Yesterday, we picked up 4 six week old Pilgrim goslings. These babies were hatched under and raised by their goose mother. It was likely their first time in a car, and the first time they had been separated from Mom. A very big adventure!
Unavoidably, the car ride was stressful for them. They rode in a large dog crate with a thick layer of fresh straw, giving me the stink eye most of the way. Bills were open in distress. They pooped prolifically, too (in protest, perhaps?). Fortunately, the fragrance of the box of ripe peaches that were also in the car nearly cancelled out the other odor.
Once home, they went into a secure tractor where they’ll spend their quarantine period, away from the other animals. Even though they appear healthy, chances should not be taken – always quarantine new animals, just in case. I’ve read so many posts by people who purchase animals – chickens, for example – and put them right into the coop with their other chickens, only to have the whole flock become infected by illnesses carried by the new bird(s).
These youngsters, like our group of two week old goslings, will eat fermented feed and have lush, chemical-free pasture to graze. Periodically (and more often initially), they’ll have raw vinegar added to their water to help strengthen their immune systems, and will also have nutritional yeast sprinkled on their feed to ensure adequate niacin intake for proper leg development.
Wondering why we’ve continued to expand our gaggle? Well, we needed boys – the gosling hatch on farm appears to be all females (??). After spending a lot of time trying to find more hatching eggs or Pilgrim ganders locally, I finally found these and made arrangements to get the boys…but the breeder made me an offer I couldn’t refuse to take the remaining two girls along with the two boys. No arm-twisting really needed.
So now there are (as far as we can tell) 10 geese and 2 ganders. That’s probably a bit too many for even two ganders to cover – but they’re quite a few months away from laying, so we’ll cross that bridge when we get closer. Until then, we’ll enjoy pasturing this supersized homestead gaggle!