Saturday, July 15, 2006

The geese have their freedom now. Well, relatively speaking: ever since we decided to have geese, we’ve been racking our brains on how to fence them. Conventional stock fencing is expensive and, with the clayey ground baked rock hard by the sun, would be difficult to install. To make it fox-proof it apparently either has to be six foot (1.8 m) tall, dug into the ground and with an overhang or, if lower, then electrified by two strands top and bottom. We make no bones about being beginners in just about everything we’re attempting at the moment but it’s interesting how much the advice we read in books or hear from friends who’ve kept geese varies: apparently, foxes won’t touch a heard of geese or, in fact, they love them and can’t keep their paws off them. And we’ve seen foxes and their cubs around nearby, even during the daytime.

I’ve spent a long time recently staring at the shelves of local agricultural suppliers trying to find a solution. Searching on the Internet, I came across Anne’s and Phillip’s Electric Fencing Kits website. We bought 50 metres of electrified poultry netting, the like of which I’ve been unable to source locally. It’s installed and working perfectly:
1. It keeps the geese in,
2. It keeps the foxes out (allegedly, we’ll have to see how may we still have by Christmas)
3. It’s moveable, so we can successively mow the field,
4. And it gives them plenty of space to move around in and wasn’t, comparatively, too expensive.

With our experiences with the recalcitrant chickens, Gabrielle laughed when she read in Katie Thear’s Starting With Geese that geese are “easy to drive” (p69) but so it’s proved to be (see photo) helped by the fact that they always stick together.

One question we have: there is some feather pulling going on from time to time. Is this a sign of stress and will it stop once they settle in to their new home and daily routine or are they trying to assert a pecking order, or something else? Please post a comment if you have any advice.