We started rearing “Free Range Geese” in 1999 starting with 20 birds hatched out from locally purchased eggs in our own small incubator. These birds were the ultimate in “Free Range”. We had no fence at all in those days …!!! Sometimes we would not see the birds during the day after they were let out in the morning, until it was feed time in the evening, and time to be shut up for the night as a safety measure against foxes.
We have progressed a little since then, our birds are still Free Range but are confined on to about 8 acres by a peripheral stock fence, surrounded by an electric fence to keep foxes out. Unlike those early days however the birds are now allowed to stay out, or come in at night, depending on what they decide themselves. The intallation of the surrounding electric fence means that they are now safe 24 hours a day safe from those bushy tailed preditors…!!
Nowadays we rear about 800 geese they are brought in as day-old goslings and reared under Gas Brooders and fed a purpose made chick crumb until about 3 weeks of age. After which they are allowed out to free-range and graze during fine warm days, provided the weather doesn’t become too inclement, initially with night time shelter and after a further 2 weeks they take shelter at their own choice.
From around 4 weeks of age in addition to the grass they graze, they are fed on growers pellets, this is a cereal based ration high in Calcium and energy, specifically designed to enable the bird to develop and grow the big frame that is characteristic of geese.
When the geese are between 9 and 14 weeks old they are fed with wheat grown on our own farm. After this and untill slaughter begins the birds are fed on a finisher diet which is designed to build up the fat and flesh on the finished carcase.
All our “Bought in feed” comes from a small, local, family run feed company from Stowbridge just across into Norfolk – Bearts of Stowbridge
We are now probably the largest producer of Free Range Geese in Cambridgeshire. Our oven ready goose has a loyal following throughout the Eastern counties and many customers come back to us year after year.
Jane and George Munns have built up an enviable reputation, during the time they have been rearing Chrismas geese. They are personally responsible for the welfare of the birds and the quality of the oven ready geese that are delivered to many high class butchers, restaurants and private individuals during the run up to Christmas.
From the first day the baby goslings arrive on our farm, to the day those beautifully succulent Christmas dinners are delivered they make sure the whole enterprise is carried out to the highest possible standard.
During December when the birds have matured, all slaughter and preparation is carried out on our farm, in purpose built buildings supervised by DEFRA vets and local Environmental Health Officers. The birds are delivered in boxes with cooking tips and recipe suggestions.