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The Country Enterprise Handbook
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Keeping geese
...Getting them

Geese can be very friendly creatures yet some geese are ferocious.

If yours are of the latter variety, your main problem is to keep clear of them. If not, your problem comes at Christmas when they may be destined for the table. If you have had geese happily chortling around the house for several months, the silence when they disappear is horrible. However, if that is what they were bought for in the first place to fatten and sell you must steel yourself and make someone's Christmas special by providing an excellent goose. Be warned, geese are the worst birds to pluck. It really takes three pluckings: the first for the feathers, the next for the down and the last to remove the little quills, forerunners of further feathers. A badly plucked goose is reminiscent of a hedge- hog and will probably put off a first-time goose-eater for the rest of his life.

Geese can be kept for profit in several ways:

  1. For table eating, traditionally at Christmas (Thanksgiving fare is also goose). Goose used to be eaten at Michaelmas but this is not often celebrated today. There is movement afoot to encourage the use of goose as a celebration bird throughout the year.
  2. For egg sales, either to owners of incubators or broody hens or to egg-painters the egg is blown empty and then painted and decorated.
  3. For breeding, to provide goslings for sale.
  4. For selling as pets. Geese are very effective orchard-mowers and watchdogs; you are instantly aware of intruders when the geese set up a clamour and very often they frighten off the unwanted visitors (of course, sometimes they frighten off the welcome ones as well!).