Dave and Millie Holderread own a waterfowl hatchery and preservation center and have over 60 breeds of ducks and geese. Many are rare and all of are excellent quality. I talk with Dave and Millie Holderread quite a few times during the year. I may have breeding or feather coloring questions for them and they might have shipping or incubation questions for me. One day Dave phoned and said he was selling his Buff and Pilgrim goose breeder flocks and he wanted them to stay together as a core breeder flock. Was I interested? Of course I was and within a week I was headed to Corvallis, Oregon (the city of my birth!) in a pickup with a bed full of alfalfa hay.
Dave and Millie are very gracious hosts and showed me around their breeding farm and hatchery. The number of different breeds they have is inspiring. It is also the reason they decided they wanted to sell these two breeds. They had other duck and goose breeds on which they wanted to work and simply did not have enough time during the busy spring hatching season for everything. They run the farm themselves with some family help.
Dave Holderread with his nephew, and niece, (above)
Worming the geese with before loading them. We normally do not worm due to our dry climate. (below)
I came home with 12 Buff, 8 Pilgrim geese breeders, along with five Super African ganders. These Buff and Pilgrim birds will be kept separate and I will only be producing breeders from these. I may sell stock from them in 2012 but in 2011 I will be keeping all the goslings I hatch from Dave and Millie's geese to expand our pure Holderread flock and to use some of the ganders in our current breeder flocks.
We have some of the largest duck and goose breeder flocks of many different breeds. It is often difficult to find unrelated strains from large enough flocks to cross with ours to prevent inbreeding. Luckily for us, we can use some of Dave and Millie's stock to cross with ours to prevent inbreeding.
Following are pictures of some of the geese back home in Gonzales.
Pilgrim Geese (above)
Buff Geese (below)
Dave has also written two excellent books, Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks and The Book of Geese, which are the standards of waterfowl books. They have been illustrated by Millie and also have excellent photographs. If you have an interest in these books, please go to our book page on our website.
Next week I will be discussing the increasing popularity of eating duck eggs here in the United States and Europe.