Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shetland Geese, Shachah, lambs

Shachah likes to sleep on his back.  He no longer stays inside our fences. Here he has decided to sleep in the driveway.  I guess we'll have to get some invisible fencing to run along the front of our property so he won't go to the neighbors.  I like him to be able to guard our whole property, including my birds and the rams during the night, so I'm not sure about penning him up with ewes again after lambing is over.
Here Shachah tries to get to know the geese. I had let them out earlier to graze freely, but I was afraid they might give Shachah some grief and who knows how he would react to that. I didn't want anyone getting hurt, so I quickly set up this little pen and pulled out their pool.

I noticed the Shetland goose egg was missing the other day.  I'm not sure if the geese are breaking their own eggs, or if something is getting in there during the night. I gave them more bedding to cover up the eggs that are laid.  And I figured their swimming pool would give them something better to do.  They love their pool!

I sat down a watched while they got themselves all cleaned up. I was able to determine two that are a mating pair, so I now I can separate the pairs.  I think I will offer the mating pair for sale, I'm not sure if that goose is laying yet.  I know the other one is.  I'm going to swap the eggs  out for sandfilled plastic eggs and when I get a few collected I'll fire up the incubator to see if they are fertile.  From what I've read, the ganders aren't very fertile their first year.

As far as temperament, the Shetland geese are very Shetland-like and typical geese.  The ganders are protective of their space.  If a gander tries to attack my foot, I just pick him up and hold him a while.  He's small enough to handle easily and he's always happy to be put down again. I've only had to do this three times this spring. They still remember me as their caretaker and I was surprised when I let them out that they still wanted to follow me around the yard.  The geese are still their inquisitive selves.

Ebony's safe spot for when the ewes eat their grain.

Lanora's ram lamb is so big compared to Hannah's twins. This is their safe spot at graining time.  Rhisa, being a week older is now in with the ewes trying to nibble on the grain too.

11 comments:

  1. That's an attractive looking ram lamb, Becky.

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  2. Thanks Lisa, I value your opinion because you've seen so many BFL lambs over the years. He's the only ram lamb we've gotten so far. We've got four ewe lambs and him, but there are still two Shetland ewes to go so we could still end up 50/50.

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  3. He is a nice looking ram lamb. Great ears!

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  4. Shachah appears to be very similar to our Greta Grub in appearance and sleeping habits. Greta doesn't guard anything but the porch, though. :)

    Thank you for telling me more about the geese. They are beautiful.

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  5. Becky the geese are looking just beautiful! Please let me know if you do decide to sell the pair and if you'd consider express shipping them...

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  6. Hi Juliann, I was going to ask you if you were interested in a pair. You were the first person to express interest in buying a pair when I got the goslings last year. I've figured out that both the geese are laying now. I've got three eggs to pop in the incubator. I'm just hoping for a fourth egg tomorrow and in they will go!

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  7. Becky - The picture of Shachah sleeping on the driveway just cracks me up! I keep coming back to your blog to look at it. :-)

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  8. Hello Becky, I am wondering if you still have Shetland geese? and if you sell goslings or hatching eggs?

    Emily

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    1. Hi Emily, no, I sold both pairs of Shetland geese to different homes. They never produced fertile eggs for me in three breeding seasons. Also the geese went broody, but they did not accept day old goslings that I purchased for them (because I realized the eggs weren't fertile). Other breeds of geese have shown a much stronger maternal instinct than my Shetland geese did. They were very curious, friendly geese and not too loud. The gander only got a bit aggressive during breeding season that third year. I just raise chickens and ducks now.

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    2. Thank you Becky! They are tough to find and Holderread always runs out! It is interesting you didn't get fertile eggs from them.

      We raise Sebastopols and Cotton Patch here in NW Wisconsin and now I am in search of the shetland!! Love how I found a simple blog you wrote :)!

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    3. It wasn't that the ganders weren't interested, it was more a matter of technique. Hopefully they have mastered it at their new homes. I bought the two pairs from Holderreads and I probably should have separated the pairs during breeding season that first year, maybe then the ganders would have gotten things right. I have to say that it was so disappointing that the geese weren't more maternal. I've had broody geese come off their nest and fly over two fences to snatch up a gosling, but these girls were afraid of the goslings and I couldn't get them to accept them at all. Very frustrating.

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