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March 22, 2019

Sebastopol Geese



The oddest, yet one of the most popular of our geese breeds, is the Sebastopol. It is highly recognizable from their curled feathers. The definitive origins of the Sebastopol are unknown, but it is believed that they originated in southeastern Europe and that the name ‘Sebastopol’ came from the port town of the same name in Russia. Originally they were bred so their feathers could be used as stuffing in bedding but now they are strictly an ornamental breed.

The breed has been closely documented since its first showing in England in the 1860s. Jonathan M. Thompson on the Lifestock Conservancy has collected a variety of news article and journal entries that mention Sebastopol and its effect in the poultry world and social circles. 

Interestingly, the Sebastopol is known as Lockengans in German, L’Oie Frisee in French and in ancient Greek the word ‘sebastos’ means venerable, august, or magnificent. The Greek translation fits the Sebastopol perfectly due to its unique and striking feathers. Unlike other geese, the feathers of the Sebastopol’s body are soft and flexible, twisted and curled, and can grow to touch the ground. These special feathers cover the entire body except the neck and head. The plumage is pure white once they become an adult, but can have shades of gray as a juvenile.

Because of its curly feathers, the Sebastopol is not as winter or wind hardy as other geese. The curly feathers allow heat to escape far easier than the tightly packed feathers of other geese. Therefore, Sebastopols will require extra precautions and heating aids in windy and cold weather.

Other characteristics of the Sebastopol include orange feet and bill and the eyes are commonly blue. It grows to about 11 and 13.5 pounds.

Unfortunately, it lays about 13 to 18 eggs per year, has a fertility rate of about 45%, and typically has poor brooding skills. Doing the math, that makes an average of 7 fertile eggs per year per female, and that doesn’t begin to take into account hatch rates. This difficulty in production is but one reason why the Sebastopol is considered a threatened species and more expensive to produce.

Add their good looks to their rarity, and it is no wonder the Sebastopol is a popular goose.


Breed
Temperament
Weight
Egg Production
Mothering
Weeding Ability
Egg Size
Sebastopol
Nervous
11 - 13.5 pounds
13-18/year
Poor
Good
9.25 inches
Fertility
ALBC Status
APA Class
Conservation Status
Our Show Quality
Flying Ability
Origin
45%
Threatened
Medium
na
Good
None
Central Europe










March 08, 2019

Tufted Buff


The Tufted Buff goose were created by crossing a Tufted Roman goose with a Buff goose. The initial goslings were white and tan and some with tufts. It took many years of crossing those with a lot of tan with those that have good tufts to get a Tufted Buff as we know it now. This hard work was done by Ruth Book of Book Farms in Granby, Missouri. The result is a Tufted Buff with a distinct helmet-like tuft of fluff on its head, but with the beautiful buff color of the American Buff.

Every now and again we do get a Tufted Buff that hatches with patches of yellow that turns white as it grows. We do not sell these as Tufted Buff, but instead include them in our Mixed Geese. This means if you purchase Mixed Geese, you might get an off-color Tufted Buff!

Since we purchased all of Mrs. Book’s breeders, we are one of the only commercial breeders of the Tufted Buff. They are not currently recognized by the American Poultry Association, but we hope that this will change as more people purchase them and begin to show them at exhibitions.

Several years ago, we sold some American Buff and Tufted Buff breeders to Andrea Heesters from the Netherlands. We encourage you to check out her website for pictures and more information.

The Tufted Buff can lay about 20-30 eggs a year and averages in size around 13-15 pounds full grown. The Tufted Buff is an easy-going bird in general and is a great addition to any flock. Or, if you just want one as a pet, they make for excellent companions.


Breed
Temperament
Weight
Egg Production
Mothering
Weeding Ability
Egg Size
Tufted Buff
Calm
13 - 15 pounds
20-30/year
Good
Good
9.25 inch diameter
Fertility
APA Class
Foraging Ability
ALBC Status
Our Show Quality
Flying Ability
Origin
75%
NA
NA
NA
NA
Low
USA


March 01, 2019

How Much Will My Ducks Eat?


A question that a lot of people have, including those that have been in the waterfowl community for a while, is how much ducks eat.

Please keep in mind that these are approximations of what a duck will eat if given free choice of a balanced ration and will vary according to temperature, exercise, and genetics.

Pounds of Feed Per Day Per Duck


Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Pekin
.07
.23
.35
.40
.45
.50
.55
All Others
.05
.10
.15
.21
.27
.33
.40
Runners
.05
.08
.11
.15
.2
.25
.30
Mallards
.04
.06
.08
.10
.13
.17
.20


Pounds of Feed Per Day Per Duck – After About 12 Weeks of Age


Laying Females Non-Laying Females and Males
Pekin
.48
.40
All Others
.40
.35
Runners
.30
.25
Mallards
.20
.15

We hope this helps you in making feed and feeding decisions for your birds.

February 01, 2019

Introducing your New Ducks and Geese into your Existing Flock


When getting new ducks or geese to add to your flock, always take into consideration the introduction process. Waterfowl have their own pecking order just like chickens do, though typically not as violent. There will be ruffled feathers and possibly some blood, but death is highly unlikely.

Do not introduce day-old birds to 1-week old birds right away. Keep them separated for several days until the younger ones are a bit stronger and know where the food, water, and heat are located.

If the older birds are 2-weeks old or older, then there can be a problem. We suggest waiting until the younger birds are at least 8-weeks old before introducing them to the rest of the flock.

When it is time for the introductory process, there are many ways to start. Ideally, you would want the younger and older birds side by side in separate pens for about a week. This way they get used to each other’s presence. After about a week, make an opening connecting the two pens. If you do not have a way to so this, let the younger birds have the “home field advantage” by moving the older birds in with them.

Observe them frequently for the first 24 hours. If there is any bullying on the elders’ part, then separate them, but keep a way for them to see each other. You do not want them to be able to physically interact, but at least see the others.

If you are forced to separate them, try again in about a week. You will need to continuously repeat this process until they are able to tolerate each other. They do not have to be the best of friends, but if they are at least not trying to kill each other or constantly picking on the younger birds, then consider it a success.

Keep in mind that acceptance is not always instant and may not happen for a while. You can have two flocks in the same pen for several months or a year before they finally integrate with each other.

December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Metzer Farms


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Metzer Farms! We hope that 2018 has treated you well and that 2019 will be even better! Here is a short video of most of us here at Metzer Farms wishing you all a happy holiday season!