Thursday 25th May 2017 I picked up 60 day old goslings.
As mentioned in my first blog I have decided to take my goslings in a month earlier than we have done previously. Following our experiences in the last few years and feedback received, we have decided that they needed a little more meat on the bones!
I sit writing this blog a week down the line and I can honestly say I am so glad I made this decision. The goslings themselves are thriving, we took in 60 and I still have 60 a week later. This is significant as when raising any type of poultry from day olds, lots can go wrong. Day olds are notorious for being challenging to raise, and very prone to just dropping dead! Something I experienced last year much to my distress!
These are the weaklings and unfortunately there is always a few. We try to mitigate the risk to our chicks by maintaining high standards in our husbandry and stock management. We ensure the temperature is sufficiently warm from the heat lamps, the feed is high quality (Allan Payne Duck and Goose crumbs) and always available as is fresh clean water. We clean out the feeders and drinkers routinely as the chicks foul in them regularly. The feeders and drinkers pose the biggest risk of passing infectious diseases to the birds, so good hygiene is vitally important especially in these early days.
What does a day at Out and About poultry look like at the moment?
At the moment I get up, make coffee and wander up to the rearing shed. (Welly boots and onesie – naturally!) This is after trying to beat the dog out the door and not wake up the kids (all three of them)!
Once I’m at the rearing shed I check the gas bottles are not empty, the heat lamp is burning correctly and the temperature is right and the goslings are not to hot or cold. We start them at 28 C and slowly drop the temperature over two weeks.
I then take up all the feeders and drinkers, thoroughly clean them and then fill them with fresh feed and water. I will replace the cardboard flooring with fresh, and I will continue to do this for a week until I start using wood shavings. We use corrugated cardboard to start so the chicks have good grip and don’t damage their legs.
I like to sit for a while and observe (my favourite bit). Ill finish my coffee while looking for any weak, sick or lame chicks. Once I’m happy I’ll head back to the house, have another fight with the dog trying to get in which usually wakes up the kids.
I love our dog but she really couldn’t care less whether I lived or died! She only listens to one person in this house and it ‘aint me!! They say German Shepard’s are one man dogs and my man seems to be the bloody dog whisperer. In fact, I call him Doctor Dolittle as he talks to all our animals including the turkeys and geese!! I think he finds the animals more straight forward to deal with than the children (or he knows if he’s outside with the animals I will change the nappies)!
I then take off my farming hat and put on my Mummy hat and start shouting at children! For the first few days I will check the goslings every couple of hours, until I’m happy they are all eating and drinking and not weak. I then move to checking on them three times a day minimum or more regularly when I need some peace and quite. You will always find a cheeky tin of Gin and Tonic in my rearing shed for when Mummy needs some quiet time!
I hope you have enjoyed the blog this month, check back next month to find out how the goslings are getting on and to hear about the arrival of the turkeys.