Meet Mac and Rosa!

Back in June, my family started our journey toward one day owning a little farm. We've been doing a few things here and there as we juggled full-time work, quarantine homeschool and the business of life in general. We decided it was time for a pet - but not any ordinary pet.

It all started with an ad on Kijiji, a Canadian online classifieds page - "Goslings for sale". Having never owned geese before, I was a little nervous about it! What if they were aggressive and hurt the kids? What if they kept everyone awake and just caused trouble in general? Those feelings subsided when I finally got to hold one!

Here are Mac and Rosa on the day we brought them home. We drove about 15 minutes away from our home into a more rural area, and bought them from another family who seemed to be on their own homesteading journey. I thought it was pretty interesting; I didn't know there was a name for it back then. (it's funny how a person can learn so much if they step outside their comfort zone!)

We took them home and the kids were instantly drawn to them. They didn't want them to stay in their box for too long, they preferred to have them play freely in the living room instead.

We bought some Geese starter feed from our local Farmers Co-op Store for them, and then got to figuring out how one would build a coop for them as they grew. For the time being, since we bought them when they were about a week old, we set up a large storage container in the hallway between the kitchen and living room (prime location for the kids to see them). We put down wood shavings and of course their food and water.

Our first coop for them was made entirely out of reclaimed wood and other materials. Old cabinets became the doors of the coop, discarded 2x4s and 6x6s became the base, walls and legs, plastic fencing as reinforcement, then old unused paint to brighten it up. It was a pretty impressive build that came together. We built this one in the basement, but also had a closed-off corner of our yard for them to play in.

Now, 5 months later, they have gotten quite big and we're working on a new coop completely outdoors. The hope is to make another reclaimed material coop on their current corner, in the spirit of sustainability and frugal enjoyment. We have a few little kiddie pools for their own swimming area and also for food/water consumption.

Neighbourhood response to them has been pretty positive (or at least neutral) so far. A lot of people have been curious about them in the same way that I was initially. We haven't had any complaints so far, but it appears that according to our city's bylaws, as long as we are keeping them for agricultural purposes (ie. raising them for their eggs and maybe someday their meat), and as long as they're not making too much noise or giving off foul odors, they are allowed.

They are a bit noisy when strangers are in the yard or if a lot of birds/squirrels are around, but I'd say they make as much noise as a dog would (and there are plenty of them on the streets surrounding our house). We raised them in the home with us and socialised them with the kids so they don't attack them. We are vigilant in cleaning their messes so I think we're doing things the right way.

We plan to keep them for as long as possible; it would be amazing if they lived long enough to be the first animals on our homestead; if we are ever lucky enough to make that dream come true. For now, living in the city with them, and teaching our kids about the importance of caring for animals is our priority.

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