Monday, May 18, 2009

Another Pregnant ewe and SHETLAND GEESE!

Oops I spoke too soon about our lambing season being finished. I had originally thought two Shetland Mule yearlings exposed to River Oaks Bo in January looked pregnant. But as time went on, they didn't look very round or bagged up. So I wrote them off. Then yesterday as I watched the ewes run out into a new paddock, I saw that #89, Elsie, is definitely getting a bag. She's due from June 2 to June 8. So we will again have the traditional June lamb here at River Oaks Farm and Studio. I'm not so crazy about this new-found tradition! I just hope it's a ewe lamb, it will be 3/4 Shetland, 1/4 BFL. The good part is that now Bo is a proven sire. :-)

And here's the exciting news, I bit the bullet and sent in payment for some Shetland Goslings from Holderread's Waterfowl Farm & Preservation Center! I have wanted Shetland geese for years, but never had the cash to order them. Well, it's not that I have excess cash now, but I do have enough, so the time is right. If all goes well, they should arrive around June 4th. Holderread's is in Oregon, and they have good hardy stock. I ordered my Pilgrim geese from them years ago and was amazed at how perky the goslings were when they arrived.

I sold my trio of Brown Chinese geese the other night. They were excellent egg layers, but just too noisy and messy. I've got 5 of their eggs in the incubator due to hatch on Memorial Day. And I've got another dozen all washed up and ready to blow out for decorating. I'm sure the Shetland geese won't be anywhere near as noisy as the Brown Chinese. I really like the fact that Shetland geese are autosexing, so you can tell at birth if you've got males or females.


  1. How cool is that? SHETLAND geese?!? Are they smaller than your standard goose, like the sheep and ponies? Guess I'll have to mosey on over to Holderread's website. Not that my husband would ever approve of getting geese....

  2. Omg Becky as soon as I saw your header I had to run right over. I've been debating buying Shetland geese from Holderreads for years! They are known in poultry circles to be the best of the best. And now I see they have a website! I saw these once at a poultry show, the onces I saw were very small, almost as small as ducks.
    My concern for buying them always was trying to locate new bloodlines. I had a terrible time with some very rare breeds with inbreeding depression, I can't express my frusteration and the poor luck I had with some of them.

    Hey, let me know how you like them! Do share lots of photos! Let us know if they set their own eggs and care for their own goslings.
    This is so cool! If you end up liking them, maybe I'll bite the bullet and buy some too!!!!

    Then we'll both have some fresh bloodlines to exchange or something!

  3. Yes Michelle, they are smaller than your average goose. The booklet says they weigh about 7-10 lbs as adults. And they are supposed to be friendly, hardy, excellent foragers and attentive parents. Sounds a lot like Shetland sheep! :-)
    Juliann, Holderread's got their stock from Cabbage Hill Farm in NY and from what I've read, they've developed breeding lines so that one can breed a few generations without worrying too much about inbreeding. I admit I hadn't thought that far ahead. I ordered a sexed pair and two extras if they are available. Since I'm so late getting an order in, I just have to hope their hatches go well and they get a good mix of sexes. Otherwise, I'll just have them hold my order over into next year. If I can only get the sexed pair, I'll have them include a few Saxony ducklings to maintain their heat during shipping. I can hardly wait!

  4. OH NO! Shetland geese? I will not look at that website. I will not look at that website. I.....who am I kidding? I am Sooo going to look at that website! You guys are a bunch of enablers!

  5. Dear Becky:

    I bought my Shetland geese from Holderreads a year ago. They were healthy and beautiful. I got two pairs and an extra male. They are just as described in the literature. I am selling mine because they are too noisy for me. I am sticking with my Muscovies and chickens.

    Good luck with yours!


  6. Well David, sounds like you might have some interested buyers here! Starting off with yearling pair would have been my first choice, but I couldn't find any. Are yours done laying for the year? Did they set at all? Where are you located?


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