Who Uses Weeder Geese?

babalubirdDecember 29, 2008

Are you successful using them to weed your garden or field? Or do you still have to put in hours back-breaking work or expensive equipment?

Do you use White Chinese or African Geese or some other?

When you're through, is there a reliable market for breeder-age live geese if it's not Christmas time for butchered geese? Or will I be stuck with them if it's not

Christmas time?

Thanks.

Connie

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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

When I lived in PA I had a goose. Someone told me to put it in the garden I fenced it in and let Doe Doe Peep have the reign of it. Next day my entire garden was nothing but soil!
The goose ate it all

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 7:02PM
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dirtslinger2(6)

I have white and brown chinese.
I did A LOT of research. Seems all books/sources claim the exact same thing, likely sourced from one original writing? My experience is... they are still picky about WHICH weeds they eat. I had some starving here- thankfully I noticed early enough- but some grasses that are "soft and palatable" in human eyes are not edible to geese.

I even mowed the grasses to entice soft new growth- same- the geese were particularly picky- I give up.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 12:25AM
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mersiepoo(6)

Ha, the only success I had as far as an animal weeding my garden completely was pigs..they ate everything! I wanted to try geese, but if they are picky eaters, I guess I'll have to try cover crops like buckwheat early in the season.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 8:58PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

The problem with weeder geese is that there idea of what is a weed and your idea of what a weed is will differ considerably. They are a good choice for keeping down new growth among unpalatable crops like potatoes or corn, so long as the unpalatable crop is allowed to develop for a short while before you let the geese at it.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 10:48PM
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islandmanmitch(z 8/9 FL)

Years ago I watched a documentary on farming in some foreign country. They would herd hundreds of geese into the fields for insect and weed control. The narrator said the geese were "trained" on what not to eat.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 7:22AM
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adirondackgardener(Western Maine)

I had a small market garden with about a quarter to half-acre strawberry patch. It was fenced in with a 3' high fence and during the day, the geese wandered up and down the paths eating the grassy weeds in the beds. They were ok with other weeds like lambs quarters but loved the grass, which was perfect for my purposes. They didn't touch the berry plants and trampled relatively few of them. They do love ripe berrries however, so after working up to the big pay-off, they suddenly found themselves in a new pen out in the hayfield while the humans harvested the fruits of their labor.

As I recall, (this was over twenty years ago,) we had a pair of Toulouse and a pair of Chinese geese out in the patch and they kept pretty busy. They lived in dog house-size shelters and usually hatched out a few young each year. To keep them from flying over the fence, I clipped the feathers on one of their wings. This is something I strongly suggest that you never try to do by yourself. Invariably, I would get a bite that swelled up like a tennis ball or a karate chop from a goose wing to the shin which felt like a fracture at the very least. And each time, I swore that I would never try it by myself again. Stupid geese. :)

They also served as an alarm system should anyone drive up the road to the house past the berry patch.

Never tried them in any other fruit or veggie situation. That's my experience, for what it's worth.

Wayne

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 5:10PM
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adirondackgardener(Western Maine)

Oh, I'll add that they didn't keep up on the weeding on their own. I'd still run the Troy-bilt tiller up and down the rows and some hand-pulling of weeds they didn't care for was still necessary.

They are not solution for a no-work garden but they helped in this application.

Wayne

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 5:19PM
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seramas

Years ago we use the lighter weight geese (Chinese) to weed the strawberry patch early spring before they bloomed and again after the berries were picked. They helped a lot but we still had to do some weeding. It was a 2 acres patch and we had 30 geese. Before the geese we spent about 4 hrs a day weeding and barely kept up. With the geese it was cut in half. The key is to avoid fruiting time and use a lot of straw as mulch. There was a few rows of raspberries, dewberries, blueberries also.

Never tried them in the vegie garden because they will eat most veggies you'll grow no matter how big they are. Their eggs were wonderful to eat and two eggs made one hell of an omelet!!!

They were fertilizer spreaders on webbed feet. You can always tell where they slept at night by how big the piles they left there. As long as there was growing grass they never needed to have additional feed. Only during the winter when the snow was covering the ground did they eat from the feeders.

They were prolific layers and we would hatch (incubator) 500 goslings each spring and trade them for different feeds at several grain elevators in the area.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 5:57PM
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babalubird

Thanks for the good info. Think I'll try some Chinese. Connie

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 1:57PM
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ronball09

The most obvious benefit in using geese as weeders is to eliminate or reduce the use of herbicides. Herbicides can be expensive and potentially dangerous. With the growing concern over environmental and health problems associated with the use of herbicides on crops, as well as the economic incentives for farmers to market organically grown produce, there is a growing demand for weeder geese.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 1:25AM
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JWaight_cdsadr_org

I read that geese were used extensively in Europe so I tried them a bit in my garden. It seems that if you can find the balance of goose per acre they will do most of the work while I enjoy watching them in stead of bending over so much. They worked well for me. In the winter I fed them corn when they asked for it, and they will. It starts snowing here in November and ends in April and the geese did quite well while they waited for another season of grass and weeds. Don't know of a rototiller that weeds and fertilizes at the same time. I like them and plan on
keeping them around a long time.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 12:54PM
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exmar

I'm in my 60's and live on a farm, I remember the "old timers" talking when I was a kid about using geese to weed the corn field. They'd fence the field in, and when the corn was tall enough (?) turn in the geese and they'd keep it relatively weed free. Haven't thought about that in about 50 years.... Thanks for the memory!!

Ev

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 6:17PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

You feed young Geese weeds you want them to eat in pin when turn outside that's what they eat. They eat good there first year of life so butcher in October. Start over raising new crop geese in January they don't feed as much second year. Butcher in October for town people is how chicken business started 1920. A Doctor own valley in Texas used Geese weed control crop's he would butcher in October sell to town people demand for Geese got so high he started chicken houses.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 10:19AM
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