John & Jill Burns
Tel: 01769 520 506
John and Jill Burns breed and rear organic geese on their small farm in the valley of the Mully Brook, a tributary of the River Taw in North Devon.
The organic breeding geese start to lay in mid-February and continue until mid-June. Incubation of the eggs takes 31 to 32 days. The first goslings appear in early April and the last hatch is in mid-July. So production is extremely seasonal.
For the rest of the year all the breeders have to do is walk to their pastures every morning and back to their houses at night where they are safe from attack by foxes and badgers. During the day they eat lots of organic grass-- unless there is a drought and the grass dries up. In that case, and also during the cold winter months, they get a daily allowance of organic wheat grown on a nearby organic farm.
As the breeding season approaches, grass is usually in short supply and so to meet the critical nutritional requirements of geese producing eggs which are not only fertile but also hatch well into sturdy goslings, a special compound organic feed is supplied. This is bought from a feed supplier registered with and policed by the Soil Association to make sure organic standards are fully complied with. For example GM ingredients and feed additives are not permitted in organic rations.
The farm is also registered with the Soil Association and each year an inspector visits and spends 9 or 10 hours checking records and invoices, and walking round the farm to check the condition of the livestock and fields.
All this checking and certification is expensive but necessary to ensure that consumers can be confident they are getting genuine organic produce.
Most of the organic goslings produced from this organic flock are sold to other organic farmers who rear them for sale at Christmas. The rest are reared here for the Christmas market, or kept for breeding.
As with the breeding flock, the young geese are walked to and from their organic pastures each day, housed at night, and fed on the same certified organic compound feed and organic wheat as the adults.
All the oven-ready geese we sell are bred, reared, slaughtered, hung for two to three weeks in chillers, and dressed here on the farm. This greatly reduces stress on the birds and gives us full control at all stages.
Creation date : 01/12/2007 @ 19:52
Last update : 01/12/2007 @ 19:52
Category : Devon
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