Geese have a bad reputation, but we find them to be very manageable, if strong willed at times. The gander is aggressive during mating season, and they guard their nests and young with conviction, but they are not vicious at all, and they are easily herded across the property.
Embden. The German Embden breed is famous for its size and flavor. Once we tasted our first goose in the fall of 2016, we decided we would not be at all sorry if we did not sell any, the bird was so delicious, we would gladly roast a goose every week. We did sell all our birds, however, so we will raise more in 2017! We also favor the Embden because it loves to graze, and for its excellent parenting skills. In 2016, we noticed the geese were excellent layers, but not the best at brooding. We hatched goslings from our goose eggs in incubators, and raised them for 1-2 weeks in brooders before introducing them to their parents. The geese stood outside the door where the brooders were set up, and called for their children. They never called out when we brooded ducklings, they knew the sound of their own kind. We introduced the goslings in a spacious wire pen, where the geese could see them but not chase them. In a matter of days, the geese took over, and guarded the goslings, shepherding them over their fields and protecting them from anyone who approached.
Toulouse. We added a small flock of Toulouse geese in early 2017. They integrated well into the flocks, and follow the Embden out to graze. The Toulouse is an old French breed most often used to prepare Fois Gras. These birds are slightly smaller, and higher in fat then the Embden. Our geese self segregated into three families, one pair of Embden, one pair of Toulouse and a quad of one Embden gander and three Toulouse geese. We raised goslings from both breeds in 2017, as well as Embden/Toulouse F1 hybrids, which are said to excellent utility meat birds. In the fall of 2017, we will compare the breeds and report on our personal favorites. We also purchased additional Embden and French Toulouse geese from Metzer Farms in order to obtain new breeding stock.
Based on our experience in 2016, we strongly suggest pre-ordering geese, as we sold out quickly in 2016, and will again in 2017.