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Free Range Goose Production

The rearing of geese can be a profitable enterprise on a farm. In many other areas of poultry, the use of artificial heating and lighting has led to year-round production. However, this is not the case for the production of geese. Geese are generally hatched from February to June.

Birds are then slaughtered from St Michael’s Day (September 29) to Christmas Day.

Goslings can be purchased directly from a licensed hatchery at a day old. Improved crossbreeds of geese are available that give better results in terms of weight gain and feed conversion efficiency than the traditional breeds.

Goose meat is a luxury priced food when compared with any of the other poultry meats. The term free range has a specific meaning defined at European Union level and broadly, may only be used where geese:

  • Have access to at least 4m2/bird open air grass run during half of their lifetime
  • Are reared for 16 weeks or more
  • Are given adequate house space or a stocking density not exceeding 15kg/m2
  • Are allowed pop-holes of 4m/100m2 of floor space as exits to the range or grass area
  • Are fed a fattening ration, with at least 70% cereals.

All geese produced in Ireland could be termed free range. Approximately 11,000-15,000 geese are consumed at Christmas each year.

View the full factsheet here.