Rural Living

Brecon Buff Geese and Call Ducks.



Brecon Buff Geese

My wife keeps Brecon Buff Geese and Call Ducks. She reared the first geese we had in an incubator from eggs she purchased from a lady at Bryn Pydew near Llandudno, North Wales, and eggs she purchased from Boston, Lincolnshire. These originals remain as her breeding stock. Being hand reared they normally remain tame and friendly to us. The gander (Jaffy) can become aggressive in the breeding season, when anybody, or any object can become fair game for his aggressive tendency. He will take on any bucket, the wheelbarrow, and even our German Shepherd (Storm). Before now Storm has grabbed him by the neck, but he will still adopt the same aggressive tendency with Storm.

Our geese free range in the day grazing on the meadow grass. This is supplemented with mixed corn, when they are put into the barn at night.

The Brecon Buff originates from the Brecon Beacons area of Wales. If you had travelled through mid Wales in the 19th century the buff type of goose would have been a common site amongst the farm yard flocks of white and grey geese. The breed was standardized by Mr Rhys Llewellyn from Swansea in South Wales. (source Domestic Geese. Chris Ashton.) . They have a reputation for being a kind friendly breed as long as they are treated well.

Our goose tends to start laying at different times each year. In 2003 she laid in January and raised four goslings from this early hatch. In 2005 she laid in May and raised six goslings. This year she has not started to lay (March). If the eggs are not left for her to hatch, they are excellent to use in baking, make lovely omelets, or can be sold for painting.




Call Ducks

If you have never seen a call duck, they can be best described as a short, compact, miniature, plump little duck, with plenty of spirit. The terrier of the duck world. They come in a variety of colours, and look something like, the type of plastic duck, you would expect to see floating in a child's bath.

The original calls were bred as decoy ducks. Hunters would tie a string to one of the legs of a noisy female and send it off into the water. As a flock of wild ducks flew over, the hunter would pull on the string. The call duck would think it was being attacked by a predator under the water. The loud fearful cry of the call duck would attract the flock of wild ducks, luring them within range of the hunters guns. (source The Call Ducks Breeders Book. C Darrel Sheraw)

Call Ducks are vocal, the female being rather talkative, and the males having a loud high pitched quack. They are not therefore the best breed to have if you have near neighbours who do not share your interest. They adapt well, and enjoy human company. If you are digging in the vegetable garden, they will be under the fork searching for a nice juicy meal. They are friend of the avid gardener, as due to their lightness, they will not damage plants or flower beds, but will deal with any aphid, or slug problem.

Call Ducks needs are few, besides a well balanced feed, fresh water and grass. At night they need a windproof, predator proof shelter, with the floor covered in deep litter of saw dust or straw. This allows them to maintain body heat when it is cold. They make good parents, and are more than capable of rearing their own young.