Thursday 21 December 2017

Wild geese grazing............. 9 geese eat as much as 1 ewe (roughly!)

Non-migratory feral greylags

An average dairy cow weighs about 450 kg, I know, I had one stand on my foot and crush my big toe many years ago. So one 450 kg cow is equal to one LSU or grazing livestock unit based on the assumption that farm animals eat 2.5 to 3 % of their body weight each day. Why am I telling you this?

Well at lunchtime as I stood at the kitchen window I watched a flock of 38 greylag geese grazing it's way across the hay park in front of the house. I wonder how many sheep were the equivalent of 38 geese?

I worked out that 45 to 50 geese weighing 3.3 kg are roughly the equivalent of one 450 kg cow or nine 50 kg ewes. So the wild geese were equivalent to 4.2 ewes weighing 50 kg. In the past I would have gone out there and moved them on to graze somewhere else but now I don't have any sheep and I need to keep the grass short.

Goose grazing is a double edged sword, they produce a huge amount of goose shit and of course this fertilises the grass encouraging it to grow again if not now in the Spring.

Not many kitchens have a close up view of grazing wild geese so I should encourage them. 

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