Goose Valley Farm


All our geese are of the Emden Goose variety. They graze over two acres of pasture land near Ballinderreen in south Galway. From May to September, their only diet is grass and water.

In the autumn, we top them up with locally sourced rolled barley, fallen apples and pumpkin. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS FREE RANGE?

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF) have set guidelines for 'free-range' geese. The guidelines concern space (indoor and outdoor), food and also age of bird when harvested.

Let's compare, shall we?

 

Outdoor time: According to DAFF guidelines, free-range geese should spend half their lifetime outside, 12 hours per day on average. At Goose Valley Farm, if the sun is up, they are outside, This can stretch to 16 hours per day in mid-summer.

Outdoor space: The DAFF indicates that for a goose to be called free-range, the animal must have at least 4 m2 of outdoor space. While this may give the birds adequate space to wander, it does not give them enough grass to eat. Our geese have over 100 m2 each.

Fattening Stage: The DAFF indicates that feed formula used in the fattening stage must contain at least 70% of cereals. We use locally sourced apples fallen from neighbours' trees, and post-Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns (geese love pumpkin). At night, we used rolled barley harvested 10km from our farm.

Outdoor Access: The DAFF indicates the poultryhouse is provided with popholes of a combined length at least equal to 4 m per 100 m2 surface of the house. Our goose shed has a massive door that is propped open during daylight hours.

Indoor Density: The DAFF indicates that the stocking rate per m2 floor space does not exceed 15kg. We were a healthy 3.5kg per m2 last year.

Harvesting Age: The DAFF indicates that geese should not be slaughtered at less than 112 days of age. Our geese made it to to the ripe old age of 215 days in 2017.

 

SIZE REALLY DOES MATTER!

On average, a farm raised goose will have up to 47% oven-loss.

Oven-loss is the difference between the weight of the bird when it goes into the oven, and when it comes out. Loss is due mainly to two factors; moisture evaporating and fat dripping off the bird.

We tested two of our birds during the Christmas 2017 season. Our oven-loss is a very reasonable 29%.