Greenwood Gardens

18 October 2023

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Home Notes from the Garden

On the Job and Out in the Field

On the Job and Out in the Field

Some of Greenwood’s hardest working residents have the shortest commute. Though they may seem to be a simple enhancement to the bucolic landscape, our small flock of geese play an important role in the garden. Each morning they leave their pen and resume their post, warding off the Canada geese who would love to call our ponds home.

Canada geese search for bodies of water where they can nest and reside. With few natural predators (and none that we would like to see on our grounds) Canada geese can quickly multiply.

Our flock of five is comprised of three species. The white geese with sleek feathers and a prominent knob on their beaks are Chinese geese. The earliest record of their presence in America is connected to George Washington, who received a pair from Governor Morris in 1788. The larger breed with a fluffy appearance are Sebastopol geese. Though most domesticated breeds of geese can fly, the Sebastopols struggle to get off the ground due to their curly feathers. The light grey geese are a mix of Sebastopol and Toulouse, as evidenced by their fluffy appearance.

As low-maintenance additions to our barnyard and gardens, the geese eat mainly grass. In wintertime, when temperatures cause the ponds to be frozen, they spend more time in their pen where we supplement their diet with corn or pellets.

Greenwood’s geese are the only free-range fowl on the property. Their size prevents them from falling prey to foxes. Their number is also critical: five are enough to intimidate would-be predators and scare away Canada geese.

The role of geese as guardians of our site may surprise some, but they contribute greatly to the preservation of Greenwood. Be sure to look for them (though not chase them) on your next visit!