A Sigh of Relief – Goslings Arrive!
Last year I tried to get some Saddleback Pomeranian goslings, but by the time I had the money to spare, alas, they were sold out for the year. When they began taking orders for this year, I was on the list interested and have been waiting since that notification in December.
A delay happened in February – then a minor snag. All set to go, right. Ha ha ha ha ha. Right. I got the notification Tuesday that the goslings shipped. That was bad news. They wouldn’t be overnight, so would arrive Thursday. Except Thursday ice was predicted so there were travel delays. There was no delivery Thursday.
So I waited, knowing the goslings were on day 4 from hatch without food or water, which is normally fine for the first day or two. Shipping birds is possible because before hatch the yolk, and nutrition, is absorbed. They were packed in groups of 8 in the box to keep them warm.
This morning just before 8 we got the phone call, with peeping in the background, that the box had arrived. The sticker indicated they left Texas on the 4th and did arrive in Birmingham that afternoon. Goslings are bigger than chicks and can drink more, which can be problematic in some cases. In this case they were offered water and food for about 20 minutes, then the water picked up for an hour or so, then offered again. This limited the amount they could drink, preventing problems with excess water consumption as mentioned yesterday for heat, but also applying to any increase in water consumption. As little as they are that wouldn’t take much. They are settled in with heat and have satisfied themselves in the water department, and are nibbling the starter feed.
Although they fit in the hand now, geese grow rapidly and love grass and weeds. There is even one rare breed called the Cotton Patch goose, which was developed to ‘work’ in cotton fields by eating weeds that came up in the field, while leaving the larger cotton plants alone. Once they are feathered out, in a few weeks, they will be allowed to ‘graze’ in mobile pens and, before then, will be offered chopped hay forage.
With their function as lawn mowers, alarms, meat and the conservation aspect, they’re something that’s been wanted for a few years but the grass part was tough. The Africans are known for being faster, noisier and can be aggressive. With just a handful of them – 4 in the group – a fence across the back and a gate will mean they will sound an unmistakable alarm when stray dogs invade to tear into pens, and they’re able to handle cold and wet. That will be their #1 job – and although they’re quiet most of the time, when they get stirred up they’ll get the dogs here alerted to problems.
It’s with relief that we watch these little soft peeping things adjusting in, watching us as leaders. Diva has already claimed them as “her babies” without the realization they will be good sized birds to rival the smaller dogs when they are mature!
We’re closer to getting the hoop greenhouse up, but it’s going to be a struggle for this year. With the geese now, we’ll be able to raise geese for meats, and the specialty goose fat that many talk about is available to our customers. They’re fragile now, but tough youngsters that I was afraid would arrive weak or deceased. Happily, that did not happen!
Progress is happening. It’s not easy, but it is progress. Keep staying tuned to see the goslings grow!