I’ve been gone for a long time (since January to be exact). Every year I struggle through the winter, this year was particularly bad. I lost sight of myself and made some questionable choices with bad results. After spending a few months yo-yoing between depression and anxiety I’m finally getting back to being ‘me’. I have my husband, my daughter, my dog and the dirt to thank for that. I always feel better when I have my hands in the soil, being messy suits me I guess. I have piles of half-started craft and DIY projects, scraps of paper with scribbled recipes and potential blog posts littering my house. I kept getting stuck. Even now I’m having trouble finding words to fill this page. But it will get better, it will get easier. I want to thank the people who sent me emails asking about my whereabouts and saying you missed me. You may never know how much that meant but honestly, truly, from the very bottom of my heart thank you!
In May we received 9 goslings from Meyer Hatchery. I’ve wanted Pilgrim Geese for a few years now but I always shied away due to the expense of the goslings. My mother-in-law gave me a gift certificate to the hatchery for Christmas so it seemed like a good year to bite the bullet and get my geese. There is a limit of 4 on that particular breed so I filled in the order with 4 Toulouse (you need to buy 8 goslings for safe shipping) and they threw in an extra. They’ve grown so quickly! In a month and a half each goose is now bigger than the box all 9 came in!
We started them in the house in the big black tub that seems to see a constant cycle of babies in the spring and summer months. I started taking them outside when they were 3 or 4 days old. We have a large metal puppy playpen; it was in the barn when we moved it and it’s gotten lots of use! Mary also considers it her little play house. She likes to go in the door and close it, we just let it happen. I’m a firm believer in picking your battles and that’s just not worth fighting over.
Over the years I’ve noticed that the healthiest babies on the farm are the ones raised by their mamas. They’re out and about at a few days old, braving the elements and exploring the world. I think a lot of human raised fowl are coddled too much inside and then have a big adjustment when their thrown out into the world. (I’m also a rebel who doesn’t use a thermometer in the brooder)!
After the tub they moved into the old turkey coop, its just about the only place we can set up a light for the cold nights. I was ready to have them out of the house at one week but I waited til they were 3 weeks old to move them. I thought ducklings were messy… these guys are awful! Even now that they have the whole property to roam my back yard is a mess of goose poop. They waddle around in a clump, plop down and then eat all the grass they can reach and poop. And poop. And poop! I know it’s them because it’s all green. Even the kiddie pool is a special type of gross!
The long term plan for the Pilgrim Geese is life in the orchard, keeping the grass down and hopefully limiting our need to mow out there. I bought electric poultry net that I’m excited to try out but we still need to figure out night time housing. After losing 5 turkeys in one night to coyotes I’m very paranoid about predators and I don’t take chances!
The Toulouse… Well they get a nice summer and then they’ll be dinner. As messy as the 9 are now with 5 acres to roam I can’t imagine how disgusting they’d be trapped in the barn for 5 months!