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Are the geese kept indoors their entire life?
Last Updated: 07/26/2012
No.  The goslings are kept indoors for the first 12 days as weather changes in South Dakota can be quite severe and during these first 12 days it is too hard to get such young ones  back inside if a storm approaches quickly.  On approximately the 12th day, if it is not raining they are given an area outside of approximately the same size as inside space.  On approximately the 25th day, the goslings are given a much larger outside area and the choice of being inside or outside on pretty much any day.  There is feed and water both inside and outside for the goslings so they can be wherever they wish.  At this time we gently herd (yes, geese herd like sheep) all of them outside each morning (unless it's raining) to make sure they all get some fresh air and sunshine.  If the day gets too warm out, we open the doors back up so they can again have the choice of inside or outside.  We also like to begin giving them fresh cut alfalfa greens at this age.

By the time the goslings are eight weeks old, they have become young geese.  At this point, they have all their feathers and can handle any summertime weather (without full feather cover they can get sunstroke, sunburn or become dehydrated).  At this point they are moved to large open ranges that allow them approx 120 sq ft per bird.  These pens are planted in greens each year for the geese and in addition we bring daily cut greens (usually alfalfa) for the geese to eat as well as corn based feed.  

While the young geese are on range, the potential breeders are separated and evaluated to see if they posses the attributes that will improve the overall quality of the flock.  If they do, they eventually will be kept with the older breeders, who spend the summer doing goose things in a large pasture with many trees.

At approximately 18-26 weeks of age the birds that are going to market (not being kept as potential breeders) are herded onto a horse trailer and hauled two miles, where they walk off the trailer and into the processing plant.

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