Let me start with how it all went down.
I didn’t mean to name the geese but, like an earwig that burrows into your brain, the name Bruce the Goose was named in my mind, even if I didn’t say it out loud. I later named the other goose, Bradshaw after Nick “Goose” Bradshaw from Top Gun.
I invited my son-n-law, Noah and my nephew, Zane (13) over to help. Noah Brought his brother Ethan and Zane brought his friend (whose name escapes me).
The first thing I did was to catch Bradshaw and place him in a cage inside the house. I didn’t want him to watch.
Then we caught Bruce and placed him in an old duffel bag like I had read on Homesteadingguide.com. This turned out to be excellent advice. It calmed Bruce down and helped to make the whole harvest more relaxing.
As I mentioned in an early blog, I had bought a 16.5” meat clever to do the deed with. I made sure it was razor sharp. We also made a chopping block out of six scrap 4×4’s and placed it on a saw horse.
I had intended on placing a string around the birds neck but decided not to because I was worried it might stress it out. I should have used the string.
Once everyone was ready, I gave Zane the camera and had him record it. Since I couldn’t find an instructional video – I will use the footage to make an instructional video later this year.
With Ethan holding the bag, I unzipped it just enough to allow Bruce to peak out.
I removed my hat – it just felt like I should.
Then Bruce, of his own accord, laid his head out across the block (see the picture). That’s when I did it.
The chop severed Bruce’s spine but I left about a quarter of his neck intact. Blood sprayed out and we let the bag fall to the ground.
With his spine severed, I know Bruce wasn’t in pain but it took about a minute for him to stop moving. In the video, you can hear a sad death grown about five or six times – I didn’t notice the sound in real time.
I had been very stressed about killing the bird but when it was over, I felt completely normal. I realized that Bruce was no different than the other birds I had bought from the store over the years – I was just more involved this time.
“I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” – Woody Allen
So what did I learn?
- The duffel bag is a great way to kill a goose. It calmed the goose down and it calmed me down.
- Use a string! If I had tied a string on Bruce’s neck, then I wouldn’t have rushed my chop and I would have cut his head clear off.
- Cutting the head off removes just as much blood as slicing the throat. Countless videos said that if you cut the head off, the heart would stop pumping out the blood. This was not the case with Bruce. The blood sprayed out and when I cleaned him, there was almost zero blood inside of him.
- Fatten up the goose. I wanted Bruce’s last days to be as happy as possible but allowing him to free range kept him from putting on any weight. Bruce was the skinniest bird I have ever cooked. In fact, he was barely an appetizer.
- Get a young goose. Not that I had the option, as geese are really hard to find. But Bruce was older and his meat was so tough that I LITERALLY broke a sweat carving him on Christmas.
All and all, this was a good experience and I will definitely harvest more birds in the future. I’m not sure I will harvest a Christmas goose again but only because I made a turducken from scratch that came out much better (so that may be our new Christmas tradition).
Lastly, this is my first blog of 2019. Since I got so much traffic last year, I have moved to WordPress. I will continue to post the same blog on both Honeyhomestead.blog and Thebunglingbeekeeper.blogspot.com for now. However, I encourage you all to become followers on the honeyhomestead.blog site.