Geese start laying eggs around the beginning of March and ramp up very quickly to production levels within a few short weeks. The first batches of eggs are ready to be incubated around the middle of March for a mid April hatch. Goslings are then available through to August but be aware the price will go up towards the end of the season due to increased demand and limited supply.
Goose producers buying goslings early in the goose breeding season benefit from a lower buy price and a reduced mortality rate as the geese don't have to be pushed to meet the required weight before Christmas. Though the geese have to be fed for longer, they can be fed on grass for a period from the end of spring to early summer which will keep feed costs low. In addition to this, geese that have had longer to grow will achieve better weights and are considered to be tastier by many.
The UK goose production market is dominated by a very small number of large scale poultry producers, who due to commitment with other types of poultry are unable to take goslings early in the season but make up for it by taking a lot towards the end. This leaves the UK goose breeders with a surplus supply of goslings early in the season and a shortage towards the end. Inevitably this demand fluctuation is reflected in the price and the availability of goslings. After week 20, demand for goslings outstrips supply and the availability of the goslings is limited.
A bird in the hand.... Ordering early is exactly what the Goose breeder want so expect a better price if you order in advance of the season. Ordering in November for Next years season should deliver a competitive price.
Be willing to collect
If you are a hobbyist or a first time producer you may only require a few goslings which will make the delivery costs very high per bird. If you are only looking for a few birds It would probably be worth collecting them yourself. This may mean a couple of hours in the car but it will save you money. Many customers combine the collection of goslings with other journeys in the same direction. Also, asking friends if they are planning a trip in the same direction maybe worthwhile.
Whatever volume you are requiring, it is worth asking around in the local community to see of anybody else is planning to grow geese that year. A consolidated order will give you distinct advantage on buying power and also mean the delivery cost per gosling to be less.
Goslings are usually sold from a price list where discounts are given as the volumes increase so it might be worth taking a few more in an effort to reduce your buy price. Fore example, the cost of boxing up and processing an order for a few goslings is the same as for 10 goslings so it might be worth buying a few more.
Many goose breeders plan deliveries into particular areas of the country at certain times of the year. If you are flexible on when you can take your goslings, you may be able to coincide with a scheduled delivery and then piggy back your order resulting in a reduced delivery cost.
Also, if you are planning to place a relatively large order, you could offer to take them over a few weeks as this will help the goose breeder to balance their supply against demand. Obviously if you need delivery and you are along way away this may not apply.