Cead Mile Failte !

A 'hundred thousand welcomes' to friends of all things Irish, organic, and environmentally friendly. I hope you enjoy my anecdotes and little vignettes. I appreciate comments. If you like it, why not become a follower? Click on Archive and then scroll down to the very bottom for the beginning of our story. Or see: http://Ioncehadafarminireland.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Raising geese into Christmas dinners

We were lucky that first year and had 7 eggs. The most our couple ever produced was 9 and one unfortunately died that year. They are bigger than chicken eggs. Either Mother Goose or Father Goose will take turns and watch and sit on them until they hatch. During that period the parents, understandably, were most aggressive. We never let the kids go into that patch and feed them then. Trying to lock the sentinel parent into the hut at night was more difficult than ushering in the 2 together. He or she would chase the dog and you all around the hut and grassy patch until they eventually relented. Or we got lucky.
The average time for a goose egg to hatch is about 30 days. During that time, the parents do alternating shifts keeping the eggs warm. Little goslings are cute, yellow fluffy balls like chickens. After about a month they start to pin out, i.e. their pin feathers are growing. These are feathers that are shafted almost to the end, with a just a bit of fluff at the ends. Their tails look like feather dusters. Fast forward another month and you can hardly differentiate them from their parents. I lost my fear of them. Always wearing wellies and taking your dog helps. I didn’t particularly like having them in my orchard where also the washing line was situated. Why? They are messy creatures. And by that I mean: very messy. Impossible to go in there in your normal shoes. Being very environmentally conscious, I only used the tumble drier when the inclement Irish weather left me no other choice in the winter. Laundry that is flapping in the damp garden for more than 3 days and constantly rained upon is a nuisance and not very clean by the time you take it to the closest. Particularly when the lambs also roam that patch; for them it becomes a toy. It is also a nuisance to scamper for your wellies at the first sign of rain, run down the garden, open the gate and make your way through whatever animals are in pasture and collect your linen. After the second year, I put my foot down and insisted I would mow the grass and do without these free mowing helpers. Mac had suffered a childhood trauma having to mow their little city lawn and was reluctant to do it. Hooray, I eventually got an electric lawn mower and trimmer for my birthday. I was really grateful for that thoughtful present. A battle had been won.
Never sit a gosling in a big bath tub. While they enjoy the experience on a hot day, they will get tired and drown.
Preparing the geese for Christmas dinner,ie killing and plucking them is another story.

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