Today our 8 Toulouse Geese graduated from tractor to mini paddock. This enclosure is made with 2.5 foot high by 16 foot panels that Tractor Supply calls “hog feedlot panels”. They are like smaller cattle panels but the squares get more narrow closer to the bottom. The neighbor gave them to me as he has no use for them right now. I had no idea what they were called and neither did he.
They also make a “cattle feedlot panel” which is 16 feet by 50 inches vs. these which are 16 feet by 34 inches. Both seem to offer a LOT of utility for making a very easy to move paddock. While many would use light electro fence and step in stakes that is very hard to do here due to how much rock we have.
- Hog Feedlot Panels at TSC – The kind in this video
- Cattle Feedlot Panels at TSC – 50 inches high and better for some applications
My plan mentioned in the video is to make bases out of concrete poured into PVC pipe of about 6 inches high. Use a bolt in the concrete to put a flat base on them. Two per panel with a short t-post out the top and wala moveable stand up panels that won’t weight much. You can then move them and configure any shape you want and by thinking before you move never open things up and let your animals out.
Additionally once set the corners can be connected with small double dog clips. This make them very stable and given they catch no wind there is little danger of collapse. I am going to play with this vs. free ranging because it will let me put them where I need them most. Given the flexible nature of the shape you can funnel them into tight spots this way to. They seem a lot more happy now in a bigger space.
Every day I spend with these geese I like them more and more, I think the chickens are getting jealous. Again these birds are only about 5 weeks old, I would estimate them at 4-5 lbs already or about 24% of adult weight. They are performing like miniature cattle just as expected, they graze, push their manure into the ground and disturb the soil though not as much as chickens.
To see a comparison of them 4.5 weeks ago look at the first video of them here.
I am rapidly beginning to consider geese the perfect homestead animal. They have only eaten two bags of feed and now use almost none as they prefer the grass. Unlike the chickens they are smart and learned to not get stuck when the tractor was being moved in about a week. They grow like weeds, at this rate they will hit 10-12 lbs in another 5-6 weeks which is perfect slaughter weight.
These ones will be long term breeders though so they don’t have to worry about being eaten. Unlike chickens they don’t need a ton of predator protection, even at this size a racoons is in for a fight, when they are all over 12 lbs, God help such a coon. They talk to you, are always happy to see you and when I do let them free range will add to our site security.
I also think I picked the perfect heavy breed for our needs. If you want Toulouse Geese next year the time to reserve them is now. Cackle Hatchery was the ONLY supplier I could find with delivery this year. A word of warning I would NOT have these in a typical “neighborhood” they talk a lot, while right now that is a non issue as the peeps become honks they can be pretty loud. In our area that just won’t matter but these don’t belong in suburbia. If you have a few acres of grass for them though, man they are hard to beat.