducks fly away?

Tom Bryson said...


Its a perfectly reasonable question. Both the Khaki Campbell ducks and the Embden geese have wings that are too short and bodies that are too heavy for flight as a result of selection since they were domesticated. The KCs were produced by crossing the Rouen duck with the Indian Runner neither of them fit for purpose when it comes to flying.

Michael said...

Thanks, I thought it would be something like that. Glad to see you got the Byre finished. Remember - Marjorie and I spoke to you at Easter when Jamie was doing the stone work? And those Geese have grown fast.