On Monday I was returning boxes to John Lagiers Farm in Escalon and got a chance to look at his new project. He has 15 geese in his orchard and 20 more arriving next week. Geese eat weeds and combined with a few sheep to knock down the larger weeds they can even keep Johnson Grass under control which is a problem weed for John. Cultivating the weeds under the trees and between the trees in a row is virtually impossible with machinery. We use a weed whacker which takes time and use gasoline. So I was intrigued to find out more.
The Gosling's cost about $8 each and they grow very fast. they need a heat lamp for the first couple of weeks but at this time of the year they are into the orchard within four weeks. He protects the Geese from Coyotes by locking them up at night and an Electric fence during the day. John has already sold the Geese for Thanksgiving and Christmas. He plans to keep some pairs to lay eggs and hatch next years geese.
Lets look at the sustainability of this system...
The Geese do the job that normally is done by a tractor and by hand with a weed whacker. So we save machinery time and fuel. They do require investment of money and time to raise them and fencing to keep them safe. They do produce a financial return to contribute to their care.
I will be watching Johns experiment to see if we can use it here at Eatwell.